When instead of focusing on the myriad of things you can do well, and do do well, you focus instead on what you struggle to do? Or don't do at all anymore because you suck at that particular thing... and so you gave it up and now you think you should try again because, well, giving up is like failing. Or you look at all the things that you thought you did well, and suddenly they look silly, or trivial, not as important, or essential to the world as the things everybody else you know does well. Suddenly it seems as if what you bring to the table is not of much value.
Do you ever have those crisis of confidence moments?
|Photo by Krista MacNamara|
Maybe you focus on your personal appearance. And all of a sudden, your totally realistic idea of yourself as reasonably attractive, when you put in the effort, is blown clean out of the water. And all you see are the physical attributes on which you'd rather not focus. The fact that you really don't have a chin, except in certain pictures when you have three too many. Or the creeping weight gain, and the middle-age middle. Or that posture problem, and the small but worrying widow's hump in your back. Or that spot of thinning hair at the back of your head. And you are catapulted back to pre-puberty days. "Mu-um... why can't I have boobs like all the other girls? Why am I so skinny? Why is my face so round, and my hair so frizzy?" Except the complaints are now almost the antithesis of what they were when you were thirteen.
Sigh. Do you ever have those moments? Or days? Or weeks?
Yeah. Me too. In fact I'm having one now. I guess I'm still in a funk, but this time I blame Eileen Fisher. Well, not her personally. But that lovely, linen knit Eileen Fisher tunic I bought a couple of months ago. Because as much as I loved it when I bought it, and loved it still the first few times I wore it, suddenly my love for it is waning.
Mostly because I took some really unflattering shots of me in it. And I began to notice that the neckline is not that great on me. Nor the drape of the fabric in the front, which makes me look quite buxom, and top-heavy. Partly that's because of the bra I have to wear under it, and partly because... that's the way I am. Top heavy. And quite a bit bigger around the middle than I'd like. And whereas a structured, slim cut top with a bit of fullness in the front can make me forget that my middle-age middle is there... a longer, much fuller top like this makes me look as if I'm trying to hide a stomach. Which of course I am.
I bought the top to go with my black, cropped Rag and Bone pants, but I'm not really liking them together. I think the problem is that the pants are too narrow, in contrast to the fullness of the tunic. Yesterday I tried the top with cropped black leggings. Ha. That look was downright funny. And no I didn't take a photo. Let's just say it was an extremely unflattering look. I tried it with my black walking shorts. Nope. Then I settled on my DIY cropped flared white jeans. The slight flare balances out the fullness of the tunic. I don't hate this outfit. I like it okay, especially when I'm sitting down. But, if the tunic were a bit shorter and a bit narrower, I'd like it better. You know, I should let this be a lesson to myself. Never buy in haste. I threw on the top at Nordstrom, and I love, love, loved it. But I didn't do my usual thorough analysis. So I'm paying the price. Buy in haste, repent at leisure, I always say. Ha. From now on, at least.
And I'm paying the price alright. Because the shot of me that I took, looking overly buxom, and round in the middle, and a bit hunched, triggered a full blown crisis of confidence. A total over-reaction. An utterly self-indulgent, absolutely unrealistic response, I know. But that's me, folks. My self-confidence, which I've tried very hard to grow over the years, still fluctuates. Still waxes and wanes. Even at age sixty-one, when you'd think that I'd have it all together, wouldn't you?
And mostly I do, I think. Most of the time I'm comfortable with who I am and who I've become. I know my own worth. I know what I'm good at, and what I'm not. It's just that some days... well... some days, as my friend Julie always says... I have to dig deep. To find my confidence. To not look in the mirror and despair at how much I've changed since my thirties, for instance. To not overreact over those few pounds I put on since last winter, and go on a calorie counting binge which we all know never works. And even works to our detriment, eventually. To not undervalue myself, especially since I've retired and I no longer have the constant feedback of the classroom, nor the satisfaction of implementing program with my department, or of successfully solving someone's problems. Well, except for solving Hubby's computer issues, or helping him wade through insurance bureaucracy. Some days I dig and dig and there ain't nothin' there, my friends. Or not much, anyway.
I know I'm whining. But, putting all my self-critical hyperbole into words and sentences actually feels good. Makes me look at things differently. Makes me feel better. Helps to pull me out of my funk. I mean, it's been bad the past couple of days. I even asked Hubby yesterday if he thought I should take up golf again. That maybe I had given up too soon. Most of the other women in our circle of friends play golf. He just laughed, "I don't think you want to do that, Suz." And of course, he's right. I hate golf.
|Photo by Krista MacNamara|
And I should also confess that I deleted all the really bad shots of me in this tunic. The worst ones with the boobs, and the stomach, and the hump. Much worse than I look in the shot Krista took above. Krista is a teacher buddy of mine. Well, she's a principal now, and a really great photographer. We spent an afternoon walking around Manotick in May, yakking and taking photos. And we plan to try the photo shoot thing again this summer. When I will not be wearing my Eileen Fisher tunic.
So what does one do when one is deep into a crisis of confidence, anyway? When the old self image is waning, instead of waxing?
Don't look at me. I don't have the answers.
Wait it out maybe. Know that this too shall pass. Give yourself a good shake, and a serious talking to. Remember all the things that you have done that were awesome. Put on a great outfit that makes you look fabulous, do your hair and make-up, and swan up and down the mall knowing that you are fabulous. Perhaps channeling Joanna Lumley in Absolutely Fabulous. Ha. If you see me doing this, you'll know for sure that I've had a bad week.
Or maybe simply write it all down, like I just did. All the hyperbolic, self-critical, nonsense and then read it over and chuckle ruefully, knowing that whether we're thirty-one or sixty-one, we're still really thirteen... deep inside.
P.S. Please don't read this post as a plea for compliments. As I said. I'm good. Really. But just in case, I think I'll put some lipstick on, pour myself a glass of champagne, and maybe watch a few videos of Absolutely Fabulous on You Tube.
What do you do when you find your self-confidence waning instead of waxing?
Linking up this week with: Visible Monday, #IwillwearwhatIlike, Style Me Wednesday, Thursday Favourite Things, Passion 4 Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Fabulous Friday, Saturday Share Link-Up.