"Me? Confident?" I think to myself. "Are they really looking at 'me'?"
It took me a very long time to figure out what exactly was going on. I couldn't understand why people kept seeing this shining cloud of strength and assurance surrounding me. When it hit, though, it was like a lighting bolt from above.
I walk with my head up, my shoulders back, and my spine straight. Of course inside I'm possibly cowering and trying to hide, but from all outward appearances I am aware and ready to face the world.
I wasn't always this way. I was painfully shy as a child. I hid behind Nanny's legs when introduced to new people. I bit my nails when asked to say something. I didn't want to be looked at, I didn't want to be noticed. I wanted to hide in my book and let the world pass around me.
And then I grew up. Slowly I shed that shell of silence but my books were ever my companions. My habit of being quiet to see how the people around me were going to react became more and more of an assist in making it through social situations. I could hang back a bit and see how things were going before I opened my mouth. I could find the safe zones. I laughed more and said more but I still wasn't the charismatic one. Inside I was still shy.
I ended up in marching band and NJROTC in high school. I had to learn to walk with my head up, with my back straight. I had to look like I had a clue about what I was doing. Add in an abusive boyfriend and it's really no wonder why I ended up in trouble so much. He hated that I was looking confident. It really didn't matter that I wasn't confident, it didn't matter that I was always terrified or trying to hide. I walked with purpose ... and that pissed him off.
I've come a long way from that girl. I still play the wallflower from time to time, it's helpful after all. Between the fact that I typically knit while wandering around various places and my more than 3 feet of hair though I'm not terribly invisible anymore. My name is Shadow but I no longer live in the shadows. I really do have a lot more confidence now but there will always be a part of me that wonders why other people envy me for it since that part is still hiding in the back of my brain, braced for the other shoe to drop. Luckily, with the love of my husband and beloveds, that part of me grows smaller and smaller.