Confidence, what is it? Where does it come from? Who is to say whether I really have it, or I don’t really have it? It is an internal concept that people can see from the outside. Or they think they can. I had a conversation with a friend today and it made me think about confidence. I want to share these thoughts so they may help you.
I was bullied throughout school. In elementary school it was because I was more physically mature than the other girls my age. In middle school, I am not sure why, but this girl decided she did not like me and she did everything she could to be cruel, including trying to have me jumped. She went to my high school as well and I feel like she was constantly trying to show she could do whatever I could. So, in middle school, I decided if people weren’t going to like me for no reason, I was going to give them many reasons to not like me. In high school, I began umpiring and I spent my money (pretty good money too) on clothes. I wore new stuff all the time. I drove, I snuck off campus for lunch, and I did my best at the sports I played. I was in ASB and I was an IB student. I tried to look like I had it all together and not a care in the world. I wanted to appear “Confident as F**k” (as the saying goes), so they might back off. I thought if they didn’t have the satisfaction of seeing me upset they would just go away. Obviously, that is never the case. Bullies are bullies because they dislike themselves, not you. But I didn’t know that.
Through doing all of this, I actually pushed nice people away and ended up with almost no friends and a really rough high school experience. And I ended up with a shopping addiction to cope with all that junk in my mind that I masked with this “super confident” facade. This was so bad that I couldn’t even tell people I would be going to a community college after high school. I was too ashamed that I couldn’t get into a 4-year university, (due to a bad counsellor and a lack of fine-arts units), and even worse, that I might not be ready for a four-year university.
So, last night I had an in-home jewelry party. While I was setting up, I kept telling myself that I need to social, I can’t be shy, I need to talk and mingle, I can’t be shy about my jewelry, the brand, why I love it, second guess the pricing, etc. My friend said he didn’t understand my lack of confidence because time and time again I have proven that I thrive in these social environments, that I am capable of selling in a conversational form and that I know my product, the brand and the reason why it is worth it. And he is right, the party was a tremendous success and the ladies were super excited to place orders. Once I started socializing, the rest just happened naturally. And I knew this would be the case, so why was I nervous? Did I really lack the confidence?
Confidence is defined as “the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.” By this definition, I suppose I wasn’t truly confident in the possible outcome of the party. I knew there were many different factors at play and that many different outcomes were possible. All I could do is be me, be knowledgeable and be friendly! But I did not feel truly certain. I think there are many things that we face on a daily basis that we are not truly confident about. We can have complete faith in ourselves, but lack it in others and that will affect our confidence in a situation depending on others.
In high school, I seemed like I had this confidence in myself, but I was constantly doubting myself because I was bullied. It is really hard to believe you are beautiful and awesome and smart and successful when people are telling you that you aren’t. But, ultimately, that confidence does have to come from inside of you. If I had portrayed an uncertain persona yesterday, been shy and not knowledgeable and helpful, I doubt the evening would have been a success. It was a success because I was these things. I started the night faking it but it quickly became the truth as the others believed that I was confident. And I was quickly able to truly feel that confidence as well.
I encourage you to think about things you know about yourself to be true. What about you gives you faith in yourself? That is your source of confidence. It doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with things that lead you to feel confident either. I wore a necklace yesterday that I got a couple of compliments on before the party while I was going through my day. That helped me feel great. A great blouse, feeling 5lbs. lighter, a great hair day, or a new pair of power pumps can help us feel great about ourselves. When we feel great about ourselves, we walk straighter, we smile more, and people believe we are confident. In turn, we feel confident. This feeling isn’t built overnight, but it is inspired daily. So, what do you feel confident about? What faith do you have in yourself? Channel that, wear your favorite dress, and go kick some butt!
I have been quite on my blog for awhile, I know. I have been trying to make sense of something I have read about online. Through research and soul searching, I think I have come to some conclusions and so, I want to talk about suicide in youth and the Blue Whale Game in this post.
If you haven’t yet heard about Blue Whale, it is a game started in Russia that takes kids through 50 days of escalating tasks leading to them committing suicide. The players are found through social media sites and are encouraged to join specific chat rooms where they post pictures of their tasks as proof and are encouraged to continue by other chat room members. Pictures are often captioned with “I am a Whale” and other phrases relating to the Whale game. Why the game is called Blue Whale is not clear, some believe it may be alluding to the way whales beach themselves in order to die, or to attach to the negative phrasing of calling yourself a whale.
Just this week, one of the curators of the game was convicted on two counts of attempting to coerce two teens into suicide. Although he was originally arrested for 15 counts. It is possible that the reason why these curators are hard to find and capture is because they are utilizing the dark web to move between social media and redtube sites where they can have the victims upload their videos in ananominity. I don’t fully understand the way this works, but from my research, the darkweb allows you to hide your IP addresses, locations and identity. Unfortunately, the justice systems across the globe generally need some sort of proof/evidence, if you cannot prove its their IP or identity, how can you prove it was them? This means that these curators are still out there drawing teens in with their sick game.
Suicide is a very serious issue. Unfortunately, in order to decide that something is an issue, something drastic must happen. A couple deaths across the United States hasn’t yet been deemed drastic. It isn’t an emergency yet and there are still many who do not know about this issue. But I want to make sure that people do know about this. The game is ingenious in its design. The tasks serve direct and indirect purposes. A common task is to have the victim wake up early, about 4:20am for several mornings or to stay up all night watching horror movies. These type of tasks may seem better and easier for the victim than the tasks that require them to cut themselves, scratch their arms until they bleed and other self-mutilating tasks, but the purpose of the tasks is to make the victim tired, leaving them mentally unable to process the following information and make them feel alone, exhausted, strung-out and more vulnerable.
The tasks are both self-mutilating and serve to make the victim feel alone by telling them to tell their best friend that they hate them, asking them to ostracize themselves from their social groups. This makes the victim again, more vulnerable and prone to the kind of mindset that leads to the final task, suicide. The victims feel as if they cannot stop because they are told the curator knows who they are, where they live, and will hurt them and their family if they try and leave the game. It is a real game causing real deaths and it needs to be known, it needs to be stopped.
So, please, if you have children, know somebody with children, or just care about the people of this world, share this please. Suicide is the number two cause of death among teens. We do not need these kinds of sick games pulling these kids into feeling like suicide is their only option.
Self-esteem is a huge factor in all aspects of our life, especially when we decide to launch our own businesses. Whether we are opting for a direct-marketing platform where the corporate side is handled by others or a self-employment model where we take our love and talent and create a business out of it, the better our business is and the success we reach is dependent upon how much we truly believe in ourselves. I recently joined a Manifestation group on Facebook, not realizing what it was when I joined, and although I don’t completely subscribe to their ideals, (that you can manifest anything just by believing it), I do believe that if we don’t believe in ourselves and what we want to accomplish, we are making it that much harder for others to believe in us and our product. For me, as a freelancer, I am my brand. If I do not believe that I am capable and that I can produce unique and publish-ready content, why would a potential employer believe it?
For Breanna Reish, self-esteem has been a huge factor for her. She recently left her 9-5 financial firm to start her own financial planning company, Wealth of Confidence, and is loving every minute of it. She was motivated to launch her own firm after realizing she wasn’t satisfied with what she was doing. Reish struggled finding how she fit in an industry that is investment heavy, while she prefers to focus on her client and their specific needs, investment based or not.
“I had years of experience working in it [financial planning],” Reish said. “And feeling that cruddy feeling – knowing how it feels to feel like I do not belong, and feeling like I am at rock bottom, wondering if I would ever make it. I would cry at night. I wanted to quit several times. My husband would watch me roller coaster every year and just said to me, ‘You know, if this is what you want, you have to do it.’”
Reish was also motivated by her two young children, she wanted to have more control over her schedule, giving her more time with her two young children and her husband. But she also wanted to be able to pursue financial planning for clients putting more stake in familiar obligations and needs in a field that is generally investment focused. While she can assist with investments, she loves to help clients learn how to prepare for the future, make financial decisions, and prepare for end of life.
Prior to making the decision to go out on her own, she started working with a coach who helped her figure out what her next steps would be and why.
“She peeled back the layers like an onion,” Reish said of her coach. “She got me to talk about why I was really doing this and she – before I met her I was frantic trying to figure out my place and then she really helped me hone in on why I was doing this, what is really important in my life – all of these things and it gave me a little more confidence, and focus.”
Since going out on her own, Reish has been able to enjoy time with her family and with her clients. Ensuring her clients’ needs are met and they are happy is her top priority. Wealth of Confidence is giving her the means to continue to do what she loves and help her clients succeed while also being there for her family.
“I will say that you do have to work your butt off and stay focused,” Reish said. “You can make it what you want. If you want your business to be at a certain level, achieve a certain goal, you have to figure out what that goal is and what that number is that you need to be making, and then put that much time into it. Your responsibility lies with your family and your children, whatever responsibility you have is to them. I do get to keep 100% of my income, but I am also responsible for 100% of my income now. My goal with the business is to, number one, take care of my clients, and in turn, take care of my family and be a good mom.”
While she and her family are enjoying their newfound time together, starting your own business is not a simple decision. You need to take into consideration that you are now the one who drives business and income. Without clients or dedicating a certain amount of time to your business, a large paycheck can’t happen. Beyond that, prior to starting on your own, Reish cautions that you formulate a plan and determine what your family can handle while you launch your business. Going a couple months without a paycheck is a very real reality for many people who start their own businesses. Despite this, owning your own business can be as fulfilling for you as it is for Reish. It can allow you more freedom in your schedule and the ability to participate in more activities with your family. The key is to believe you can do it!
You can learn more about Breanna and her business, Wealth of Confidence, by visiting her website here.
I love fashion, styling and jewelry. Polyvore allows me to do all of this for free and for fun. I am constantly forgetting what is in my closet, especially newer things. I love this app because I can go, like what I own, or clip it, (especially all my Chloe and Isabel jewelry), and then style outfits with it. Check out some of my sets, I am always making more!
I love apps like this that give us an outlet for our creativity. They also give us ideas about how to wear the latest styles and what to wear with them. I know sometimes I love new styles, but I have no clue how to wear them. With Polyvore, I feel like I am able to pick other people’s minds about how and what they would do. Plus you can put together looks without messing up your closet!
Follow me on Polyvore: http://jennlsch.polyvore.com/
Shop all jewelry: chloeandisabel.com/boutique/jenniferschmidt1
It is not everyday that I get to sit down and have an open conversation with a woman who has admitted to posting suggestive pictures of herself on Craigslist. If you aren’t already aware, there is a page on Craigslist for Casual Encounters where posters can post about seeking any type of sexual experience. Requests vary from the most grotesque to the average three or foursome. There are swingers, transsexuals, homosexuals and others seeking a little bit of Fifty Shades.
The New York Times gives some statistics for the site in an article written a couple years back. The Casual Encounter section accounts for 2% of all posting on Craigslist. Despite this small percentage, the Personals section, (of which Casual Encounters is a part of), has a higher rate of traffic than any other online personals site, (eHarmony, Match and Yahoo! Personals included). One major draw is the ability to remain anonymous, at least initially, and therefore, be honest about what one’s true desire. Despite all of this, it remains a taboo that isn’t openly discussed.
Posters can attach pictures to their posts to attract a greater response. At first, it might be thought that posters are all social outcasts, 40-year old virgins, and prostitutes. But that is not the case. There are a great deal of everyday people posting, looking for the partner with which to fulfill their fantasies. Selena* chose to post on the site for another reason altogether. Yes, she wanted to fulfil the curiosity that the site naturally encourages, but she was primarily looking for a self-esteem boost.
My interview with her sheds light on an aspect of her personality that led her to need attention enough to result to this. While she did not pose nude or show any part of her you wouldn’t see in a bathing suit, she still felt dirty after receiving responses. Ultimately, her experience is not one she recommends. She reminds us the very real things that could happen if a woman did opt to follow through and meet with a responder.
My Interview with Selena* – A One-Time Craigslist Casual Encounter Poster
Q: Selena*, my first question, why would you want to post pictures of yourself online? And what kind of pictures did you post?
A: Well, honestly, I have always wondered about the people who post pictures of themselves in this casual encounter corner of Craigslist. Sometimes I just go through all the postings reading and wondering what drives a person to do this. And, of course, what kind of response they receive. Sometimes the posters will refer to the responses they received as being unwanted or different than what they asked for. I just really wanted to know. So, I took four pictures of myself from shoulders down in a deep-v lace body suit. I didn’t want my face to show and they weren’t overtly sexual. I don’t want to have those out there forever!
Me: I understand, everything is permanent online!
Selena*: (Laughing) Yes, it really is. And I do value my career and my future, I didn’t want this one experiment to label me. And worse, what if I did have my face in the picture and somebody on the street recognized me, that would be terrible!
Me: Indeed, it would be. But let me ask, interesting word choice. You saw this as an experiment?
Selena*: Yes, I really did. I am not going to say that sleeping around is bad, but it is not my personal choice. I prefer relations with men after a personal connection has been established. Even then, I am picky!
Me: So you weren’t actually attempting to solicit sex through this ad?
Selena*: Well, in regards to what I actually wrote, yes, I was. My post was short, just four sentences, but I made sure it reflected mainstream pornographic culture to garner a healthy response. But I didn’t personally want to solicit sex. I was trying to see what kind of responses I would receive.
Me: What else compelled you to do this experiment? You must have great self-esteem to post any part of you online in a suggestive way. Especially on a platform designed for hookups.
Selena*: Honestly, my self-esteem isn’t very good. I am often worrying about what others think of my body and whether men find me attractive sexually. I am of a curvy frame and I often feel that I am not what is generally considered attractive.
Me: So were you concerned about the responses then? Did you ever consider that you may receive rude responses from these men? How did you weigh this against possible positive responses?
Selena*: Yes, when I did this, I was worried that I would receive nasty responses from men calling me fat or undesirable. But I also needed the affirmation from the men that I was desirable. My need for someone to desire me, even a creepy man behind a computer, outweighed my fear of being ridiculed. I suppose I just wanted to know what it would feel like to get that kind of attention, the sexual kind, in a safe way.
Me: Well, I think you look fantastic today. I don’t know why anyone would find you unattractive.
Selena*: (blushing) Thank you, I am trying really hard to remind myself every day that I am beautiful. I think this experiment really opened my eyes to the despair I could fall into.
Me: Despair? Please elaborate.
Selena*: Well, I guess I mean that I now understand something key. I follow a lot of plus sized models on Instagram and they are always letting their bodies show, and I think that is beautiful, the confidence. But sometimes they let way more skin show than I would feel comfortable doing, and I am not plus sized. Then I go to bars with my friends and I see plus size girls dressing the same way and I wonder if there is something wrong with my thinking that keeps me from showing all that skin. I watch these girls throw themselves at these guys and the guys pay attention generally, but never to me. I can’t help but wonder if they are attracted to the confidence, the girl, or the fact that she is letting it all hang out.
Me: Interesting, this is something I have also wondered about. I am also curvy, not plus sized, and I often feel lost between the thin and the plus sized women. It is kind of a no man’s land.
Selena*: Seriously! And you are built much more athletically than I. I am totally envious of your muscle girl!
Me: (laughing) Thank you! Well, I think the main question now is, just what kind of responses did you get?! Where they like you expected?
Selena*: Oh my! (blushing) I received some interesting responses for sure. They were all positive though! That was the best part. It was actually funny, I posted it and then I opened my email. I had no responses for five minutes. I was so sad, so I closed my email and decided to take a shower. 15 minutes later, I checked my email again and I had 42 emails. All responses. After that, I was receiving about a response a minute. I was so overwhelmed!
Me: Wow! That’s a lot of responses. Any that were memorable?
Selena*: Yes, originally, I hadn’t intended to respond to anyone. However, as the responses started flooding in, I was pleasantly surprised. Some of the responders said really nice things and seemed like really nice guys. I had to remind myself under what circumstances they were emailing me!
Me: So is the posting still up?
Selena*: No, I took it down after about 30 minutes. I got such a large response that it was too much for me. Plus, I ultimately wasn’t comfortable with the kind of talk that the posting elicited. I am very private about my sex life so the blunt responses were very overwhelming and kind of gross. I could just imagine the type of guy who trolls Casual Encounter postings on Craig’s List.
Me: I take it you weren’t imaging Prince Charming.
Selena*: Not at all! (laughs) I was expecting some creepy guys.
Me: What is the weirdest response you received?
Selena*: One guy said some nice things, beautiful body, that type of thing. And at the end of his email, he asked to be notified of any donations.
Me: Oh! Wow, I hadn’t considered that.
Selena*: Neither had I! Honestly, I didn’t understand that at first. Then I realized, he meant money most likely. Which opened up a whole new world of possibilities and I thought to myself, wow, suddenly the number of people posting on here is more understandable. Not assuming all are looking for money, but if you are already willing to have a random hookup, then the idea of donations would be a bonus, I assume.
Me: Going back to your self-esteem, after all this attention, how do you feel now?
Selena*: I felt a bit dirty at first. Especially when the responses started rolling in. But I did feel good too. It was so heartening to receive all that attention. Granted it was sexual attention and it was because I elicited it, but I still felt good to hear that all these guys wanted me. I understand that they might just respond to anything or that they are totally gross, but I felt good. I left this experience knowing that if I chose to be overtly sexual and dress provocatively, I would get a response.
Me: Is this something you intend to do again?
Selena*: Absolutely not! Once was enough! It wasn’t a bad experience by any means, but I defiantly realized how precious my body is and how much I value myself. I don’t want to receive attention just for the sake of attention, and that’s what I did with this. I want honest attention from guys interested in me, not my body. So, going back to the previous question, I suppose my self-esteem was affected because I am much more self-assured now.
Me: Is this something you would recommend other women do?
Selena*: Well, I suppose if you really want to, sure. But I would caution against it. You just never know with the internet. I realized afterwards that somebody could maybe trace my IP Address and find out my location or something like that. I am probably paranoid, but safety is important! And never actually respond or meet with these guys. The least worry is that they have a disease, the worst is that something terrible could happen.
*Name has been changed for confidentiality reasons.
The benefits of nude color shoes are numerous. While they can be worn with any color you might wear, they are also masters of misdirection! Wearing a nude shoe can make short legs (like mine) appear longer and therefore, leaner, and long legs appear even longer. Of course a good heel can also help a girl out by lifting the tush, creating longer, leaner legs, and giving us some inches so we are taller. So my favorite nude shoes for summer are all of various heel heights, (even some barely a heel for those who don’t like heels). While I do not own all five, I am only selecting ones I have tried and really liked and that felt comfortable, (and where to buy them). Because, after all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the shoe is if we can’t last an hour in them!
5. Louise et Cie – Karisa Ankle Strap Sandal $100
This beautiful sandal features a higher ankle strap balanced out by the open toe. The strap over the toes is nice and wide so your toes remain secure, (no weird pinky toe sticking out in the wrong places!) And the strap shape allows for comfort, no cutting into your toes and it shows of your pretty pedicure! It is about a 2.5 inch, wrapped stacked heel for maximum comfort. The best part about this shoe is that is comes in the matte (shown) and a nude patent as well! So super cute, and at $100, I loved this sandal, even the ankle strap, but if you have large ankles or no ankle, I have some better options!
Who doesn’t love the everyday comfort of a cushy t-strap sandal? This one is a great brand at a great price. Splendid is known for its comfortable pieces made if great materials that really hold up. This shoe is no exception. It is super comfortable and the slight wedge heel (1.75 in) and minimal straps means legs will look long and lean whether your ankles are slim or not. These sandals will look excellent with a little sun dress or paired with wide leg crops. The ankle strap has a bit of elastic for added comfort. I highly recommend these!
3. Vince Camuto – Fauna Sandal $119
I personally love a tie up sandal! This is a style that I have really loved. Free People has been doing tie up shoes for years now and I was thrilled when it became a popular style. This particular pair is, of course, comfortable, featuring a 2.25 in heel. The tie is light and thin enough that it doesn’t dig into the skin, (like some shoelace ones do), but also textured so that they aren’t loosening up all day as well as finished at the end so the string doesn’t fray. They are a higher rise on the ankle but have a large opening for the heel and minimum constriction. Great buy from Vince Camuto!
2. Ann Taylor LOFT – Cutout Wedge Sandal $90
Nothing says summer quite like a perforated shoe. This particular shoe was love at first sight. I love the perforated detail, but not too big that the leather will suffer or weaken. The round buckle perfectly compliments the feminine beauty of this shoe. The wedge is 3 inches high to give a nice lift. But since it is a wedge, the shoe remains comfortable and easy to walk in. This shoe would look wonderful with anything you would wear, especially a feminine sundress. But the feminine details of the shoe would also bring femininity to a basic shift dress or slip dress.
1. Free People – Under Wraps Sandal $68
This sandal is not so much a light nude color. it does come in a white gold which is a very neutral color, but I am so in love with these sandals I needed to feature them. They do come from one of my favorite brands so I know I will be fully satisfied with them. But I also love how unique they are. T-strap on the foot makes for an interesting line that goes into the ankle strap. But the front of the ankle is left exposed to allow for a clean line down the foot making the legs appear longer despite the lack of a heel on these. They are also an excellent price for a nice pair of leather sandals. They have a bit of elastic that allows them to be easily pulled on and comfortable.
All five of these sandals are comfortable and totally on trend for the season. Nude shoes are one of the essentials every woman should have in her closet. The five I picked or amongst my favorites of all I have seen available at a reasonable price. There are many many more that I love that are more that $150… If you want those recommendations I would be happy to supply them! But for an everyday shoe, these are my favorite five that will hold up and be comfortable.
I had the pleasure of attending a training for Junior League of Riverside this afternoon where the illustrious Vicki Clark spoke to us about organization and how to see projects through to fruition. Although I learned a great deal that will lead to successful futures for League members, I found what she had to say about Leadership and Success to be extremely advantageous. She spoke about how to view success through alternate perspectives and touched on how media is training us to view success in certain ways – for instance, basing success on money and possessions.
So, what should we base our successes on? Is success really something that can be represented by the amount of money in a bank account? The designer labels we wear on our backs? Our shoes, purses, and what shopping bags we carry around when we are at the mall? Social media has opened up a new world for the younger generations and it has caused us to be hyper aware of our “successes.” There are countless studies about how people who post everything on social media are likely sociopaths. But, does this mean that everyone who posts on social media feels this?
Personally, I post random things on my social media. I don’t plan posts and I don’t post an overwhelming amount of selfies. However, when I have a great workout or I am spending an awesome day at Fashion Island, I like to post those things. In other words, I suppose I am saying that my social media profiles are more representative of what is contributing to my happiness or what I am doing while happy.
Bringing this back to the question of what is success… For me, success is the ability to do things. I feel successful when I can spend a day reading, at the mall, the beach or Disneyland. These things remind me of the quality of life I am working for. Although we all struggle from time to time, I am happy that I have generally been in a decent position for someone my age. Yes, I struggle with the repercussions of poor financial decisions in the youth, but I have made sure that I have the means to continue to grow and become more successful.
So what is success? I suppose, I think of successes as the crossing of goals off my list. I would like to get back to Europe and see countries I have yet to visit. If I come to a place in my life where that would be feasible, that would be a success for me. Marriage, having children – those things would be successes as well. Growing in my professional career, completing my first text, publishing, making friends, all of those things would be successes for me. But keeping that in mind, I have to remember that certain success comes with time and experience. We can’t all be a Kardashian or a young pop star. Success usually comes from working hard and putting in the time to gain the experience and the knowledge that is necessary to grow within ourselves. This might even mean that our goals, and therefore, our eventual successes will adapt to our growth. And that, to me, is a success in of itself. That you can understand that you have grown and your desires have changed as well.
Yes, I wish I was rolling in money and could have everything I could possibly want and never have to think about whether I can afford to spend money. It would certainly make life easier not having to be concerned with bills and the cost of living. But, ultimately, where is the joy in that? If you can have everything you want, those things begin to lose their value. Success is ultimately a feeling. A feeling about how you are doing at this stage in your life. The people we follow on social media that help us to feel inadequate are just in a different stage of their lives, their careers, hobbies or values. We shouldn’t rely on other people, our bank accounts, cars or sneakers to determine whether or not we are successful. We should allow our personal feelings of success to guide us and help us to feel free enough to enjoy where we are currently. Focusing on how successful (or not) you will be in 5, 10, or 15 years inhibits you from enjoying any success you have attained now.
So, my advice: Be happy! Enjoy the ability to buy a latte today. The fact that you can go to dinner and a movie tonight. Not everyone has the ability to do the things we may take for granted. I can’t buy Gucci tennis shoes but I can buy Nikes. That is a success. And, if I do purchase Gucci tennis shoes someday, I will know that I worked hard and I attained many levels of success on my way to that. But the shoes won’t represent that success, the personal joy I had along the way doing the things I could do, will be representative of my success.