Last week's Bloggers Without Makeup Day was an enormous success. At last count, there were over 170 participants (see them all linked up on Jodie's blog) as well as other non-bloggers changing their Twitter profile pictures. It was even mentioned on the US Today Show!
It brought out a feeling of excitement - we couldn't wait to share our photos and see everyone else's - and absolute positivity. No one was nasty or negative; it was a group of supportive people who loved how beautiful everyone looked when they let their inner beauty shine through without a mask blocking any part of it. And it was a brave move for many people; some mentioned they never even let their closest friends see them without makeup, yet there they were revealing themselves to hundreds of others. And I think they were pleasantly surprised.
There have been a couple of articles written about the reasons behind its success here and here - both well worth a read.
Here at Writing Out Loud, I was astounded with the number of comments I received, all telling me I looked great (when I next need an ego boost, I'll be heading straight back to those comments!). So, firstly, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who was so lovely to me.
But what I want to talk about today is one resounding phrase that was used to describe me. Many of the commenters agreed about one thing: 'You have this real self-confidence, Megan'.
I have to say, I was shocked at that thought. Self-confident? ME? That is one phrase I would never use to describe myself.
Self-confidence is one of those things that so many people, myself included, aspire to. And my lovely commenters have made me realise something: maybe I'm there. Or, at least, closer. Let me share with you how I got to where I am...
I was a painfully shy child. I would rather sit with my Mum and Dad than play with other kids, in case I wasn't 'good enough' to play their games. I was teased a lot right throughout school, so I tried to keep a low profile and not make myself noticed. Sometimes you can't help but believe what your peers tell you, and when that message is that you are not worth their time, it reflects in your personality.
Then, at the age of 20, I began working at a place I would end up staying for nine years, until I quit after having Abbey. I worked as a Receptionist and ended up in Human Resources (to cut a very long story short). My job involved me taking charge, speaking to strangers all the time, presenting to the owners of the business and some other very intimidating people, conducting interviews for everyone from apprentices to senior managers.
This is where I learnt to act. I knew that to succeed in business, I had to give myself an air of confidence. It wasn't easy; every time I picked up the phone or headed into the boardroom, and especially when I conducted any interviews, I was nervous. My heart would race and I felt like running in the other direction, but I had to remind myself that I could do it, that my ambition depended upon this moment. I couldn't feel confident, so I put up an act instead.
I think that if you put up an act for long enough, you can even manage to convince yourself. I reached the point where people would tell me they were impressed with the way I presented myself - looking straight into their eyes, with a smile and a handshake. I've stuck with that and now, when I meet new people socially, I'm happy to initiate conversations and have a chat.
Maybe it's time to believe that I've reached a good point, where I am comfortable with who I am and I'm not too fussed what people think*.
So, Jodie, thank you for giving me the chance to realise this. xx
(*Disclaimer - MOST of the time, that is; surely everyone has their moments).