I've never felt like a shy girl, never felt insecure or particularly unconfident but I've always had a nagging feeling that confidence is a "could do better" area for me that I'm a "should have more confidence in her own abilities" type. Coming across as a confident female is tricky (not suggesting its easier for men but there is undoubtably less baggage that goes with it), who hasn't felt that fear upon accepting a compliment, like, oops, have I just made that Mean Girls-esque faux pas and admitted that I actually do look nice today? There's a dangerous line between appearing confident (good) and appearing overly pleased with oneself (not so good).
I've made progress, I know. The consolation prize of no longer being able to look cute on two hours sleep and too many G&Ts is that I can now easily return something to a shop, or refuse to pay the service charge in a restaurant (obviously only when the service is terrible, I'm not mean) and I can easily show up to a blog event solo because I know they'll be someone to talk to or I can just, y'know, Instagram the crap out of the event and slip away as a back-up plan - one that I've never had to actually use because bloggers are always a great bunch.
But last month I found myself with an event scrawled into my Filofax, an event which I knew would be welcoming and which others would have rocked up alone to too. Half an hour before I was due to go I found myself like "Nope. Can't". The thought of walking in alone, the realisation that I was wearing "uncool" pink trainers (because clearly no one would want to speak to a girl wearing pink Sketchers) meant that despite all my intentions of going along and doing something new and fun there was suddenly no way I was going to go. I slumped off home to my empty flat after a day of not actually speaking with my voice in a world where "chatting" actually means "typing emojis into a WhatsApp thread", feeling quite disappointed in myself and also that I'd fallen short of other people's view of me as a sociable, not un-confident person. I love me time maybe more than the average girl but it gets to the point where it's easy to hide behind how much fun you can have alone and how you totally needed a Friday night in alone because you know, you'd had a busy week and were super tired, right?
Fast-forward to a few weeks later and the event came around again. Despite waking up from an extended nap 20 minutes before I needed to leave the house, despite having just returned from a trip to NYC, I told myself that I had to go. I had to at least leave my flat and walk there. No excuses this time. And I did. And I had fun. And I can't even remember what shoes I was wearing or if I was even wearing make-up and walking home I felt a million miles away from the girl of a month before, who was overly fixated on footwear choices to push herself out of her comfort zone.
So that's our "lesson" for July. The only way to become more confident is to just get out there and do something that a confident person would do even if it is a little terrifying because getting some human interaction is a lot better for your soul than WhatsApp and Netflix. And, FYI, the meeting that I was off to was a meeting of the Shoreditch Sisters WI - if you're East-London based then I'd wholeheartedly recommend it.