How I Made False Confidence; A Possum's Guide
“90% of life is confidence. And the thing about confidence is no one knows if it's real or not.”- Maddy Perez, Euphoria
A couple weeks back I was having a casual conversation with one of my martial arts peers. At the time, this was an oddly rare thing to happen since most of the interactions we had where on studio time and about martial arts. But we just so happened to have built up enough small talk points in the social bank to add up to some quality talk.
We had a conversation that revolved around how we deal with compliments and how they can relate to our drive. My peer noted that he doesn't let the compliments fill his ego (though he appreciates their sentiments). He also doesn't let the opinions of others (negative or positive) reflect directly to his skill. He simple works hard for himself, and lets that speak. Admirable.
I, on the other hand, was not so eloquently spoken....
"I thrive on positive affirmation. I eat that shit up!" Were my exact words (if not, then something very similar)
I'm grateful this got a chuckle out of him, because his next question sent me down my mental spiral. He asked me "how come"? As in why I fed off it so much? The positive affirmation. He didn't see the reason for it, further explaining that I seemed like a very confident and purposeful person.
And just like my martial arts friend, I appreciated the sentiment but refused to let it inflate my head, because the reality is that I'm actually a very skittish and anxious person. I am almost the definition of it. Far from "confident" and "purposeful" as he described.
(omg this is such a trash performance but it's the only up-to-date one i got)
Often times I describe myself as a Possum, The feral animal. Capital "P" Possum. They're a very miss guiding creature- They seem very furious, grimy, brutal even. To the general public a possum seems like the type of animal you would not want to fuck with. They are to be feared and respected from a far. That's a very good public defense reputation! Because Possum's are actual very skittish, anxious, dare I say jumpy animals. All bark, no bite. Feral but friendly, And most importantly- will claim to have rabbis but actually doesn't. Its favorite defense machines is burping, farting, or stroking out with a panic attack, before using their very capable sharp teeth. I am a Possum.
I'm not sure how I picked up the allure of confidence; How I became the very misleading Possum. Was it hereditary? Environmental? Again, I'm not sure... Honestly I think it comes from my aloofness, which is an odd thing coming from a self proclaimed "aloof" (Do you see the irony?). I just go about most of my day unaware of other peoples reactions to my overly energetic personality. I seemly don't have the capacity in my brain to really bother with what they think of it. I could hold the attention of a room no sweat, whilst making an ass out of myself. But I couldn't care less as long as it was truly and genuinely me. I suppose that sort of aloofness, or ignorance, comes across to others as confidence. Because why else would this girl do a silly dance in the middle of a sparring match if not for her confidence in combat?
And yet, I have no confidence in combat. Or my martial arts skill. In my professional work. My personal hobbies. Even in this blog...
I don't know if I'm good enough... even Mediocre at best. My space cadet personality saves me by providing the false identity that I know what I'm doing but honesty? I got shit for brains. I question (almost everyday) whether or not I deserve to have gotten this far.
Possums are a very anxious animal. Although they go about their days some-what aloof to their furry forest friends, they are always in destress thinking about the world's dangers... and what that means for them.
Did you know? That Possum's can have up to 20 babies in a litter? But just barley half of them will survive? From that point they will carry their babies in their pouches than their backs?
That's a lot of pressure. And yet, so natural to them. That's all they know. Don't worry about the others around you, cause your world is quite literally on your back.
I relate to that.
I like to think I work very hard ward in everything I do. I like to think I put out work worthy of my profession, my peers, my students, friends, family. I like to think that- but my brain, heart, and body would strongly disagree. Because I am aloof. I am shit for brains. I am kind of spacey. I don't know if I'm doing a good job. If my skill is competent. If I'm worth all the energy and effort put into me. Because I am just as aloof to the outside world as I am to the inside.
I don't know.... But I hope to one day. Till then? Just fake it till I make it.
At the end of our conversation, my friend assured me that I am a talented martial artist. He simply never told me because he thought I knew. And of course, I didn't (ha!)- So I'm glad he told me :)
Written 2/28/22 In bed after a long day of work and teaching martial arts along side my friend <3
TLDR: 90% of my confidence is a facade, shaped by my ignorance of other peoples perception of me. A double edged blade- because while I am unsure of other peoples value of me, I also don't know the value of myself. This uncertainty leaves a massive void in my mind for my anxiety to take shelter. Everything hurts. But it's fine.