It has always been very important to me that I appear confident. As an awkward kid, teased for being “weird” and “loud” (among other things), it quickly became apparent that the only way I would survive would be to ensure that no one ever saw what got under my skin. Since those days of being tormented in school, I have developed a thick outer shell that lets nothing in – but also lets nothing out; meaning that while I am able to greet any sort of put-down or slur with poise (or at least without tears), I am also unable to allow anyone inside.
My impression – that is, my confidence – is my biggest shield and my biggest insecurity. The idea that someone might see a vulnerable side of me is scary and downright horrifying – it is something that I feel like I can never allow.
Recently, I have come to realize that this “act confident” I impose on myself causes me to alienate myself from those closest to me, because I don’t want them to see my vulnerability. Confidence, in and of itself, is hardly a negative thing. However, when it’s used to hide real emotions because you just can’t handle anyone seeing your hurt/love/fear/shame/envy…self-confidence can quickly morph into self-destruction. As I said to Steve, my greatest insecurity is my insecurity. It’s something that I can never let anyone see, because once they see, they’ll no longer want me.