The Confidence Project

 

Book and Glasses - Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Do you ever have a story that no one believed but is completely true? A story that you try so hard to convince people believe, but they’ll look at you in a funny way, shake their heads and exclaim, “No way!” or “You’re joking!“?

Well, I have one such story and it goes like this . . .

Once when I was young, I tried so hard to be inconspicuous — both at home and at school because I was afraid to be put on the spotlight. I barely said a word in school unless I have no choice because it’s a graded recitation or the question was directly addressed to me. Nevertheless, teachers pushed me towards various extra-curricular activities like being part of Glee Club, Girl Scout, Lyre and Drum Band, acting on-stage during school fairs and other embarrassing *activities.

*I even believed for a split second that pushing me to do all those things might have been a conspiracy plot to get my dad’s cooperation for several projects they had.

There’s no better way to say this, but I was awkward through it all. I have no choice though. My dad was an officer in the PTA, the exalted member of the community, and we needed to keep up appearances (at least I did). 

I hated every second of it.

I cry silently whenever I was emotionally or physically hurt because I don’t want my mom to hear me crying and go on a nagging spree. I kept to myself after learning that some classmates only wanted to befriend me because of the “power” I allegedly have on the school administrators through my dad. I learned to hold my tongue when I heard stupid comments from kids at school.

Because of my quiet disposition and controlled temperament, I was always awarded the “Most Silent” or “Most Behaved” on the last day of the school year in school. I wasn’t really sure if it’s something to celebrate or something to be ashamed of. However, the one thing I was  sure of was it meant — I’m a quiet person. I still am. So when I tell people now that I am, in fact, an introvert, they give me the stink eye.

Oh yeah, I got something from the whole experience like getting higher grades and recognition. But, you see, I was a loner at heart, a veritable introvert. I’d rather spend my time after school reading in the library or listening to my Walkman while sketching something.

Fact of the matter is: I wasn’t always blessed with confidence or have a vivacious personality like most people may know of me now.  The other fact they didn’t know is, I made myself as a “project.”

Yes. Just like a movie, I produced my current self. Oh, I’m still an introvert and will always be (I think). I love nothing more than laze around my apartment on weekends, have DVD marathons, reading books on my TBR list or tapping away at my laptop — blogging or trying to finish The Scroll Saints novel.  

What does the project entail?

When I realized nothing will happen if I stayed glued to my seat, keep silent, be like Walter Mitty, and just let time pass me by without me being an active participant in life, I wrote a list on my worn-down organizer.

This change in mindset happened approximately 10 years ago.

My evolution (like an amoeba) — as they say — started because I don’t want to become a doormat to some asshole who’ll take advantage of me and make me both emotionally and psychologically scarred because I’m too quiet to assert myself. I don’t want to remain the undesirable sister because I don’t have the looks to back up the brains.

I wanted to be someone who can leave a good impression, to touch other people’s lives (in a good way) and be a good influence on some poor sap. I want to be someone who can hold her chin up in a room full of people because I matter.

Cute Character Happy Businessman Riding On Rising Arrow Dynamic by Prakairoj
“Image courtesy of Prakairoj / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

With The Confidence Project, I was able to cultivate myself into a likeable and personable individual. 

Does it mean I groomed myself as a poser? I don’t think so.

You see, the things I listed down on that organizer are stuff I wanted to accomplish. Similar to a bucket list, these things are stuff I wouldn’t be caught doing or even dream of accomplishing years before I wrote it. They are:

  • be a good English speaker
  • be eloquent (at least in an average way)
  • be edgy (fashion/style-wise that fit me)
  • be presentable in both looks and manner
  • be a good public speaker
  • be more outspoken in a tactful way
  • be a good listener and advice-giver
  • be personable
  • be a genuine friend to deserving friends

With every item I ticked off that list, the more confident I become. I can see my accomplishments in black and white . . . and it felt good.

From a timid girl with a severely bad case of acne and lank black hair, to a woman who has multiple ear piercings, fashionable cloths and is not afraid to dye her hair blonde or fire-engine red — the Rose Min of today is a very different person from the one older acquaintances knew. But I’m still me. I’m just more assertive and more confident.

I greatly benefited from the transformation as I worked my way through that list. I never thought it possible from the start, but I made it happen. It is because I have a goal.

  • I want to be confident.
  • I want to be  someone — not just anyone.
  • I don’t want to always be the underestimated individual in the room because I don’t look the part.
  • I wanted to prove that I can be someone with a voice . . . a voice that I’m using right now to empower other people who were or are like me.

So there you go, folks — the story no one believes (or want to believe). If I could only go back in time, capture everything on video and create a montage to support my story, I would. Alas, that’s not possible this time. Maybe in fifty years, it might.

Anyway, through it all, there’s a lesson to take home from my story: If I was able to succeed in The Confidence Project, I’m sure anyone can too. It’s because every living thing in this world can change and evolve for the better.

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