Inspiration Friday

image via flickr by cdglove2fish

I used to be a lot tougher than I am today. I’ve always been quick-witted and more cynical than I probably should be, but I’ve lost some of my toughness over the years. When I was younger, I didn’t get embarrassed all that easily and I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind. I was blunt, to put it bluntly; sometimes for worse. I was far less worried about appearing foolish, or offending others. Even though my middle and early high school years were plagued with worries about social status, there was a more significant part of me that didn’t care what other people thought–friends, strangers, boys. I was more confident. I can recall many instances where I became the spokesperson for my group of friends–the one who asked questions in class or at customer service counters when no one else seemed willing. I used to be just fine when it came to searching out new information, no matter how much my ignorance on certain topics showed. 

I think being in a relationship has made me lazy or hermetic. I willing defer to Dan for things I used to easily handle on my own. Setting up appointments: for some reason, I’m too embarrassed to call. Trouble with my car: I can’t figure out how to properly explain the issue to a mechanic and the difficulty embarrasses me to no end. I don’t like asking questions of strangers any more. I feel iffy about sticking up for myself. 

It’s not Dan’s fault. Together, we discuss any and all topics openly. I can argue with him confidently. I stand up for my opinions and ideas, even on subjects for which I know he is far more knowledgeable. I am creative and inventive and openly share new projects and stories with him. I tell him about what I’m feeling, problems I’m having at work or with friends, the responses I’d like to give in certain situations if I only had the courage to do so. But more often than not, it seems that courage is gone. 

Perhaps this is a common thing in relationships and I just don’t know it because I’ve always surrounded myself with very strong women. Women who have the kind of strength that I used to pride myself in. The kind of strength that Dan has told me is a big part of why he is attracted to me. Maybe this is the sort of thing that happens when you spend your college years living with six men and your post college years working in an all-male office. Men have a way of determinedly and resolutely stating their opinions and ignoring all dissent. Perhaps after a while, I just subconsciously decided to stop offering mine, and my confidence followed my outspokenness right down the tubes.

I’ve decided that I’m going to work on getting that kind of strength back. I’m not going to defer to Dan when I can just as easily find the answer and solve the problem. I’m going to try to publicly show the same confidence that I so willingly display in private. I know that I am a capable woman. It’s time I start acting like it. 

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