Every now and then you say to me, “Wow! You exude so much confidence.”
“You make that sound so easy.”
“You make this look flawless.”
And, every now and then I take the compliment, smile and say, “Thank you”.
The moments in between, however, I contemplate upon that word, ‘confidence’.
Like, you really think I’m confident? I don’t think I am.
Truth be told, I struggle with a multitude of insecurities. There are times when I allow said insecurities to get the best part of me – so much so that I often dim the light that comes from within.
This might appear as a self righteous – me wallowing in self pity – type of letter and it might not be received well.
But, allow me to unpack and undress to my bare self with you.
The Insecure Black Girl
In my current state, I am a talented beautiful Black queen who has achieved much in life and who can achieve anything I set my mind to.
But this wasn’t always the case.
In a previous letter, I shared how my Blackness was a struggle growing up. Honestly, there are still a few moments where I downplay my complexion. And the reason, if you must know is as superficial as they come.
But let me share a few of my insecurities with you.
A Few of My Insecurities
1. I sometimes give into the “the Eurocentric look is far better than the Afrocentric look”. You know, the magazines and the TV, the Social Media and, the real life opinions of people.
Added to the on/off relationship I have with my complexion:
I sometimes get into a funk and genuinely don’t think I’m pretty enough and therefore not worthy enough.
I have struggled with acne since I was a teenager and I’m now a newly initiated 30 year old. The scars and the seasonal breakouts can shatter anyone’s view of self. I can tell you. I’ve been there. I am there!
2. My knack for storytelling and writing – believe it or not – is an insecurity.
I did not “go to school for becoming a writer”. Yours truly actually studied Social and Behaviour Change and Psychology – Not in that order.
Though I’ve found somewhat of a developing balance between what I studied and my gift of telling stories, I still doubt my capabilities from time to time.
The lack of confidence also does not get a booster when I’m constantly reminded (on the negative side) that I did not go the academic route for what I currently pursue to make money.
“You can’t write” or “Your writing sucks” or “You should consider quitting” have been the “encouragement” I receive on the regular.
Truth be told, those words come from the minority in my life. And, somehow, they often feed my insecurities more than the majority does.
3. I am ‘vertically challenged’.
A few of the people I associate with tower over me. This is not inclusive of my family members, because we are all short.
But, hear me out.
Being one of the shortest people in the room often means that I get overlooked. And, as much as I don’t thrive on attention, I like to be seen – to be acknowledged.
Not being able to reach a top cupboard without a boost gets annoying. Not being able to see clearly over the hood of a car (depending on the vehicle) without a pillow booster gets annoying as well.
I somehow take being a shorty as a disadvantage because I’m not usually taken seriously. And of course, because the confidence isn’t really there – that adds some fuel to the “don’t take her seriously” fire.
Breaking through Insecurities
Don’t get me wrong.
I am a strong and confident woman.
I’ve overcome insecurities and I work to empower others who haven’t broken through that barrier as yet.
I am also one of those serial self help book readers, I cry my eyes out at night over a glass of wine when somebody steps on my feelings. And, then I wake up the next day low in spirit and with low self confidence.
But I also (with reduced confidence in self) give pep talks. I wear a confidence mask and outfit and I wear it well.
I’m almost fraudulent. I know. I’m ashamed. Well, almost.
In all honesty, though, I feel like in order for me to truly help persons, I have to also go through what they’re going through.
Otherwise, then I’ll really be a fraud. You know, preaching to people when I don’t or haven’t struggled with confidence issues.
So, yes. I am a confidently insecure Black girl.
Lessons from an Insecure Black Girl
1. The confident people you know have moments when they doubt themselves. They endure rough patches when they question their ability to maintain their reputation of being strong.
2. The most insecure person you know will still find the time to add light to and empower the lives of others. This, they will do even when they don’t believe too much in themselves.
3. We all wear a mask to the party. Less often than naught do we actually remove the mask or even the entire outfit and show our bare, vulnerable self. So never assume that the person who presents to you reveals their everything at all times.
I know I don’t.
4. Superficial scars don’t make the person. The personality, the habits and the actions do. Of course, scars can have an impact but it’s up to you to determine how you treat with your scars.
5. The minority should never have power over how you feel about yourself. The same applies to the majority. Your view of who you are should depend on you and only you.
6. You should never worry about being overlooked or not being taken seriously. Once you believe in yourself, you will exude that confidence which will force people to do nothing but listen to you.
7. Building self confidence is not an easy task. You will build and break down. And build again and break down again.
Keep at it. You’ll have stories to share and you will eventually help others while helping yourself.
So, do you exude confidence?
The Suburban Girl