Thursday, March 22, 2012

Evolution of MY Self Confidence

The last few days I've been mulling over the topic of feminism and self confidence. The mulling was triggered by Girl Gone Child's post on her experience of finally accepting feminism, and then again with Gala Darling's post about self confidence, and then again this morning when I read Rock N Roll Bride's post about the art of self confidence.
I figured these were signs that I needed to address the inner issues I have with confidence and being female.

When I was younger I was a tom boy. I loved playing in the dirt, catching bugs, riding my bike, playing sports and competing with the boys. When I lived in off base military housing all my friends were boys and I didn't have a problem keeping up with them. Most of the time I felt like an equal but when I was about nine years old everything changed. Another girl moved into the cul-de-sac. She was not a tom boy. She wore pink dresses, didn't like to play sports or catch critters and all the boys acted different around her. Then they started treating me different. I wasn't invited to play kickball anymore, I was left behind on bike rides around the town, I was laughed at and teased for not acting like a girl. 

This was the start of my insecurities. It was carried into my teenage years by constantly being treated like a burden by father's ex-wife. She put me down constantly and limited the "toys" and clothes I was allowed to have. Things I loved that were considered "better for boys" (like a moped my dad fixed up and I loved to ride EVERY DAY) got taken away. I felt like being a girl was a punishment.

In high school I worked harder at being intelligent, strong and having fun then on my appearance. I fought to be considered equal to the males and I wrote about this in my 'zine. But inside I was confident with the person I was but not in the woman I was. It was a sad contradiction now that I think about it.

When Brian and I met back in 1999 (at 19 years old) my wardrobe consisted of tee shirts and jean. I kept my hair down and dyed it every now and then but never really "styled" it. I was comfortable with who I was in my head, but not who I was in my skin.Before him I had only had a couple boyfriends and was always shocked when a guy would actually be into me. I never felt like I was good at being a girl.
I've never been into fashion. I didn't like wearing dresses and didn't care much for brands most my life. No one taught me how to wear makeup or how to do my hair. I had to learn it on my own and still at 31, I'm not that good at it.

But Brian changed everything for me.
He made me feel beautiful and told me I was for the first time in my life.
Being called beautiful for the first time is a powerful moment in a woman's life.

It took time for my confidence to evolve.  After I had Hayden and had lost all the pregnancy weight plus an extra 25 pounds I had changed the way I shopped, dressed, put on makeup and styled my hair without realizing it. I did a photo shoot for the first issue of my magazine and when looking at the photos it hit me. At that moment I looked at a picture of myself and knew I was starting to be comfortable with being a woman.

Being on stage in front of people isn't an easy task for someone who's not comfortable with how they look. I counteracted that lack of physical confidence with a confidence in our music and talent. But it translated into my stage presence. I didn't move around a lot and couldn't engage with the crowd as I should of.

When my band Shovelfist first started I wore tee shirts and baggy pants.
 Here's a picture from Shovelfist in 2001.

 When  .bipolar. started playing shows I wore tee shirts and jeans.  
Here's a pic from 2005. 

After a year or so of playing shows here in Vegas, I decided to try something new and flaunt my femininity. I pushed myself to do something I wasn't necessarily comfortable with.  At a show last year I wore a short skirt, a tank top, fishnets and high heels. A brand new thing for me completely. To my surprise I felt great on stage in the new get-up and got more free drinks than I knew what to do with. 

This is a pic from that show. 

Now, I almost always dress up for shows. I have better confidence on stage and I've gotten more compliments on my interactions with the crowd more than ever before which in turn makes me feel like a better front person. 

I still have my every day bouts with confidence but I've come a long way from where I was even 3 years ago. 
It took love, pushing myself to do new things, and wanting to do it for myself that got me here.

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