This morning we went to buy my son some shoes. We had arranged with the manager of Clarks to go in at 8:30 am before opening time. The heating had been put on for us, the shop was quiet with no chatter, no tills, no bleeps – just the gentle sound of a pigeon cooing through the air vent! My son was noticeably so much more relaxed than usual and, for the first time in a while, actually managed to choose a pair of shoes!
Me . . . I was relaxed for the first 10 minutes but then my head started to buzz. I guessed it must be the flourescent lights but I didn’t say anything. 9:00 came and my husband needed to go to have his haircut. I didn’t feel so safe without him there but I persevered with the shoe buying with the buzzy feeling in my head. By the time I came to pay I realised I didn’t know the pin for the card my husband had left with me. And my head was so buzzy I didn’t even know which way to put the card into the machine! I hadn’t bought the paperwork I needed to download off the computer and I certainly didn’t have a phone with all my life’s details on it! I was only buying a pair of shoes!! But of course this isn’t about the shoes – it is about my feeling of total lack of confidence and what it is to feel wave after wave of inadequacy sweeping over you because you don’t think others will accept your sensitivities.
Finally before leaving I told the manager about the lights and how I was feeling completely phased. She said she remembered from when I had been in before and had meant to turn some lights off for me.
When I got home the feelings of inadequacy were still deep inside myself and I thought ‘When will I find my confidence?” Then I thought maybe the question should be “What is my confidence?”
My confidence is my willingness to vulnerable. I can’t do the perfect interaction in a shoe shop. The best I can do is to say “Look, this hard for me. The lights are hard, the sounds are hard, the smells are hard, the textures are hard, the feelings are hard!”
That is the only place where I can meet someone in a challenging environment. They may never know what I find easy in life, what I excel at. They may never see me shine but my confidence runs deeper than that.
I only need to be vulnerable and people will see the real me. I only need to be real for the connection to be meaningful.