How You Gonna Win If You Ain't Right Within?

I don't have a lot of confidence in myself. There, I said it.

I have dealt with this lack of self-confidence for my entire life. It has been at the forefront every action I've made and every decision I've chosen. It has been the driving force in relationships and has unfortunately been the fuel of my success (or lack of it). Every time I wanted to be in denial of the problem, it slapped me right in the face with next decision I made.

In high school, (whether I was aware of it or not), my lack of self-confidence was in full effect, and I didn't realize it until now. I was the type of student who hoped that the teacher wouldn't call on her to participate. I was so scared of having to talk in the class that I would try to avoid eye contact with the teacher when he/she was asking a question. It was ten times worse when I had to give a speech or presentation. I literally dreaded the day that I would have to speak in front of the entire class. When I was asked to speak in class, on one of those dreaded days, I would get tongue-tied and my answer or speech would not go as I planned. Whenever it was my turn to talk in class, I would literally practice what I was going to say because I knew I was prone to messing up.

Of course I was shy. Whenever I found myself in one of those rare instances where I would be in large crowds, I felt extremely uncomfortable. Thus, I was not the social butterfly in high school. I can count the number of friends I had on one hand, although I spent most of the time by myself. I remember going to the library during lunch to mask my fear of being seen alone with the want to finish my homework. Prom, which was supposed to be the peak of my high school career, was spent with me sitting down the majority of the time.

Why was I afraid to participate? Why did I isolate myself at prom instead of dancing the night away with my peers? Why was the idea of friends so aloof to me that I would literally shy away from it? I had an aha moment and came to the unfortunate conclusion that I did those things because I was afraid of rejection. Going through the process of inductive reasoning, I pondered, "Why was I afraid of rejection?". It is because I didn't feel like I was good enough to be accepted; therefore, I didn't have any confidence in myself. I was afraid that I would say a stupid answer in class. I was afraid that people would not like me for who I was. I was afraid that people would talk about me if they saw me sitting alone at the lunch table.

I was afraid of being myself.

It was only recently, during my second semester of college, that I became introspective and realized (with my boyfriend's help) that I did not have a lot of confidence in myself. It's important to note that I did not need my boyfriend, Matt, to figure this out. I am not weak-willed; I can come to my own conclusions about my life (*in my Joan Clayton voice*). However, it's also important to note that your partner is able to understand your flaws and help you to overcome them instead of using those flaws to take advantage of you, which is what most guys do.  Although Matt showers me with compliments and supports me in order to remind myself that I have a lot to be confident about, he knows that it's not enough; I have to do this for myself.

As with everything that I do,  I placed my issue in the general perspective of black women. I know that black women often put their issues on the backburner in order to provide for someone or something else. Black women have always been the supporters, backbones, therapists because they have been historically confined to neglecting themselves. That's what I was doing. I catered people's needs while neglecting my own.

But, I choose me now.

This summer, I've made it my mission to simply go through the seemingly effortless task of choosing DeAsia. I am letting go of all the toxicity in my life that was detrimental to my growth as a young woman. I've learned that I can't be authentic with people if I'm not true to myself, and I can't be successful if I'm not mentally healthy. Therefore, I am deciding to choose myself before everything in my life right now because I'm worth it.