I have a confidence problem. I’m not entirely sure I can even tell you when the problem began as I have worn tattered confidence for as long as I remember. It has shaped how I aged and how I face the world. It paints my humor with a bit of darkness and it systematically puts a brick between you and me.

I have been putting bricks between myself and other people for decades. This is a statement that I am certain surprises no one, and yet it still feels very sad to say it. However, I do want to be clear: there were tons of reasons why I became a single mom by choice that had nothing to do with my self-esteem.

But the fact that I remain single, that I believe that I will always be single, well THAT is 100% lack of confidence.

I have a very long way to go before I will ever believe someone would want to join forces with me forever. How do you climb out of the crater of lack of self-esteem and then hike to the top of the mountain of confidence? Where does such a journey even begin?

For me it needed to start with health. A year ago I felt like shit. I was completely depressed after the two failed attempts of trying to have another baby. My hormones still felt very out of whack and not yet normalized/ stabilized. My fatigue was crushing. I went to the doctor and discovered that for the first time in my life I had dangerous blood pressure levels and would need medication. I also discovered my weight was the highest it had ever been in my life.

Hearing the numbers freaked me out. Big time. The next day I joined a gym and decided I needed to make some changes. It has taken a long time, 13 months to be exact, but I finally reached my first big milestone: I am down 50 pounds.

The year+ has not been easy. It has been a very slow process and there have been times where things completely stalled out. The first thirty pounds took work, but the process was faster. I know I will never be a quick weight loss story and that is ok, as long as I just keep on keeping on. I must keep on.

Within the last 2 or 3 months I have felt the shift in my body – the shift of mass and water and organs. Suddenly pants were baggy or shirts that hadn’t fit in years were fitting again. That does something for confidence. It’s an achievement that is tangible.

A few weeks ago when I went to Mom2 I worked hard to push myself to be confident. I wore clothes that were more vibrant and fun. I paid attention to my hair and my makeup. I gave my appearance my attention. It felt nice to do this just for me. One night during the conference someone who I very much admire was talking about confidence and self-esteem. She quietly mentioned to me that I should have more confidence and while I know her intentions were absolutely golden, my heart sank a bit. It’s not easy to explain – “You have NO idea how far I have come!”

I have spent the last several years of my life hoping no one would notice me in public. Before going out to a work event I don’t ask my mom, “do I look great?” or even “do I look ok?” Instead I ask her, “I won’t be embarrassed in this, will I?” I cringe when people pull out their cameras for a group photo because it means I may get a glimpse of how the world actually sees me.

Having little to zero confidence means I have been ok being in the shadows. I am loud, fun, and boisterous in smaller groups, and really only if I feel like you aren’t judging me. Isn’t that awful? I don’t think about how other people look. It is so weird that I believe other people would spend energy judging or criticizing my appearance. That’s some bizarre-o, lop-sided vanity right there.

Where I am now is 50 pounds less than I was a year ago. I am experiencing a lift in the sails of confidence and I want to be able to keep this boat going. What is it going to take to make me believe I am a worthy person? No idea.

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