I am not very confident. People are often surprised to hear me say that, as I apparently come across as pretty confident, or maybe just loud, but much of that is bluster. And of course when I am writing right here on my blog I am hiding behind my computer. So while I have been told I give the impression of cool or what have you, I am actually wearing biscuit crumb scattered pyjamas and not feeling remotely funky.
Mind you, the fact that others perceive me as full of confidence and edgy cool gives me hope that those people with the posh lifestyle/gorgeous house/matching children blogs, are actually just photographing the only tidy corner of their slum, and they hired the children from a modelling agency to sit cleanly in the perfect pictures, while their own grubby urchins are creating chaos out of sight.
In my hurtle towards 40 I am determined to regain a bit of confidence. I have never had it in abundance, but I used to have a little more of a bulge in my self-confidence pocket. So where did it go? Well. Nowhere really, that is the thing, it must still be here somewhere under the nappies. I will admit that some of the problem is physical, I still weigh more than I am happy with, and much as it annoys me to be such a cliche, I am definitely more confident when I am a bit slimmer. I think that is a ‘look good, feel good’ thing, and I am addressing it, both by attempting to lose that buggering stone that lies between me and my happy weight, and by being more accepting of my physicality. I am getting older, I have lines and lumps and bumps that were not there before, and I am determined to learn to love them!
But more important to me than worry about a bit of flab at the top of my jeans, is my intellectual confidence is low. I like knowing things, and being able to discuss things, and understanding things. I like to have time to read the broadsheets and get a feel for what is going on in the world, or reading a bit of popular science book and getting excited about atoms. Time to read, and ability to understand is somewhat depleted since arrival of the non-sleeping one, but he is getting better at the nocturnal stuff, and as he improves, I hope so shall I! Also having an impact is that instead of going to work, and interacting with colleagues and customers alike in an intellectual or otherwise fashion, I spend most of my time with a 20 month old whose current favourite conversational gambit is ‘Got hair Mummy’. He is not massively up for a natter on the current fiscal situation, or where feminism should go from here.
I do sometimes write political or opinionated posts, but not often. Yet I am opinionated on something most days, but I fear that while I know all the words to several Peppa Pig episodes, I have lost my grip on my usually large vocabulary. I read a lot of blogs and articles of a political bent, and their casual use of long words, and specific terminology leaves me impressed and feeling a little lagging behind. I end up feeling like the small kid trying to talk to the grown ups.
I am 40 soon, I am going to stop listening to the monkeys in my head that tell me I have nothing interesting to add. I have plenty to offer, and I took my first big leap yesterday by agreeing to be part of a discussion panel at BritMums Live. I admit I am nervous. I spend more time these days singing the wheels on the bus at playgroup than discussing intersectionality in feminism. But the fact that the former takes up most of my time, doesn’t mean the latter can’t be a part of the mosaic of me. If even stay-at-home mums feel like their role disentitles them from having a valid view, how will we ever reach a point where it is a respected choice? I will not be at home for ever, and while I am, I am still me, still a whole person with views as interesting and individual as the opinions of those who are out in the big wide world fighting their corner, while I am at home doing battle with a tuffspot.
Right. Time I stopped pep talking myself publicly and put some clothes on…