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where the hell can a girl get some confidence?

I never speak up in meetings if I don’t have to.
I preface every sentence with “I’m not sure, but…”
I end every sentence with “…I don’t know.”
I don’t feel deserving of anything.
I feel like I’m always in the way.
Like I’m bothering anyone I come in contact with.
I look at my feet when I walk to work because I’m scared to look forward.
I don’t think anyone wants to hang out with me, so I never ask.
I’m scared to leave my house 98% of the time.
I get scared to order at new coffee shops because all I want is an Americano but sometimes that’s too hard to say because I’m so scared I’ll screw it up and the barista will hate me.
I’m scared that everyone will hate me.
I don’t like when people hate me.
I self-sabotage every time because I don’t think I can do it.
I always think I can’t do it.
I will always take emails and text over phone and in-person interactions.

I have no confidence. Zero. None. Nonexistent. It’s troublesome. I do not like it.

But I’m working on it.

It’s hard to put yourself out there when you know you aren’t ready for criticism. Or feedback. Or anything really. When you don’t have confidence, you feel like you’ll shatter at the first sign of disapproval. The first cruel word or cold glance will crush you.

And no matter how many episodes of RuPauls’ Drag Race you watch or how many of his podcasts you consume, you still can’t make “water off a duck’s back” work for you. You try to live “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else?” motto, but it’s not happening.

Confidence is elusive. Where do people get it? Where do women get the confidence necessary to speak their mind, pitch ideas, ask questions, and look up when they walk down the street? I need to know. Because I don’t know where that comes from.

I’m reading The Confidence Code for a work book club, and it’s got me thinking pretty heavily on the subject. Why’s it gotta be so elusive? Why’s it gotta be such a pain in the ass? Why can’t I just like myself, goddamnit? Why are we all so scared to say what’s up?

My bigger question is, what am I so afraid of?

I don’t know. But until I know and write a kickass post about it, here are two images that I’ve been ogling lately whenever I feel pissed at my incompetence and generally cowardly demeanor.

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These two little morsels of Pinterest goodness represent something I’ve been mulling over for months. Why do I feel like I owe pretty to anyone? Because, after all, an enormous chunk of my eating disorder past comes from the need and desire to please people with my looks. BUT WHY??????? 10 years of therapy did not answer that question, and I’m still seeking the answer. And the competitive one–yes. I’ve been pondering girl shaming and the way we are so quick to criticize anything we immediately don’t like the second we see it. Why do we feel the innate need to compete? Can’t we all be confident and kind? Why do we have to fight so hard to make that a thing?

I’ve been asking you all a lot of questions lately, and I never provide answers. Sorry. I don’t have any answers. I think I’m feeling frustrated that I’m almost 28 and still can’t get my shit together. My brain still has the emotions of my 13-year-old self. I still think I’m fat, I still think I’m undesirable and unloveable. And I’m still so afraid of what everyone thinks. And to me, that seems whack. Bitches be triflin. The shade, the SHADE of it all.

Tell me–where does confidence come from and how can I get me some of that?

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10 Things I’ll Never Do

1. I will never be great at anything tiny. That is, crocheting, hand sewing, advanced lego builds, cross stitching, and/or anything having to do with things small enough to get caught in your fingernail.

2. I will never go to my high school reunion. No way, man. I will not Rory and Michelle that bitch. ALL THE ANXIETY.

3. I will never get Lasik. I like wearing glasses far too much. I’ve worn them since 2nd grade, which I think is total grounds for permanent bespectacledness.

4. I will never finish reading Anna Karenina. I’ve tried 4 solid times and failed miserably every time. Yes, I am a failure as an English major, and Professor Engler is devastated. Sorry, man. Can’t do it.

5. I will never like cucumbers. I used to eat those 24 hours a day (exaggeration) when I was sick back in the day, and to this day, they conjure bad vibes of starvation and deprivation. EAT FOOD, GUYS. IT’S SO GOOD FOR YOU.

6. Along those same lines, I will never ever ever ever stop telling women to love themselves. Self-love renegade up in here. Can’t stop won’t stop. Get on this self-love body acceptance train or get out, dudes.

7. I will never rest in my quest for the perfect eyebrows. The secret is I have a secret pinboard dedicated to bushy eyebrows and perfectly arched eyebrows. I’m obsessed. Also, I compliment people on their eyebrows all the time, and it’s always awkward. Except for the gelato maker at my old grocery store in Utah. He was FIERCE, and I made sure he knew it. He did. But still. Best brows of all time.

8. I will never stop sweating. I swear to God. I’m cursed to an endless existence of above-normal body temperature. Or something. It’s October 22, and STILL too hot for me in Seattle. 63 degrees isn’t cutting it. Give me 35 degrees or give me death.

9. I will never get enough RuPaul’s Drag Race. Every season is too short, and every season is too far apart. Ru, can we bump up that production schedule plz? kthx.

10. I will never stop loving cereal. Apple Jacks, Vanilla Chex, Frosted Cheerios, Life. You can’t stop me. Neither can high fructose corn syrup, large doses of sugar, and health food propaganda. Cereal whore ’til I die.

Now here are the rest of the Victoria shenanigans. That boat taxi is and will always be the cutest boat on this planet. No contest. Game over. Deal with it.

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Things you’ll never do? Let’s hear it.

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curiosity vs. passion

Here’s an Elizabeth Gilbert quote that got me to thinking:

“We are constantly being told to pursue our passions in life, but there are times when passion is a TALL ORDER, and really hard to reach. In seasons of confusion, of loss, of boredom, of insecurity, of distraction, the idea of “passion” can feel completely inaccessible and impossible. In such times, you are lucky to be able to get your laundry done (that sometimes feels as high as you can aim) and when someone tells you to follow your passion, you want to give them the middle finger. (Go ahead and do it, by the way. But wait till their back is turned, out of civility.)

But curiosity, I have found, is always within reach.

Passion is a tower of flame, but curiosity is a tiny tap on the shoulder — a little whisper in the ear that says, “Hey, that’s kind of interesting…”

Passion is rare; curiosity is everyday.

Curiosity is therefore a lot easier to reach at at times than full-on passion — and the stakes are lower, easier to manage.

The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for a instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?”

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I heard this quote on my way home from a particularly discouraging day at my new job.

I had writers block. I froze. Totally choked when it counted. At least it felt that way just because I woke up on the shit snacks side of the bed. And to be clear, that’s the side of the bed that involves feeling like shit about yourself. It started when there was a hole in my sweater. And then my deodorant fell on the floor and got white residue everywhere. And my eyebrows weren’t pencilling in just right. And on the way to work, I kept playing chicken with everyone when I was crossing the bustling streets. I didn’t know how to work the coffee machine at work, and I had about 63 awkward interactions with people just because I’m awkward. Why am I so awkward? It’s tough to be shy, amiright???

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I was my own little saboteur from the second that horrendous harp iPhone alarm started rattling my sleep-addled brain. I let in the fear, and I let my inner critic get to me. That stinker. He’s always getting to me, telling me I’m a terrible writer.

So then Elizabeth Gilbert hops on the TED Radio Hour to discuss creativity. And passion vs. curiosity. And it occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t up for my writing passion so much right now as much as I was just up for a little curiosity. It IS my passion–in fact, I saw an article today listing me as a “basic bitch” for having a punctuation tattoo. You know. Because I’m THAT serious about grammar. Joke’s on you, internet haters, because I AM that serious about grammar! NOW SUCK ON THAT! I live for writing. But sometimes, that passion backfires into crushing self-doubt that I’ll never be a good enough writer to live UP to that passion.

So today, I’ll just take a little writing curiosity. I’ll take it easy. I’ll let me writing mind wander where it wants to go. Because that seems much more manageable in this time of insecurity.

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Weird post and deep thoughts. Thoughts on curiosity vs. passion? GO!

PS–the Victoria trip photos continue! This was the breakwater path thingy, which was awesooooome. I saw wild jellyfish! Not aquarium jellyfish, like this land-locked lady is used to. REAL ONES. MAGIC.