For a lot of teenagers, there’s nothing they want more than a shiny new car for their 16th birthday. Or at least, a shiny new piece of plastic that allows them to legally drive. Me on the other hand? I wanted absolutely nothing to do with driving—I loved the company of my parents as chauffeurs, and I never felt embarrassed by their presence. Most of all, I feared the power and responsibility of maneuvering a very expensive toy on the roads (especially with all the inattentive drivers who spend more time looking at their phones than their rearview mirrors). One of the first times I drove with my mom on a permit to obtain the required hours, my left leg twitched uncontrollably—and a lot. It felt numb by the time I made it to my destination! That’s how scared I felt.
There my dad stood patiently, at the top of the lush, grassy knoll of our backyard in Washington state, holding it—the beast I feared so greatly: a pink, sparkly bicycle with flowers on the wheels and tassels flowing off the handlebars. Training wheels were nowhere to be seen… Fast forward ten minutes (a lot of angst and fear later) and I felt the exhilarating, flying feeling of riding a bike for the first time. The grin on my face stretched from ear to ear.
I’d like to think that confidence isn’t that different from riding a bike, that it can be learned. There might be fear leading up to it and perhaps even an unwillingness to try, but ultimately you can train yourself to love who you are through practice and patience. Imagine how much wider your grin would be if you could experience that for the first time. Yes, I’d like to think that confidence can be learned, but I haven’t proved it for myself. Yet. Continue reading “Hating Yourself Isn’t Fashionable”