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So Clothe to Confidence

September 5, 2016

 

this is the SPECIAL Monday night edition! What makes it special? Laziness, the holiday, you decide. I was busy all weekend and then Sunday night came and I was napping/watching X Files (almost through season 3!). So here we are, the nightly issue.

Confidence is a word that people LOVE to use when talking about other people. When we talk about ourselves, though, the word doesn’t come out quite as easily. Sure, a lot of people have self-confidence, and that’s real, that’s valid, that’s them. Most people, though, have spurts of confidence. Hold onto that. It’s important and it will take you far.

Take advantage of days, hours, or even minutes when you see yourself as a rockstar. As I’ve aged, in addition to my body slowly falling apart, I have developed the ability to recall confidence even when I’m not currently feeling it. I think this is a skill everyone should be able to develop, because in reality, “working up courage” isn’t the ability to muster it from thin air. In fact, a courageous act may be done when you are feeling 100% not courageous. Working up the courage to do something is you telling yourself I can do this because I want to, and because I've proven I can do it in the past.

I use what I wear to express myself. It’s not as emo as, well, when emos do it, but I love that my clothes reflect my personality and taste. Many people read this as confidence, since what I wear is anything but work boots and carpenter jeans. Honestly, though, it’s the scariest thing in the world for me to wear something that’s “out there” for the first time. I just recently bought a kimono from ASOS and I am *~In LoVe~* with it. I knew it was  quote unquote ~out there~ when I ordered it online, but when it was finally delivered, I knew I was in for a doozy.

The confidence required for me to rock my kimono was not something I found that day. It wasn’t a spontaneous burst of “you can do it, Paul!” Instead, it was the knowledge that, historically, when wearing something I was nervous about, it’s always a good decision because I slay and get compliments which, really, make my world go round.

“Okay,” you’re saying, “I’ve never cared that much about what I look like.” Cool, good for you, I’m both jealous of you and bored with you. Try this:

My second year of teaching is much easier than my first. Even still, I have restless nights because I’m nervous about what I’ve planned for the following school day. I worry about things like: will my lessons take the appropriate amount of time, will student A and B be in good moods or bad moods, don’t forget to take Tylenol just in case, and so on. In the past year I spent over 180 days in front of 15-18 year olds, and yet I still spend so much time mustering up courage to do just that. I don’t find it in that moment, nothing changes within me, but I recall all the times in my young, young career that I have worried myself sick about a particular lesson and ended up rocking it (which is usually the case). Sometime I also find courage in the fact that some lessons bomb, and I’m still here to talk about it. EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.

For me, confidence is not an abstract concept that can be concocted by pep talks and Pinterest quotes. I believe that it comes much more easily for people who build confidence from previous successes and failures. Your past can act as a ViewMaster™ when your nerves set in. Remember those bulky, red, goggle-like toys  that you could put a reel of film into and flip between images? You had to point them at the light to see the images, which totally confused me when people said "don't stare into the sun!" and I would think then how am I supposed to see the 7 Wonders of the World, mom?  90s kids were the first to have virtual reality! Your past is basically just a reel of film that you can pull out to remind yourself: "I did crush that interview so I'll crush this one!" Or "this outfit will work because I never regret trying something new!" Whatever your past shows you, it can always be used as a frame of reference as you make present decisions.

Insecurities influence both my clothes and my career, but they do not control them. I recognize my flaws and it sucks that they’re there, but they are. The decisions I’ve made in the past, to curate my looks around my tastes and not what others want, to work hard even when it gets hard, give me the courage and motivation to make the same difficult decisions every day; whether for work or for vanity.

Yours,

 

 


 

 

      

 

 

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