On being a self-confident dumbass

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I love my emoodicon ring.   I have the kitteh AND the robot, which is really fortunate since my moods tend to run all over the place faster than I can figure them out.  My friend from London once said (after flying to San Francisco, performing at the Great American Music Hall two nights in a row and then going out to dinner with a big group of us) that she was absolutely shattered.  I didn’t fly anywhere, but damn I feel the very same way. 

I want to write (online and off) about so many things from the weekend, but just thinking about the task of moving my fingers over the keyboard makes me sleepy.  I found out at the last minute this morning (because I don’t check my email enough!) that all us BlogHer workerbees get a work from home free pass today, so I’m camped out in my living room with two computers, a latte from Peet’s, open windows and the sound of my neighbor practicing the violin.  I hope that one doesn’t move away before I do.

At the BlogHer conference in 2006 I met Karen Walrond and she gave me my first ever (and really only ever) paid writing job over at Blogging Baby (now Parent Dish).   She opened up so many opportunities to me, but she also did something else for me; she told me that I am beautiful.  For whatever reason I have struggled (understatement) with my self confidence all my life.  Partly I am terrified of coming across as conceited.  I’m constantly looking at myself and seeing failure, ugliness, ineptitude, and awkwardness.  I still beat myself up over something I accidentally said to someone else TWENTY years ago.  I set such impossibly high standards for myself that there was no chance of me ever feeling comfortable about how I am in the world.  It’s been an excruciatingly slow process, but I’m finally getting over it and embracing the parts of me that I used to hate.  It’s exhausting to be mean to yourself all the time.  Seriously.  Over the past couple of years, Karen has made a huge difference in my ability to be kind to myself, just by being kind to me.  This weekend I saw her in the hotel near the elevators with her camera around her neck.  I want to shoot you! she said.  I said, Will you do it right now?  Because I’m totally overwhelmed and done. She laughed and said, Not SHOOT you, shoot you — I want to photograph you.  I’m doing a project on beauty and I have to include you. 

I don’t remember the rest of the exchange because I was too busy trying to not cry. 

The next day we caught up with each other and dashed off between panels to a room with a good window where she took my photo.  I was hung over and tired and hadn’t eaten in too long and had zits all over my face, but for once I totally didn’t care

She asked me what makes me happy, and after a moment I said what had immediately come to mind: Finally having a little self-confidence.  Because, while it’s true that there are a lot of happy things around me that I can point to and say: that, that makes me happy, finally starting to love myself and be my own friend is making all those "thats" magnified.  Feeling good about myself is brightening the overall picture.   I totally recommend it for anyone considering. 

All that said, a couple of things happened this weekend that made me feel like a complete and total dumbass.  It’s a lot less terrible, though, to find myself thinking that I’ve done something stupid as opposed to thinking that I am stupid.   It’s a small difference.  And an immeasurable one.

16 thoughts on “On being a self-confident dumbass

  1. NOTCALMDOTCOM'S MOM

    I know I’m your mom and all that, but really, I’ve never understood your lack of self-confidence issues. Everyone I know that knows you thinks you are smart and funny and beautiful and completely courageous. It’s about time you realize your worth, child. Time’s a wasting – you’ve got shit to do!

    Reply
  2. regan

    oh my, I think you are just beautiful! You were so well dressed and put together looking all weekend. I was very jealous.

    And now I sound like a weird stalker freak. sorry.

    Reply
  3. Chookooloonks

    Dude, you’re so totally beautiful. And here’s the proof:

    I was talking to Kristin Darguzas about this project a couple of weeks ago, and telling her who I thought I’d like to photograph, and at one point, I said, “You know who I’d really like to shoot?”

    “Jenijen,” she immediately said.

    I was surprised: “Yes! How did you know?”

    And her response? “How could you not?”

    So, my beautiful friend, that’s proof it’s not just me who thinks you’re beautiful. 😀

    Thanks for letting me shoot you. I’d love to do it again sometime — maybe next year?

    K.

    Reply
  4. Melanie

    OMG–I think we were separated at birth. Except that you look about 10 years younger 😀 And everyone is right about you being beautiful–you sort of sparkle with it, which means that you must be one of those people for whom it’s more than just skin deep. It was great to meet you at BlogHer!

    Reply
  5. Dawn

    Awww, how sweet that your mom left a comment. That sounds totally like something my mom would do. Heck, I’d probably do the same thing for my kids. I guess it’s universal. And you are totally prettiful, Jenifer! Not only that, you have the daintiest feet and can wear the cutest darn shoes!

    Reply
  6. jenijen

    um, jeez you all. you know how to make a girl feel good. i should say that when i talk about beautiful, i’m not talking so very much about looks. you know? it’s hard to explain.

    i so totally love you all. you’ll never know how much this stuff helps right at this very difficult moment i’m having over here offline.

    xo

    Reply
  7. jen downer

    you, jen, are not just beautiful… you are SOOOOOOOOO beautiful!!!!
    how i feel about you = i felt instantly drawn to you when i met you. then i started reading your writings, and i have been consistently blown over by your way with words. you are able to express yourself in a way that lets people know how cool you are, AND makes them totally relate to you. and now… i love you! i know there is a lot more to get to know about you, and i look forward to doing so over time. you are so special., j. i am thankful to have you in my life. beauty.

    Reply
  8. Ashley

    I am glad that you have gotten to that point – it is my goal to get there. I didn’t really realise that other people beat themselves up about something that happened 10 years ago and looked at themselves to see failure, ugliness, and ineptitude.

    Reply
  9. nina

    “Because, while it’s true that there are a lot of happy things around me that I can point to and say: that, that makes me happy, finally starting to love myself and be my own friend is making all those “thats” magnified.”

    Yes, that’s it exactly. Beautifully put.

    Reply

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