Confidence is a flimsy thing. One moment proud and boasting can easily be deflated; a mere thought, a sidenote, a like too little, shrinking it to a size of bubble gum, stuck under your shoe, annoyingly reminding you of your failings. And so difficult to shake off.
I used to be a very confident child much to the dismay of my family. There is a VHS lying somewhere in the attic of my parents house, Christmas 1996 written on it, documenting a specific moment, that ever since lingers in the collective memories of my family where seven year old me supposedly walks into the door after church on Christmas Eve proclaiming loudly: “I am the star of this family.”
This moment, a childish outburst of mega confidence, is not what my self-esteem looks like these days, which is, a note on the side: Probably for the better.
But sometimes I do wonder where it went. And also where it came from? It’s one of these things, where I feel people do not really have their heads wrapped around yet: Where does confidence come from? Is it something we learn over time or something that you own, like a haircut? Is it a fixed entity or unstable like a Jenga tower, crashing the minute you take out the wrong wooden block?
In the past weeks I’ve been watching a TV show called “The Durrells”. Set in the 1930s it’s about a widow who decides to relocate her family of four children from the UK to the island of Corfu, Greece. One of these children, the oldest, is called Larry and he is a writer. We find out quite immediately about his profession because that’s his biggest character trade.
He is a writer born and bred. There’s literally nothing else that he does, except ignore everyone and proclaim all the time how he is writing and thus cannot do a single thing he is asked for, even pushing away his lover.
Being a writer myself I find this somewhat admirable. I find it so admirable because it’s something I rarely do. And sitting here in my pyjamas at 7am the morning that my newsletter is published, still trying to finish it, is just another proof. I do not take my writing seriously enough.
Which has always been a pattern of mine. I notice it especially when I see other people doing the opposite. When friends of mine set boundaries because: “They need to study in the library today.” or “Take time to write.” or “Were working in the morning, so they put their phone on silent.” - Because I am frankly quite bad at doing any of that. I literally let any plan to write go for a date, for a TV show, for a phone call. Which is the reason why I’m sitting here now, super tired, trying to get the words out, my eye wandering to the clock, every ten seconds, really regretting my past decisions.
I wish I was like Jo in Little Women, sitting in the attic, writing writing writing frantically, pure focus and passion for her book till completion. This believe that nothing is more worth doing than the work she’s doing, completely losing herself. Saying “No” to people and putting her writing first. I want that.
I want to build a Jenga tower so solid, that no matter how many blocks you take away, I don’t crumble and fall. I want to sit down, ignore the world, ignore every fear, every critique and write and one day be finished and like Larry Durrell open a bottle of champagne and shout “Is it a work of genius? - Yes it is.”
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