I walk down the hall: shoulders straight, head up, smile on. I good-morning, good-afternoon, or good-evening, usually in appropriate context. My voice projects, as do my hips. There is confidence and esteem in my words and actions.
I’m witty, so chit-chat and banter aren’t hard to come by. It doesn’t take much talk to brew a K-cup and I can think beyond the weather. I make eye contact. I enunciate. I can manage conversations around my business, writing, current events or the news, history, literature, life, TV, kids, and a myriad of other topics. I speak with authority, except when I don’t have any and then I ask questions.
My clothes, though bought at discount, project security, and class. I wear what I am comfortable wearing, and it looks good on me, and typically that is a dress or skirt and power heels. I wear the Kleins, Calvin and Anne, but I shop Ross – though you can’t tell the price once the tag is off. I can sit with my team or with the executives.
I look and sound like a strong and confident woman, secure in herself and her life, ready to take on challenges and create ideas that move life, and business, ahead. And in many ways, and on many days, I am. But not really.
I spend a great deal of my day imagining that people view me this way. When I’m feeling particularly down, I pretend I can read thoughts and hear people thinking about how smart or creative
or pretty I am. Really, I’m hearing me reminding me that I’m not all that bad, that I can do it, that I’m able and capable. But still, when it all comes down to it, I don’t believe it about myself, and take my strength and confidence from perceiving that others perceive me as such. It’s a twisted cycle.
I feel like I’m faking it, like I’m walking around pretending to be something I am still fighting to be, like I’m there already even though I have miles to go before I sleep. I’m working on being strong, and in the meantime, I’m pretending I am.