Just yesterday I was writing an email, explaining to a friend how I gained a lot more confidence in myself when I turned thirty. I also mentioned that although I do find more of it (confidence), and more often, it does still suddenly seem to disappear. It’s as if I just walked into a room, with a coffee in one hand and an amusing story I just read in the other, in mid-dialogue with Confidence herself… “You’ve got to read…” and then I look up and there she is. Confidence. Packing up her bags on top of the bed, tears in her eyes, lips quivering, yet certain…“I’ve just had enough…this isn’t working…I’m moving on…you probably won’t ever see me again.”

I’ve been through this routine before. She always comes back…at least she always has up to this point. I imagine the feeling is similar to being a parent with a small child, when making a harmless remark such as “don’t eat those gummy bears before dinner,” blows up into a heated exchange about power. “You always just tell me what to do! I don’t need you! I’m leaving!” the child may say.

As the parent you watch, probably with a slight smirk, as that child zips up their backpack, grabs their neon yellow plush dinosaur and walks out the door…ready to move on.

The inevitable is bound to happen…the child will surely turn back around and return home once he/she reaches the end of the street- returning head down, apologetic, and humbly vowing to never do that again.

But does a smidgeon of fear creep in to that parent’s mind the moment the child does walk out the door?

Is there a faint moment of uncertainty when you realize that what you just held so dearly has now moved beyond your immediate grasp?

That’s the state I’m in now. Confidence just up and vanished…and fear has crept on in.

I never know what to do in this situation. So I just laid my head on a pillow, took a long nap, and hoped Confidence would be there smiling at me when I awoke.

She wasn’t.

Maybe I lied in that email.

Maybe Confidence isn’t around more now that I’m thirty – and finally look old enough to buy alcohol.

Maybe Confidence just dresses more boldly, seems taller because she wears heels, and is able to make more of a statement when she arrives.

Maybe Confidence just seems more prominent because those moments when she is in my grasp are more punctuated, more relevant, more like a dance than a walk.

But, damn Confidence.

Where is she when I need her?

When I feel like I’m on the verge of a big decision?

When I’m here at my computer alone, seemingly typing into oblivion at a quarter past midnight?

Don’t misconstrue this. I have a caring and loving wife, who can at times sense my unease and give me reassurance. But that’s not quite the same thing.

That response is a given. That response is expected.

Confidence is the unexpected.

Confidence isn’t words, but emotion.

Confidence is excitement you feel all the way down through your fingertips and toes.

Confidence can’t simply be summoned.

I’m not sure where Confidence is now, but she’s walked farther from the edge of the street today and I can’t quite make out how far along into the horizon she’s vanished.

I want Confidence back so that maybe she can lead me through another performance that’ll hopefully end in applause.

I need Confidence back, so that when the applause subsides, she can look at me with a glimmer in her eye, wink and ask “What’s next?” – because she says things like that… and without her I don’t really know.



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