a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies


Confidence and Telepathy

I cannot read minds.
This may sound like a relatively mundane revelation to you, but it was stunning to me, when I read it recently.
I’d heard it before, of course. I think my therapist or a friend said something similar to me, but I definitely needed a reminder. You see, I have confidence issues. Huge. Self-worth issues, what have you. Every time I do just about anything I’m mentally preparing the counter-argument to someone who thinks I should do things differently. Every time I take a few minutes off work to use the bathroom, on the walk back to the office I start mentally preparing how to defend my bathroom break to my boss. “Sorry boss, my stomach was bugging me,” stuff like that. Every time someone speed walks past me on the walk to the train (as many people do, because I’m short and have short legs and generally hate walking fast) I come up with something to say when they, of course, inevitably, shoot some smart comment at me for daring to walk slowly (I’ll note this has happened a stunning total of zero times). 
This was important though, because it reminded me that I cannot, in fact, know what people are thinking of me. In all likelihood the person speed walking past me hasn’t given me a second thought. Ditto for my boss when I’ve went to use the bathroom.
It’s the same thing in personal relationships though. I always worry that Klutzy is deftly not saying when she’s angry, and that of course I’m reading what she’s not saying correctly and she’s secretly hating me, despite the fact that our whole relationship is basically built on being honest and forthright with each other. It might take us a few minutes, but we always get there, and it’s never as bad as (or even what I) think it is.
Even with my friends I often worry about what they’re thinking, that they secretly hate me for x y z. It’s hard for me to remember that, if I were to reverse any situation, I wouldn’t hate my friends, or would forgive them, or what have you. I’m special, you see. I’m not worth that extra consideration. 
I’ve been trying to work on my confidence a lot, because it impacts everything. Trying to trust myself, and in turn work on trusting others. It’s not easy. But the silly revelation of the fact that I cannot read minds, that I cannot know what someone else is thinking, was huge for me. It’s important to remember you absolutely 100% cannot know what someone else is thinking, and most of the time, it’s important to trust them at their word. Cause in the end, really, what else can you do?
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Mere Confidence

In the last few weeks I've embarked on what I'm calling a Secret Project. It's one of those things where I'm worried if I talk about it will go the way of all my other projects, and it's important to me that it doesn't. I'll say it concerns my health and my confidence, and leave it at that.

But speaking of confidence, I have thoughts on that today.

To me, sometimes, confidence is a switch.

In reality it's something you build slowly, over time. It's built by quieting those voices, by replacing them with others. It's built by doing things, by feeling things. It's built in therapy, often. 

Occasionally, though, I find something happens in my life. It's like I've found the switch to a light in the basement and it just goes "flick."

And suddenly I am Thomas Fucking Fromhr. I am tall, confident, and can take on whatever the universe throws at me. Often, for me, it means I let a lot of that roll off my back. I let it slide off me, and stay still.

I've found a few meditative moments lately. I've been outside and had a free moment, so I sit down. I feel the cool air around me. I close my eyes and let my mind quiet, and almost immediately chastise myself for not doing this more often. I often find a fair bit of confidence in those quiet moments. When I can quiet my mind, the voices telling me I can't do X or Y, that I'm too A or B, they go quiet. All I'm left with is awesome, wonderful, in control me. 

I feel that way right now. Part of it was buying a new shirt today that makes me feel like a million bucks. Not the act of buying the shirt (though I won't pretend I don't enjoy that a bit) but a nice fitting, slimming thing. A thing that reminds you of who you are, even if the body doesn't fully cooperate right now, even if you look in the mirror the wrong way sometimes and see something you don't like.

Part of it was simply reading a good book, Anansi Boys. In it one of the characters in supremely confident. He's a God, after all, he should be. And in some ways it's wonderful to remember, to realize, what life will let you get away with if you ask, if you expect. It's amazing what comes to you, and I don't even mean in a law of attraction sort of way, when you have no doubt about it. 

How perfect life can be!

I need to feel like this more often. I need to find this switch, this little thing today that clicked in my head and left me without a doubt that I am powerful. That I am worthy. That I am able.


Saying Hello Around the Office and Confidence in Speech

When recently changing jobs I went from an office with 13 other people in it to working for a company that employs over 150 000 people. Not all crammed onto my floor, of course, but the number of people I interact with on a daily basis has increased a fair bit.

It's posed an interesting issue for me on a social interaction basis. Again, this is one of those things that I feel like I missed in school.

When do you say hi to people? Do I say hi to every person I was briefly introduced to in my office tour? For those long hallways, what's expected? A short, slightly loud conversation, asking how the person is, trying frantically to recall their name and something, anything about them? Is that too personal, too much? Is a simple "hi" enough? 

I find myself often copping out. Doing a smile and a nod if I catch their eye. Doing an anemic little mumbled "Hi" as I walk by with a wave that doesn't come above my waist. It's a cop out, truly. I worry about putting myself out, about saying hello confidently and the person…what? Not replying? Not wanting to talk to me? Somehow intimating my lack of worth and interest and responding appropriately?

When I explained this to my therapist her reaction, as it is many times, is sheer awe at how wrong I am about myself, how hard I am, how much I assume about others. She challenged me to say hello to everyone I walked by, loudly and confidently.

Shit's TOUGH, yo.

I've been doing it, though, mostly. Sometimes I get no reply. Sometimes I'm still too quiet. But I'm trying. Making an effort. Working on it. Shockingly, no one has looked on me with disgust that I dare speak to them.

I'm still not really clear though on what to do when you've greeted someone already that day and walk by them in the hall again. A hi again? The look away? The intent stare at the smart phone as an escape?

Seriously, awkward people, what the fuck did you DO before smart phones?!


Home and Confidence

I actually was intending to journal this morning, but my finger wandered over to the MarsEdit button, and here we are!

Hi. It's been a while, I know. I've been busy!

So, the move went well. And slowly. I took my time over Christmas moving things, culminating in getting the bed setup on New Year's Eve and spending that in my house. It was lonely and scary, to be frank, and I think the first time I realized what really living alone meant. But I slept in the strange bed, and the next day it wasn't quite so strange. It wasn't quite so lonely. I filled the house with music, with TV, with WoW. I set up fragrances, I baked, I cooked, I cleaned. 

Slowly, this strange place is becoming home. 

Besides that I'm changing other things, too. I'm cooking healthier meals. Bringing healthy lunches to work. I'm reaching out to people, seeing people. I'm going to the gym (though I skipped it this morning, shhhh). I'm getting to work earlier (partly because of my new train schedule) and getting more done, I find. I have more energy, and feel more confident about myself, and who I am.

My therapist spoke recently about confidence, about radiating that out, and a bit of how that confidence draws things to you. She said she could already see a change in me, and I could feel it too. I feel like good things are coming. Like I finally have my life on track, but I felt like a lot of it just happened to me. Like life just happened to me.

But she pointed out that isn't really the case. While there are obvious cases of dumb luck, for the most part the changes in my life are my decision, or because I've made a good impression on someone else, or something else I've done has put that into motion. She encouraged me not to pick that apart, but just to embrace the idea that my life is, in actuality, in my hands. In ways this is scary, since it means I am responsible. But it also means I have a say in it. I control what happens. 

And that's a good feeling.