When I was in grade 8 I found myself in a situation where I had to read out loud in class. I turned beet 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. Particularly, faking it ‘till you make it. (Note to my boss: this, of course, only applies to my personal life.)
When we think about faking we automatically think about being two-faced and lying to others, right? But this is not necessarily true.
In a previous article, I explored the joys of being someone else (if only for a day). According to my god of fashion wisdom, Leandra Medine of ManRepeller, style and confidence intersect. Being someone else (an heiress to a Swiss chocolate fortune, 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 incredibly therapeutic. The way you dress can greatly determine your level of confidence on any given day.
“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.
Of course, your internal monologue is the one you ultimately want to be targeting. And I have actually found that being able to be at ease when you are alone is crucial. This has been my biggest confidence builder – especially in the last few years of my life. When you feel content being alone, be it strutting down the road in Swiss chocolate fortune heiress mode, or walking into a room where you know no one with the confidence of a ruthless Wall Street banker (god help them all), fashion elevates.
Sooner or later you become so convinced that even your internal monologue is saying: “bitch, please” to any and everyone who dares to mess with you.