My head lives in a constant bad-hair-day, I have horrible circles under my eyes and it looks like every pore on my face has decided to explode in a horrible pimple. And of course I’ve got nothing to wear.
But my boyfriend still tells me that I’m beautiful, my friends still make compliments on my style and a colleague of mine told me I had a nice make-up a few days ago.
I might not be at my best, but apparently I am not so horrible. So why do I keep seeing a monster in the mirror?
I know why.
It’s because I’m affected by the same illness that (almost) every girl I know has: it’s called chronic insecurity.
I kinda learned to accept this, I’m never going to be the Lena-Dunham-I’m-proud-of-how-I-look-like-whatever-that-means kind of girl, and I’m never going to be relaxed before an important presentation at work. That especially, even after successfully going through a PhD defense (in a few words: a 4 months-long hell in which you defend the thesis that you wrote after 5 years of lab experiments in front of a heartless jury), it always repeats in the exact same way:
“Oh my God I’m so nervous”
*shakes, looks around like an animal in a cage*
“I’m gonna cock it up completely, everyone will think I’m stupid”
*cigarette – coffee – cigarette*
“What if I forget what to say?”
“What if I can’t answer the questions?”
“WHAT IF I GET FIRED???”
Now, maybe that is just me because I’m not only queen of insecurity but also queen of anxiety but still, you get what I mean…
(In the end I always nail it, I wonder why…)
But! There is a big “but” (like my sister always says.Talk about literal translations from Italian…): with age comes wisdom, with hundreds of bad experiences comes the “fuck it” attitude and I actually realized that I learned a few lessons, a couple of do’s-and-don’ts, a handful of motivational self-inflicted thoughts that now that I am in my (early, mind you) thirties are helping me to cope with my insecurity much better than when I was younger.
I guess the main thing I’ve learned is accepting to be insecure. I just realized that it’s very normal to feel horrible, sad and worthless sometimes since being a woman involves a bunch of veeeery nice issues like hormonal storms, PMS, emotional eating (= emotional weigh gain) and bad-hair days. Accept it, in a couple of days you’re going to feel beautiful again (in the meanwhile, keep calm and use foundation).
The other very important thing I’ve understood, but that I’m still learning to master, is to never put your self-confidence in the hands of someone else. I know, it’s no big news. It’s what we’ve been reading in women’s magazines and what our moms have been telling us for years. It’s simply not easy and I’m still not very good at it. Sometimes I still need a girlfriend to say “that dress looks amazing on you” before being really convinced of a new purchase, I still need my boyfriend to say I’m beautiful to feel beautiful (BIGGEST.MISTAKE.EVER), I still need the words of appreciations from my superiors to feel good in my job. But I’m doing my best to change this.
Are you able to do that? Just feel good because you like it the way you are? Without doubts and fears and pressure to please everyone around you? If so, give me your recipe please 😉
And last but not least: I learned the little tricks that boost my confidence, even just for a few hours. Also this, old as the discovery of the wheel: I don’t know how many times I’ve read “wear red lipstick and sexy lingerie to feel confident”. But there is only one reason why it’s so obvious: it’s true.
For example, my bi-weekly visit to the beauty salon is more effective in lifting my mood than a therapist session. Going to the hairdresser (the one I love and trust, in Italy. All the others give me the most stressful time of my life) makes me feel instantly like a million bucks and wearing my favourite red lipstick is the best antidote to a very gloomy day. Basically, taking care of myself makes me feel way better. Some people see these things as superfluous optionals in their lives, for me it’s actually a necessity… And it works!
There, I talked enough. I wished that by the time I finished this whole pamphlet my pimples would be vanished, my skin would be as soft as the butt cheeks of a baby (there you have it, another literal translation from Italian) and my clothes would suddenly fit like they were especially tailored for me by Madame Coco Chanel in person.
But here I am still, with my bad-hair day and my blue under-eye circles.
I think I’ll have to be a little bit more patient.
In the meanwhile, there is always lipstick.