When I was in grade 8 I found myself in a situation where I had to read out loud in class. I promptly turned Valentine’s Day red and struggled the entire way through. My nerves were shot. Bad memories of grade 1 came flooding back.
I was a very bad reader who took audible breaths every time I spotted even a hint of a comma.
From that embarrassing day in grade 8, I dreaded the teacher calling out my name to read. So, I went to a speech therapist for help who said something very profound to me: “Just pretend you are Oprah”.
Basically, act confident and cool, even though it might feel like your stomach is filled with butterflies. Puking butterflies.
I am a firm believer in the fake. Not fake goods, but fake confidence. And lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about faking it. And this often means not to overthink things. Just go in and do something without worrying too much about the if, ands and buts.
(Note: this doesn’t apply to things like job interviews, getting a tattoo or playing with fire)
When we think about faking we automatically think about being two-faced and lying to others, right? But this is not necessarily the deal. Faking confidence is a way for you to push yourself out of your shell, to try something you wouldn’t normally. And your best armour, is fashion. Costume and character.
I now often challenge myself to dress like an imaginary character. Once I dressed like a Florida retiree, and on another occasion I dressed like Christmas:
According to my god of fashion wisdom, Leandra Medine of ManRepeller, style and confidence intersect. Pretending to be someone else (e.g. an art teacher, the hostess who gets to tell Naomi Campbell the restaurant is fully booked, a Tuscan-village fruit seller or a badass Wall Street banker), can be a form of escaping your own self doubt. Like a little holiday from your fears.
“Confidence is still difficult to reconcile — some of us have it, some of us don’t — but in my experience, if you fake it for long enough, it tends to come true. That’s kind of the thing, right?
No external variable, not a marriage, not a new handbag, not even really a job promotion, will meaningfully affect whether or not you experience confidence because that shit comes from a lot of tender, internal monologuing. But clothing does have a cool transformative quality and it can serve as an open window that initiates the flood gates,” says Leandra Medine.
Use your armour and fake it until sooner or later you trick yourself into believing you are confident. Fashion is kind of the fast food version of confidence.
Your internal monologue is the one you ultimately want to be targeting, so sooner or later you become so convinced that you’ll always look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Damn I’m hot’.