So you’re getting ready.
Your man or your woman (apologies for the possessive terms, but I blame the english language) is sat distracted doing whatever they’re doing. You are going out for the night, it is a big night and you have been waiting for this for a while. You have tried on many outfits but nothing quite suits, you think you have found the one and you turn to your partner.
“What do you think?”
With a glance and barely a turn of their, you hear.
“uhm, it’s fine. You look fine.”
Time is up and you have to leave, your confidence now hinges on a ‘You look fine’. It is hardly going to hold up the Hoover Dam or support Led Zepplin at Wembley but it will have to do, the event is in 20 minutes!
You don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, or in your outfit, it’s in the back of your mind the whole time. You also know if you get one average comment all of your negative thoughts have been confirmed. You know the thin veil of confidence will be shattered.
This is how I recently described the feeling of being beaten down by voices, negative thoughts and anxiety over 15 years. I can create this thin veil, this idea that I am confident. That I am outgoing and interesting. However, one negative, or even average comment and its gone. The illusion is up, the voices were right and I need the ground to swallow me up. The problem is that the ground won’t swallow me up and I can’t even change my dress. I am the dress and I have to pick myself up and rebuild this thin veil.
I find this extremely tiring and I am sure I am not the only one. It is exhausting, fighting the demons, whilst trying to appear confident, attractive, interesting. Just like the woman in the dress on her big night, if the confidence shatters the show must go on, and on, and on. You have to smile while dying inside, you have to try and joke, try to laugh. You must be engaging, yet terrified. You must have interesting thoughts with a completely blank mind.
Anxiety grips you. Engulfs you and changes you. Without an understanding society, there is no escape. You must wear the dress forever, on a never ending night when expectation, lack of understanding and judgement are abound.
Although the fact we hinge our confidence on inanimate objects and other peoples opinions says everything we need to know about us as a species.