Comfortable in My Skin


Self-description: Personality: I consider myself confident. I am comfortable in my skin


Recently my children asked to see photos of me when I was a child. (I only have a few that I pilfered from my parent) What a hoot! Wide grin, long chicken legs, mismatched clothes, boys sneakers, and BRIGHT red hair. But, as usual, the first thought that crossed my mind as I stared at the photo was “Oh, that hair of mine and I always thought I was one of the boys!" You see I never wore fancy party dresses or the perfect black patent shoes.

By the time I was in sixth grade, I hated my red hair. Today I adore my hair. But I battled for years, feeling like a flaming torch among beautiful swans and cute little ducks. While others thought my hair was an asset, I felt ugly with my curly red mess.

My hair has not been my only battle with self-confidence. I warred against my skinny athletic body, my tomboy nature, my loud voice, and my tendency to be bossy, my fierce independence and my hot temper. All of these are attributes that my grandmother promised me were blessings in disguise. I’m not sure that has proven true, but the battles are over all the same.

I remember the first time I realized I truly was a tomboy (of which I could have cared less prior to said realization). A friend pointed it out to me and I was embarrassed of my looks for the first time. The summer carnival was in town and I was allowed to go with a friend of mine. She was from Minneapolis and spent the summers in our small little town with her grandparents. She was miles ahead of me on fashion and makeup but she liked to hang out with me (now that I look back I really have no clue why, perhaps because all the boys liked me, but not that way, in the way that I could punch harder than them).

We had spent the afternoon filling ourselves up on sodas, popcorn and cotton candy, riding carnival rides, playing games AND being flirted with by all the carnival men. Well, she was flirted with; I stood beside her in my pink tube top, flat chested, and completely grossed out. She informed me that afternoon that I was cute, but needed polishing. She liked my hair up in a ponytail, but added that I needed to "fix" it throughout the day, as it was completely messy now. She also informed me that while my navy jogging shorts and pink tube top were cute, they were now dirty and I didn't even know it. (I remember this part vividly) I looked down at my pink tube top and realized that it was indeed dirty and I quickly turned it around so the dirt was now in the back and my front was now clean.

I was embarrassed of my clothing that day but I never struggled to feel confident in 'who I was'. I was fiercely independent, I did have a loud voice, I was skinny, I did have flaming red hair and I was a tomboy. I didn't focus on those attributes and my self-confidence never waned and I always tried to live up to my fullest potential. I didn't shrink back into the shadows when my clothes were not quite right and I didn't over compensate by overplaying my strengths. I just lived each day knowing I was comfortable in my own skin.

True and lasting self-confidence grows naturally when you become comfortable in your own skin. That’s not to say that self worth is rooted only in your appearance. Being comfortable in your skin includes being satisfied with your body image, your personality, your skills and abilities, your past, and even your limitations.

At almost 42 years of age, I can say that I am a confident woman, more so than that girl in a dirty pink tube top from years ago was. While I don’t necessarily exude self-confidence in every situation and every moment, I am comfortable in my own skin. For me the remedy is celebrating who I am! Obviously I am not perfect, and neither is anyone else. But my frame fits my capacity. My personality suits my intentions. My skills and abilities are in order. In fact, my past paved the way for my future and my limitations allowed other people to assist in my life. Now that’s something to celebrate!

As I think about the Blogher Conference I will be attending tomorrow . . . I realize that I am comfortable in my skin and will walk into any room with confidence and a smile and an open heart and mind. I'll be the one with red hair wearing a T-shirt, jeans and flip-flops. Because that is what my skin is comfortable wearing.

Can't wait to meet everyone!