For years, I struggled to find both my style and to find my voice. In a world stage full of powerful women, I feared that I would always be stuck in the audience, only able to cheer them on from afar.
I won't lie and say that my confidence level isn't a work in progress. I get lots of moments throughout the day of self-doubt and anxiety. I can go from laughing and having a great conversation to running away and wanting to be alone in my thoughts within minutes. Earlier, I opened up about my struggles with social anxiety; however, I don't define myself by these ailments. I know that I am strong enough to push past the low points, even when it doesn't seem like it in the midst of the moment.
Over the years, I witnesses how my social anxiety coupled with an innate introvert personality has held me back from opportunities in life; working hard behind the scenes and never getting recognition because I wasn't strong enough to tell people about my accomplishments.
I wasn't bold. I didn't stand out. Nobody knew what I was good for and I was too timid to tell them.
One day, I woke up and realized that I had too many gifts to stay hidden. If I'm still breathing, I'm still full of purpose and I needed to break out of my shell to actualize that purpose. After more than two decades of biting my nails and memorizing the square patterned tiles on the floor, I picked my head up and decided that I wanted to be seen for who I really am, without fear.
While the amygdala and hippocampus in my brain don't always agree with each other or my intentions, I have been learning how to master the outward appearance of being confident. I've surrounded myself with a lot of extroverted and well-liked people, hoping that some of their mojo would rub off on me and it worked. It's going to sound super lame and I can't believe that I'm actually admitting this, but I've had to mimic some of the socially-awesome extroverted tendencies of my friends in order to push myself out of my timid and introverted shell. Things like holding long eye contact, asking follow up questions and going out of my way to compliment someone may not be native to me, but have become normal parts of my daily interactions and now feel natural.
One of the most powerful lessons that I've learned when it comes to being bold is the power of appearance. For me personally, figuring out my fashion style has shaped me into a more confident person. Instead of blending in with the latest skin-tight trends, I've opted for accessories and well-crafted pieces that show the personality that I want to portray.
Trust me, I've tried so hard to follow the trends; however, I get left with the feeling like I'm just copying the popular girl and doing a horrible job at it.
Instead of feeling insecure by copying what others are doing, I take time to shop with small businesses or those with unique, limited stock pieces. While sometimes the outward appearance is only a facade, it usually translates to me feeling more bold on the inside.
A recent discovery of the brand, Double Clutched has been helping me portray boldness to the world. On low days, like days when I pretend to be listening to music in my silent headphones, nothing boosts my confidence more than thoughtful compliments from strangers. While walking downtown with my Tan African Print Fold Over Clutch, I got stopped so many times from women wanting to touch my clutch and know where I got it from. Even though it is something external, little things like that are just what I need sometimes to get through the day.
Cheryl, the owner of Double Clutched has done an amazing job at creating statement pieces that can bring out a bold or fun personality of anyone. With cool prints like mud cloth, geo print and animal prints, along with the high attention to quality and detail, each clutch is like a work of art and a worthy investment. Plus the name, Double Clutched? How clutch is that? (Insert rimshot...ba dum tss)
My favorite items from Double Clutched
I know that I'm not the only person out there that could use an instant confidence booster. I am so down for being great together! If you would like to win this African Print Fold Over Clutch, simply like this Instagram post, comment with the hashtag #doubleclutched and follow Double Clutched on Instagram! Then we can be twinsies on these streets. Yessssss.
*So thankful for Cheryl of Double Clutched for partnering with me on this post! Make sure to support this woman-owned, black-owned business by shopping at DoubleClutched.com and by following her shop on Instagram.
What are your strategies for appearing bold and confident on your "off" days?