A few nights ago, I was having a heart-to-heart with a friend. We were talking about the transition from high school to college and making new friends. She confessed, “It’s hard for me to meet new people. I’m not as confident as you are.”
Me – confident? This caught me completely off guard. I have never considered myself to be an outgoing social butterfly. I immediately thought back to myself in middle school, to the feelings of awkwardness and the insecurities that will never completely go away. How could someone possibly mistake me for that girl – the one who exudes friendliness and self-possession? How could someone admire, or even envy me for a characteristic I never thought I had?
So my friend thought me to be confident, of all things. And for some reason, I felt the urge to dispel this belief.
“It’s all an act, I can assure you,” I told her.
Sometimes, it’s so much easier to have intimate conversations with people who haven’t known you for very long. When no one presupposes anything about your character, you can be free to be your truest self – or, at the very least, the version of you that you want people to see.
Mackenzie’s post got me thinking about what it means to be genuine. Sometimes I feel fake, as though the persona I’m projecting to others is some kind of disguise. Often, I’ll find myself dwelling on everything that’s happened in the past couple of months. I’ll keep telling myself that I’m not that girl. I’m not that talkative, that flirtatious, that vivacious, that happy. I’m not that open with others. I’m not that extraverted. I’m not that girl, and that’s not how I should be perceived. On days when the feelings of self-doubt are exceptionally strong, I’ll look around and see all these other happy, confident, and friendly people. I’ll sigh to myself and think, if only I were more like them!
The truth is, no one has got it all figured out. People are like icebergs – you only ever see ten percent of their surface. I have to remind myself of this each and everyday. Maybe it’s true that I am that girl – I just can’t be her all the time. People have layers upon layers of personality, and the sum of their components can go miles deep. So just because you don’t feel confident for one day doesn’t mean you aren’t confident for your entire life. And when you do feel confident, you aren’t necessarily faking it. There is beauty in your nuanced, non-static existence. You are but frozen water; given the right conditions, you can melt and refreeze, or dissolve freely into the air.