Writing a blog about confidence is pretty tough when you feel like a fraud. I should know; that’s exactly how I felt. Looking back, I knew things were really out of control when I attended an event in Brisbane, pre-Covid. In a room full of people, most I’d known for years, I couldn’t breathe. Nothing could distract or settle me. The walls were closing in, and the only thing I could do was get outside, sit and try to gather myself.

Maybe some of you were there or heard an account of it. Some people got back to me, said I was rude, stand-offish and made them feel like I didn’t care about them or anything but myself and my friends. Hard to hear, a gut punch. But I couldn’t argue with it. When you’re barely holding it together, keen to get out, I’m sure that’s exactly how it looks to others. Anxiety looks like that sometimes; I look like that sometimes; there’s no denying it.

And I was embarrassed. That I came across that way or that it would be the first impression some people had of me. Humiliated that I couldn’t take a few deep breaths and clear my head, I got stuck in the panic. I couldn’t face the blog after that. Some confidence guru I turned out to be. Not that I ever set out to be a guru; of course, I didn’t. But no one knew then how bad my anxiety had gotten, and I refused to share that.


Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect — on any front — and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.” — Mister Rogers


But hiding from it did nothing. It was still there when I worried about what people were saying or thinking about me. It showed up, and I felt like an outsider. Then Covid hit, and the last shreds of my chill slipped through my fingers. I embraced online groceries and deliveries and soon was buying everything online. There was nowhere to go, so I didn’t have to push myself to try anymore. There was relief in giving up. I was happy to stay there for as long as I could.

Then, in the middle of last year, things started to shift for me. I said yes to more things and let my excuses slip. Time passing had lessened the power of the anxiety that had surged so strongly through my veins in the years prior. Finally, I could see out from under my rock, and there, to be entirely cliche and sickening, was sunshine. I could breathe again, finally.

There’s no way that I ever want to resume my self-appointed confidence guru position. But confidence, self-confidence and body confidence will always be part of this blog, just as they are part of my life story and mental health conversations. So from now on, you can count on me to be honest about what is going on for me, good or bad, up or down. Who knows if you even want that from me? Maybe it will just be for my benefit and debriefing purposes, but we’ll see.


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