Who has it?
I certainly don’t.
I haven’t had it since I was about 10 years old. Yes it has improved as I have got older, but it’s yet another thing my lovely, considerate anxiety has a hold of.
So why do I have self-confidence issues?
Well, I started changing physically at the tender age of 10 and had no idea what was happening to me, to the point I thought something was horribly wrong.
Eventually I opened up to my Mum who reassured me this was quite normal and this would be happening every month until the next change happened.
However I didn’t want anyone to know it was my secret and at 10 it wasn’t exactly something you talked about on the school playground.
Suddenly hormones and odd emotions were hitting me and my appearance and the body I had known quite happily for 10 years was changing.
I hated it. I didn’t want these changes.
I was already tall for my age with huge, clown feet. Why on earth did I need more to add to the mix?
I couldn’t do anything to stop it, so I decided to hide it all. I would wear makeup to cover up spots and would wear the biggest baggiest clothes I could find as not to show my body off.
As a child, our clothes were connected to our age and this was me probably until about the age of 14 (I personally thought a size 14 was connected to your age).
Wearing stuff that was miles too big for me, just to hide my changing body. I hadn’t a clue.
I had eyebrows the size of caterpillars, a fringe that was so thick it needed garden shears to tame it, and a no self-confidence at all.
I would wear my hair up all the time as I didn’t know what to do with it when it was loose, and wear make-up so thick that sometimes I looked like I had bathed in orange Tango.
I so wanted to be like the other girls who seemed so confident, pretty and had it together.
They knew what they were doing, whereas I felt like the stubborn weed amongst the beautiful flowers.
None of the boys were interested in me, and to be honest I don’t blame them. I was the “intermediary”, the one who was friends with the pretty girls and could be the go-between.
However, things started to change when I was about 15 or 16 as this is when more of my peers started to change and develop too. I started to feel more comfortable and I started to care more about what I did and how I looked.
The eyebrows still hadn’t been addressed by then though.
Through 16 to 18 I actually started to wear make-up that suited me rather than continuing my “Oompa-Loompa” look.
I started working for a clothes company that actually let me learn about fashion and wear clothes that flattered my shape.
I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time, which I still do 14 years on, and dyed my hair. I also started getting more male attention, which I hadn’t a clue what to do with.
I was once approached at a bar by a man who asked if he could buy me a drink. The drink arrived, I took it and said “Thanks”, then went back to join my friends.
However in those 8 years I had grown up, I had learned from mistakes and I was suddenly caring about how I looked, smelled and dressed. It was a gradual process, but the small steps I made helped to where I am today.
So how I look today is how look.
I admire the people who love their bodies, whatever their shape or size, and just get up and go without worrying about what they look like. I think deep down whoever we are, we still all care how we look, smell and are perceived by others on the outside.
Were just all on different levels of self-confidence?
So my self-confidence issue 22 years on:
People will read this and say “Don’t be silly”, because I have said it to so many other people when they’ve put themselves down over their looks etc.
I know that as my daughter grows up I’m going to have to quash some of these anxieties, as I don’t want her to have them.
However if I could go back in time now and give my 15 year old self some guidance, it would be to go sort out the caterpillars above my eyes and to say “No” to my Mum about my bushy fringe!