I have spoken before about my hope that I won’t pass on my insecurities to my daughter. I have realised that everything I do in life is for her. She deserves the best. She deserves to have a strong mother who will guide her and teach her to be a proud and strong woman. Last week, I attended the Women’s Inspire Networking Event in City North Hotel, Dublin, and witnessed a room of 250 strong and powerful women who are creating a path for themselves. A path they have longed for, dreamed about, and are adament that those dreams will come true. I felt the energy in the room and admittedly I soaked it up, revelling in the desire to be more, to be powerful and to be successful. However, there is one thing that is holding me back. One important thing, which I hope my daughter will have in abundance when she is carving her own path as an adult, Confidence.
I sat in that room, full of inspiring and forward-thinking women, and felt the inward tug of my anti-social self pull me back down far too many times to talk to anyone. A networking event without the networking is somewhat redundant. I gave myself a pat on the back when I approached Victoria Mary Clarke for all of fifteen seconds, told her who I was, what I did and handed her my business card. I failed to leave a lasting impression on her and sure enough I imagine my business card is forgetfully sitting in amongst a hundred other cards never to be remembered. I failed to engage with someone who may potentially have helped me in my writing career. A lost opportunity, among a sea of opportunities.
For too long, I have sat on the sidelines and listened, blended into the walls and left the path open for others to make the good impression. What good is it for me to blend into the crowd and not be remembered?
It’s very easy for me to sit here at the kitchen table, tap away at the keys and write my thoughts down. It’s very easy to be somewhat anonymous and hidden behind my blog. What good will that do for me if I want to be remembered, if I want to be noticed and called upon? How will any of that help my writing career?
I swore that I would be stronger. For my daughter, if not for me. If I am to give her the life I want her to have, I must step out from behind the curtain and declare that I am here. I watched women at Women’s Inspire proudly step out from their comfort zone and shine, share life stories and aspirations. I watched as they embraced the audience and took their attention. These are the women who made contacts that will be worth more to them than ten years salary.
I find it difficut to talk to others. I hate talking about myself or what I do. I lack the confidence to be proud to shout from the rooftops that I’m a writer, now an award winning writer at that. I sink into my seat and let the world talk around me. What good does that do me? How will my confidence ever grow unless I step out into the limelight?
My confidence, or lack thereof, holds me back. I write well. I am strong. And I have an opinion. But who will know unless I tell them.
I naievely thought that becoming a mum would empower me, make me stand tall as the mother of my world. It hasn’t turned out like that. A natural parental confidence has eluded me and there are days when I’d rather stay indoors and live on the internet rather than make friends or meet colleagues. My daughter has more confidence than me. She is the type of child who hugs the waiter in our favourite restaurant because he gives her a lollipop or graciously thanks the shop keeper and tells them what we are going to do that day. All the while, Momma Bear shimmies away to a safe distance waiting for A to run back to me.
I had two revelations at the Women’s Inspire Event:
1 – I am a strong, powerful woman who will be heard
2 – I am a conscientious and talented writer who will be read
Admittedly, it feels a bit self-serving and egotistical to write those words out, but if I don’t believe them then who will? Why don’t I take A’s confidence with me? She is, after all, a part of me. I don’t recall ever having the confidence of a three year old. I don’t want her to lose that part of her. I need to be an example to her, to show her that she can be powerful and successful but most importantly confident.
If I am ever to be successful as a writer the world has to be told. I will find that confidence thanks to Women’s Inspire. I will keep that confidence thanks to my daughter. Chances are at the next event I may run my fingers along the wall for comfort for a while but I promise that there will be a day when I am standing in the center of the room.