When I hit my largest weight of 195, I decided I wasn’t going to shop again until I was smaller. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy my true size. Besides, I didn’t know how to dress this new, oversized body I had acquired. As clothing begin to fade and tear, my wardrobe dwindled down to a few pair of pants and shirts. Not only was I wearing the same things over and over again, but now I couldn’t use clothes as a pick-me-up when I wasn’t feeling so good about myself. Confidence dwindling…
My little sister’s natural hair journey convinced me to also go natural. During her transition, her natural hair was thicker, healthier, and prettier than her thin, damaged, relaxed hair. So, I said, “Why not?” I had this fantasy of amazing waviness and curls spiraling from my head like ribbons twirling in the wind. That’s not quite what the mirror reflected after my big chop. Oh, the days when I could unwrap my hair and toss it from side to side. My relaxed hair turned heads. My new afro prompted questions. Confidence dwindling…
I decided that I want to be an entrepreneur, more specifically a life coach. After seeing it a few times, I can imitate the look of “Oooh. Ok,” that comes across each and every face. And, I can recite perfectly all the questions that follow: What is that? How are you going to do it? What if you don’t get any clients? Where will you work? Will you make enough money? What if it doesn’t work? What if a volcano erupts tomorrow? What if your client believes she’s an elf? Self-doubt up 4 points. Confidence down 6.
I remember all those times I felt so confident in my thigh-hugging jeans and heels. Where was that girl now? I felt so beautiful playing in my bone straight hair. What happened? When I said I was going to college for pre-med and everyone’s eyes lit up, I was so proud of myself. Why don’t I feel that way when I say I want to be a life coach? I had been exposed. My confidence was in clothes, chemicals, and having others’ approval. The real, raw, naked me wasn’t confident. The made up, dressed up, validated me was confident. So, when I traded my heels for flip flops, relaxed hair for twist-outs, and flunked out of college, my confidence vanished into thin air. I wasn’t Brandi with the coke-bottle shape. I wasn’t Brandi with the beautiful, thick hair. I wasn’t Brandi with the bright future. I was just Brandi, or worse. I had never met this girl before. Was she enough? What about you? Who are you without that career? Do you still sashay in the room without your hair, makeup, and shapewear on point? Are you the same woman carrying that Walmart handbag as you are in a Chanel purse? Can you smile and hold your head up if the world knew your shame?
I’m not telling you to walk around town looking busted. I’m not telling you not the change the things you can change. I’m telling you that you’ve got to love the person underneath it all because one day that’s the only person you’ll have. Embrace that embarrassing story. Forgive yourself for that mistake. It taught you something valuable. Love that scar on your cheek, your big eyes, wide hips, flat butt, and thin lips. That flawless person you create every morning is the enhanced you. It’s not the authentic you. Don’t confuse the two. We have to be confident with the raw and very real truth of who we are. We spend lots of time and money masking our flaws with the latest designer bag, another academic degree, and the “perfect Facebook life”. What we fail to realize is that we are enough just as we are. When we’re confident with her then we can say we’re truly confident.
Regal Resource: Self-Reflection Questions
Please complete these on loose leaf paper, a journal, or on your blog if you have one:
- The things you don’t like about yourself, they tell a story. What is the story? What did it teach you? What lessons are you now qualified to teach others?
- Dr. Brene Brown says shame multiplies where there is silence, secrecy and judgment. Shame can’t live once brought to the light and sprinkled with empathy. Find a non-judgmental friend to share your shame with.
- Our outside appearance (clothes, shoes, make-up) should be worn like a necklace. It enhances the outfit, but without it, the outfit can stand on its own.
- Sit in the mirror with yourself. Your eyes, your smile, your natural hair, your body.
- What do you love about yourself?
- What’s not your favorite? If you can change it, start today. If you can’t, find a way to love it.
I Want to Know:
- Can you relate?
- What events in your life caused you to discover true confidence?