This is the second time I write this, I'm hoping for spontaneity. I tried to bullet point earlier and I went on a four-page rampage on Feminism. Maybe I'll save that draft for my future Empire Manifesto. (In my future Empire, we will all dress like Cleopatra. Plotting the headpieces as we speak.)
So anyway- confidence. A lot of friends have requested I write this, so hey thank you. If you think I know anything about confidence, I'm flattered. It's not really something I give much thought to and I wasn't sure how to tackle this, it's such a huge subject, everything is connected to it.
This Summer I attended a Buddhist centre where we focused our study on self-healing practices and inner peace. For me, that is what confidence is: to be in peace with yourself. If you look it up in the dictionary, you'll find "to believe in your power and abilities" but you know what? If you are in peace, then chances are you believe in yourself. Why wouldn't you? The opposite would be to be in conflict and live in fear- coincidentially, the default status of modern society.
So to answer all the questions I get on "how to be", I would say, when you focus on being with all your energy, and you're positive, thankful, useful, honest, in tune with your spirit and your senses, then you'll be confident.
It's much healthier to think of it on those terms, for several reasons.
Because "confidence", as such, is too abstract, and we don't understand it. We live in a society where everything must be very obvious and in-your-face. When you make confidence obvious, you end up with something quite ugly. And that's not really what confidence is. We mistake confidence for "pride", "coquettry", "pretension", "ostentation". We call shameless, avaricious, selfish people, "confident". FYI confidence doesn't mean "to visually prove to strangers that you believe in your power". We all agree they are different ideas, yea?
It's not surprising then, that given the way we portray confidence, it's kind of frowned upon. Because when you stuff a loud, bitchy girl with fake boobs into a scandalous dress, and call her "confident", you learn to despise the word.
I'll say it again, confidence doesn't need to be demonstrated, it's not ostentatious. It's not a quality that shows- it comes through, but usually in other ways like kindness and generosity. A confident person is nice to other people, just like a miserable person is horrible to be around. In 2011, it doesn't shock me that we can't grasp that concept. We only understand what we can see; we live in a cartoon, where confidence means a player in latex clothes. Or something.
I blame the media. Allow me to go on a tangent - the Media (TV, magazines) just like it has limited our vocabulary, has simplified our understanding of things. It's either black or white, there's no room to think anymore, no subtelty, no qualities that can't be succintly manifested through fashion in a photograph. And we're so lazy, we just accept it, and the strokes become bigger and bigger.
Since we can't be boastful of our confidence because it is so ordinary, we are now encouraged to be boastful of our insecurities! How well does that work out for the beauty industry? The ostentation of insecurities is the IT thing this decade. Complaining about silly things as a token of humility- because humility aswell, must be very clearly displayed. It's not "modest"; it's a fraud.
This confidence/humility combo is a theatrical comedy act, a parody perfected by PRs, read on how to do it:
You wear stripper Louboutin pumps and a runway-inspired dress that doesn't flatter you (because that totally proves that you're confident, wearing things that you don't like and that don't flatter you. You have to "make it work for you"- it's YOUR fault if it doesn't work for you), and then complaining all night about your horrible legs and how much your $1000 shoes hurt, and putting yourself down at every opportunity, while looking fabulous.
Let me say it right now, that scenario has nothing to do with being confident, or insecure...or with being humble, vulnerable, or with being vain. It's just blatantly pretentious. Like, trying to demonstrate that you are confident and humble in front of people...god, it's just too much work.
It's not only in the visuals, it's the vocabulary. We have now adopted in all areas of our life, the advertising language. We've become marketing-term-repeating monkeys. No wonder we all have a bloody problem, we can only speak in problem-terms! Some obvious examples: Things like "problem areas", "flaws", "excess hair"..Girls actually talk like this between themselves? To gauge just how ridiculous some of this sounds, I like to visualize Virginia Woolf saying them.
A problem area would be an unsafe neighbourhood, not a tummy. A flaw is something you might come across in a painting; it is a cruel word to use on a person. People don't have "mistakes" on them, unless they're missing a finger, that's a tragic mistake. And there IS no such thing as "excess" hair.
While we keep using slogans as an accepted way of communication, we're contributing to this self-destruction. May I remind you the premise of advertisements:
a) it sells something, therefore creating a "void" or a "conflict" in your life that the product is going to fix
b) even the thickest, most illiterate person in the country must be able to understand it
It's based on euphemisms, rhymes, simplifications, double-meanings...How anyone thinks that borrowing this language is a good idea, is beyond me.
I'm sure I too am guilty of this to an extent, but I slap myself when I feel a euphemism creeping into my speech and I use it with caution and sarcasm. Yes it's kind of funny and amusing and I believe most of us do it as a tongue-in-cheek mock of the editorial world, but the danger is that it takes over 100% of our information, and then it just becomes..a load of unhealthy phrases all piled together.
My thoughts on the common female insecurities:
There's a lot of sillyness going on between girls, where we're insecure about things that are completely natural. I personally don't have a problem with being a human being. I sweat, my hair is greasy on the second day, and my nails are imperfect, because I am a girl, not a fantastic plastic baboon. Would I like to be a plastic baboon? Probably not; I like the smell of skin. I have skin and bones. Bones all over myself!! Point as much as you like. I'll never excuse myself for it, or attempt to justify it. The stupidity in doing that is just baffling. My waxing regime is simple: when I see enough hair I take it off, and that's as much stress as I'm going to allow my bikini area to cause me.
Of course I'm insecure about many things, but I don't live in guilt of my bodily functions. The moment you feel alive, in my experience, you're okay with your appearance. Doing more exercise and getting distracted and going OUT works for me, in those times where I'm really not okay. Kick me out of here when I start enumerating my "flaws", because that is the most offensive thing I could be doing to all women. We all share our "flaws", and I'm not here to remind anyone of theirs. If I spot a girl's cellulite, I approach her with team-spirit and then I move on to her assets, which I am a lot more interested in. At the end of the day, we're all human, we're in this together, all of us, male and female, and I find it awfully hard to generalize, but the one thing I know is that we all spend a lot more time staring at beauty than staring at pain. So let's not waste too much time with pain, because nobody gives a damn about it.
I think these visuals are perfectly descriptive..
As always, i'm interested to hear your thoughts