I went out this weekend and had a really good time. Shall I tell you why? I’m going to anyway so you may as well say ‘yes’. I was myself, my real self, without feeling self-conscious or unsure or under confident. I was with my best friends, people who I have known for more years than I actually remember and who have seen me in all the good and bad lights a person can be seen in. I never have to hide who I am.
It’s been a funny old week and I’ve had quite the crisis of confidence. Yes, someone who harps on about loving yourself, found it hard to love herself. Would you believe it? And that’s the thing isn’t it? Self-love, self-confidence and all the other many self-like things are not linear. You don’t suddenly hit the sweet spot where you love everything about you and your life and then never look back. Occasionally, the pull of negativity will reach for you and you once again have to break free. I hate this phrase so much, but it is a journey, and sometimes the car is going to run out of petrol and you’ll end up on the M60 having to find help and make your way back home again.
Which is what happened to me. I went out with some amazing women from Instagram, women I talk to every day and have even reached the point of having their actual numbers in my phone. I call these women friends. But meeting them was more than I had bargained for. I loved the day we had together, I wish we could do it all over again but would I change anything? Yes, I’d change me. I’m shy, introverted and awkward. It takes a long time to really get to know me and in the that time I know I can come across as underwhelming. To this day I haven’t figured out why I do it, why I dance around the edges of my personality and blend into the chorus line when there’s no reason for me not to be front and centre.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m some kind of maverick with a personality to match; I’m not! I’m very normal but I’m kind of funny and I have things to say and I’ve lived as much of a life as anyone else and so have just as many stories worth telling. Why then, do I get so scared to tell them? I genuinely like who I am. I just wish it didn’t take me so long to let other people genuinely like me too.
What I’m saying is that I did myself a disservice when I went out with those amazing women. I let my old habits resurface and I let my shyness run the show. I won’t get a do-over now, the day has been and gone and all I can hope is that they see beneath the moments where I looked lost and know it’s because I was taking my time to find out where I fitted in.
What this weekend, when I was with my favourite people, made me realise is that actually, it’s being shy that makes me appreciate how good it feels to be completely at ease. In some ways I suppose my friendships are more special because they stuck around long enough to let me unfurl from my shell. It was my husband who reminded me that being awkward is a part of who I am and I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t that way so shouldn’t I love those parts of myself too?
There are days when all the self-love quotes get a bit too much. When you feel like you’re failing at it because, no actually, you’re not a boss bitch today, you’re just getting by. What I’ve relearnt this past week is that for me, confidence is a quiet assurance that even on your bad days you are still good enough, that even those things you might sometimes wish you could change are all part of what makes you you, and that noone loves themselves all the time. The trick is to learn to love all the good and the bad and the bits inbetween and appreciate that they have led you to who and where you are today. You don’t have to be the loudest in a room, you just have to know that even when you’re the quietest, you’re still doing ok. And that spending a weekend with an awesome group of women isn’t a reason to feel bad about yourself, it’s a reason to be grateful that you’ve now got even more people to one day, when you’re ready, be 100% yourself with too x