When I was in the first grade, my dad and I went to an event at the YMCA. It was called Indian Princesses and it was a bonding type club for fathers and daughters. When we got there, the girls had to sit in a circle (a pow-wow, I guess), and their dads behind them in chairs. As we were starting, the man in charge looked at my dad and said, Im sorry sir, but you cant bring your son here.
So, here I am, a 34-year-old woman telling a story from when I was six. A story that has stayed with me, and shows the utter, dare I say, stupidity of people. I mean, really, to think that my very brilliant father doesnt know what the word princess means. I dont remember much more about that one and only time we went there. I was embarrassed. I remember that much. And I hope you are reading this thinking Why were YOU embarrassed? You didnt do anything! And that, my dear reader, is going to be the moral of this story.
Most of our self confidence issues arent self inflicted. Somewhere along the way, someone else caused them. And in that case, it was the very insensitive man chosen to lead that group of very little girls, and their very loving, nurturing fathers.
I could tell you all those Fake it till you make it confidence boosters. I could talk about how the color you chose to paint your kitchen secretly reflects how you feel about yourself, and how, if you are married, still having a stuffed animal in your bedroom is not a good thing. That last one is true, but thats not my place to tell you that. Im not Dr. Phil. And Im not even close to being Oprah. What I am however, is a woman. A short, slightly chubby, glasses wearing woman, whose first crush was Scott Baio (who as the world is finding out has massive relationship issues, so good thing he and I didnt work out). A woman who is worrying now if you have scrolled down to look at my picture and see if you agree with the statements I just made.
If youve read my other articles, you know I dont usually write in first person. Know why? Im not exposed that way. You dont find out more about me than I allow you to know. So why is this one different? Because, honestly ladies, I have no idea how to help you boost your self confidence. Your small business? Yes! How to network? Check! Wanna talk improvisational comedy? Im your woman! Need dating advice? NO CLUE! The last date I went on… well… lets see… I think jelly shoes and leg warmers were involved. Duran Duran was playing on the radio in my boyfriends Trans-am.
So, in writing to you that I have no idea how to help you, I am doing what I think you need to do. I am allowing people to see me for who I am. And you know what, Im doing OK. If there are sentences throughout the rest of this piece, then I obviously continued writing.
See where Im going with this, girls?
Tim Minchin is an award-winning Australian musical comedy artist. (You can Google and YouTube him.) He wrote a great song all about this subject. I asked him if I could share it with you. Its a gorgeous song called Not Perfect. Its all about self-acceptance. The next to last verse reads:
This is my body, and I live in it. Its thirty-one and six months old. Its changed a lot since it was new. Its done stuff it wasnt built to do. I often try to fill it up with wine. And the weirdest thing about it is, I spend so much time hating it, but it never says a bad word about me. This is my body, and its fine. Its where I spend the vast majority of my time. Its not perfect, but its mine.
Figure out who you are, and be proud of that. So what if you cant wear the latest styles because you are a size larger than last year? When you walk into your office, know that you are the only one who understands how the quarterly figures translate into next years media campaign. If your hair doesnt look great when you and your friends head out to Salsa night, youre going anyway, arent you? And when you go, keep in mind that you are the only one of your friends who can dance in two- inch heels. Your other friends had to wear flats.
Stop focusing on what you cant do, and dont have, and capitalize on what you can and do.
I, myself, have a great dad who, when I asked if we had to go back to Indian Princesses, cared enough about me to not take me back to that meeting the next week. I have a degree in clarinet. Thats right! The clarinet. I am an 11-year ovarian cancer survivor with an awesome family, and an incredible network of true and I am proud to say, true, friends.
I am funny. I am smart. I am me.
My name is Missy. Its nice to meet you.