Tonight I took part in my first ever Twitter chat on @TheGirlGangHQ with some of the most wonderful people I have ever had the opportunity to talk to. Apart from knowing the topic was confidence, I had no idea what to expect or how to participate. However, my questions were quickly answered with the appearance of the first question of the night.
Q1. Firstly, would you describe yourself as a confident person? …and why?/why not? #thegirlgang ✨ 🙂
Now I immediately knew how I wanted to answer this particular question. I’m not at all confident. Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration now but before coming to university my confidence was way below that of even a typical teenager with low self confidence and self esteem. It may be wrong of me but I put a lot of that down to the way my mum talked to me as I was growing up.
I always knew I was heavier than the other children my age, and I knew that, when compared even just with my sister, I’m not most people’s ideal person in the looks category. But for some reason, I don’t remember it actually affecting me until I was about 11 years old. One night I stood in front of the mirror in our hallway and sobbed to my mum that I hated myself – I was fat, ugly, spotty, had glasses, hated my hair, and never felt I looked at all presentable. I remember crying for what seemed like ages while mum promised me that I could lose the weight if I tried, we would look into contact lenses, everyone gets spotty, and it was always easy to change your hair if you don’t like it. What she didn’t do was tell me that I was pretty and it didn’t matter what I looked like.
At the time it didn’t bother me, but looking back at it now, I’m slightly annoyed that she didn’t at least try to boost my confidence. Instead, she fed into my lack of confidence. And from then it’s been a continued stream.
I know I need to lose weight to be healthy. I understand now that my acne is due to an imbalance of hormones and can be controlled if I stay on medication, but I didn’t like the side effects. My hair is slowly becoming my favourite feature, when it’s been dyed and is sitting nicely. I alternate between glasses and contact lenses, depending on how I feel, but my glasses are finally ones I like and I feel more confident about my rubbish eyesight. Finally, I accepted I don’t have to dress for anyone apart from myself.
This however doesn’t mean I am confident. It means that I have great friends who are helping me realise it doesn’t matter what I look like as long as I’m true to myself. My confidence was beginning to really build recently, until one person I really look up to for their confidence knocked me back a bit by making a comment about how I only ever talk about TV shows. I didn’t tell them at the time that what was said hurt, I don’t intend on telling them that it still hurts. However, I’m using their comment to push myself to try new things (she says watching Gogglebox and blogging).
Another factor that really knocked my confidence was coming to terms with my sexuality. Most people find that finally accepting themselves boosts their confidence. For me, it had the opposite affect (effect? I never know, sorry!). With homophobic parents, and a genuine fear of ever having to talk to them about my relationships, I became even more withdrawn from my family (apart from my amazing sister, Rachel) as I didn’t know how to be myself around them. In November last year, Rachel accidentally told them. It turns out my dad is okay with talking to me about it openly, Mum is another matter all together. But we’ll worry about that if/when I actually end up in a relationship.
Wow those were rather depressing paragraphs, sorry! Onto question 2.
Q2. Are there specific things that help boost your confidence? Do you try put things into practise to help yourself? #thegirlgang ✨
When feeling extremely lacking in confidence, I take a me day. I spend as long as I want in the shower/bath and take the time to work on my hair until it sits perfectly. Then I put on either Bridget Jones’ Diary or another feel good film/TV show, and eat my body weight in whatever food I can reach. While the food normally ends with me slightly regretting it and feeling guilty, I also use that feeling to remind me that it’s okay and good to enjoy the things I love.
If this doesn’t help, I end up going to sit with friends and they quickly bring me back up! One place I will always feel confident is here, where I can blog in peace and know that if people aren’t interested they just won’t read. I’m so used to people putting me down because they don’t agree with or like what I’m saying, so it’s freeing to know that here I will always be able to talk openly to you.
Q3. Can you share something that reaaallyy doesn’t make you feel confident? #thegirlgang ✨ *hugs all round, & give tips to others if poss!*
Here, I listed everything I’ve mentioned under question 1. What was interesting was the fact that a lot of us felt the same about our looks – we don’t fit into society’s “norms” and that other girls judge us more than guys do. This intrigued me because although we’re aware of it, we don’t do anything to try and fix it for ourselves and others. If I go on Twitter now, I’ll see multiple posts regarding weight loss, make up techniques and anything else that will help us look “better”. And while I can’t say that looking great doesn’t feel great, I feel like there’s a lot of stress for us all to look a particular way.
Public speaking also came up quite a bit under this topic. Thankfully, GCSE drama helped me with this aspect of life – doesn’t mean I feel confident with it! My technique when having to speak in front of people in university is to dress comfortably rather than smartly. Dress comfortably and you’ll gradually feel more comfortable in front of these people.
I’d love if everyone told us something that makes them AMAZING ^__^ (bc we all have something) #thegirlgang ✨
This one was great. Everyone was able to list something that they liked about themselves. Here, I said I’m loyal to my friends. If there’s one thing that’s important to me, it’s my friends. I will stand by them when they’re going through problems, and I will do anything to be there for them when they need me.
Q4. When around other confident people, does it help encourage to be the same? Or do you tend to shy away? #thegirlgang ✨
I find there’s a bit of a balance to it here. I had one friend in school who always had excess confidence, bordering on arrogance. She intimidated me and was one of the few who brought me down during my school years. Now at university, I find it encouraging to be around confident people, especially a few certain people who I’ve talked to about their confidence before. Without them, I don’t think I’d have even this little confidence I can claim.
And lastly, if you have a photo that makes you feel confident, or was taken of you at a confident time – please share! 🙂 #thegirlgang ✨
I felt so confident the day I took this picture, as my hair, makeup and hat were sitting perfectly. And the lighting hid all my spots! However, this picture of us in Paris is now one of my favourite pictures, taken with my favourite people who make me feel confident and happy with them.
To finish the chat, TheGirlGang tweeted You may be kind, beautiful, funny, creative, thoughtful – you are something SPECIAL <3 Focus on your good qualities #thegirlgang ✨
And that’s what I wanted to remind you all today. No matter what you dislike about yourself, or what causes you to be anxious, there will always be the good qualities to keep you going!