There’s this poem I love- it’s called “Questions for the Woman I Was Last Night,” by Warsan Shire. I think it should sit in every woman’s bedroom. Anyhow, there’s this line that I’ve gone back to over and over the years.
“All this time you were begging for love silently/ Thinking they couldn’t hear you/ but they smelt it on you/ you must’ve known that they could taste the desperate on your skin.”
Confidence is this magic word that few know fully, many attempt, but everyone knows when it’s real and when it’s not.
Here’s the funny thing though, I really believed I had it. I thought surely if I was able to take a photo of myself (Photoshop the crap out of it), but still post it on the internet- that had to mean something right? I love myself… in the right light with the right filter and enough makeup on.
What’s so funny is that it wasn’t until I turned 23 years old that I realized how wrong I was. All this time I was looking for acceptance in my instagram feed, seeking positions so that people would notice me, I joined greek life, I was a fraternity sweetheart, I gave so much of my time and effort to other people- I was begging for love silently.
I graduated, and moved to Florida.
There I found isolation. I found that a good dose of vitamin d and the ocean, does, in fact, do a body good. I was making career moves, working two jobs, coming home just in time for a 3 mile run followed by a long bath complete with candles and epsom salt and bubble bath and netflix propped up on my screen with an exfoliation mask thrown on my face-
Nobody loved me like I loved me, and suddenly, everyone could see it. For the first time in my life, my world didn’t revolve around my most recent melodrama with a boy that was some tale of unrequited love. I was approached significantly more than ever before in my life, and I happily declined, with a big smile on my face, and genuine hope that they find someone who sees them for the amazing men that they are and when they did, I felt nothing.
When you become a confident woman, it’s like having x-ray vision. All of the confident people in this world have this collective super power. Suddenly, you can see a woman or man with insecurity from oceans away. It’s like they have this glaring cartoon arrow in neon red hovering above them at all times- “I don’t really like myself in this skin.” – you must’ve known that they could taste the desperate on your skin.
I wish I could tell you I am still this confident woman, but here’s the other funny thing about confidence. It’ll come and go as life gives and it takes.
In January, I was laid off my job, packed my bags, moved to New York City in pursuit of a dream and hit the ground running. I am woman- hear me roar. For one month and five days I hustled. I applied, I interviewed, I shook hands, I smiled, sent “thank you” emails, made follow up phone calls, reached out for “networking opportunities”, had “final sit downs” and discussions about salary-
and was told no.
so I did again
and was told no.
It has now been one month and fourteen days. I am living in an air bnb with no heat or hot water, no kitchen or gym, in weather so cold stepping outside is a nightmare, let alone running 3 miles.
I am waiting to be told yes and I feel so lonely.
In year 23, I had experienced my highest high in confidence and now, (so far), I can say I am at my lowest low. I had no idea that being single could be a feeling. I didn’t know it could be something that looms beside you at the hangout because everyone around you has their arm around someone or a text waiting for them on their phone. I had no idea that after feeling so invincible, alive, thriving, and independent could shake and crumble so magnificently over a move across the country, the absence of my car and the sun, and being told you’re just not the right fit at this time.
So I was telling someone I adore to no end about this, and he said, “at the times that you feel most vulnerable, you end up growing the most, and you find out who you are.
so who are you?”
I am resilient and I am hopeful. Sitting on my air mattress curled up next to the space heater after holding my head underneath the bathtub faucet because I was in desperate need of a shower in negative degree weather in water that doesn’t get hot mourning over my latest job rejection (it was earlier today), I am positive that something is going to give.
I am positive that this is just a moment in time.
I wish I had something more empowering to say or something that you could take home and do, but I don’t. I can only tell you that in a world where everything is continuing to go wrong, I still believe that something will give.
This time I know I don’t have any confidence, it has been shaken. There is an arrow above my head that everyone can see. However, after knowing what it feels like to walk amidst a visible glow, to hold that superpower and to wake up every day smiling, I am sure I will find it again.
Maybe confidence isn’t something we attain and keep, maybe it, too, is just a feeling that comes and goes at different times.
A truth written by Surina Gangwani.