I've Been A Stripper And Done Stand-Up: Here's How To Get Insanely Confident/Quite Possibly Overconfident

Swing your arms, lengthen your stride, wear big hats. You have a right to take up physical, mental and emotional space as much as anyone else does.
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Madeira Darling
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Swing your arms, lengthen your stride, wear big hats. You have a right to take up physical, mental and emotional space as much as anyone else does.

Hi there kids, I’m Madeira and I’m here today to talk about confidence.  

Everyone knows confidence is important. After all, it makes people find you attractive, and willing to give you jobs you aren’t technically qualified for, and allows you to hold your head high as you go about your daily business. (Actually I think that last one might have more to do with postural muscles than confidence, but we’ll say it’s confidence for the purposes of this article.)

However, despite knowing the importance of confidence, most people don’t have a whole helluva a lot and don’t know where to get it. (The Confidence Hut at their local mall went out of business two years ago and if you order it online the shipping is insane.) So because I’m weirdly comfortable getting naked in front of people, and telling the dstory about the time the receptionist at the abortion clinic mistook my then boyfriend for me, I’m here to give you some probably life-damaging advice on how to become more confident.

1. Do The Things You Fear Most:

Sing karaoke stone cold sober, wear a bunny outfit to run errands (sexy bunny or mascot bunny, whichever you fear most), compliment strangers, participate in Talk Like A Pirate day, make a complete ass of yourself. The more you realize that you can make a fool out of yourself and you will not fall to your doom in the chasm of shame, the shallower the chasm of shame becomes.  

Confidence is… becoming a ventriloquist to get over your fear of puppets.  I call him the chronic masturgator.

Confidence is… becoming a ventriloquist to get over your fear of puppets.  I call him the chronic masturgator.

2. Drink (in moderation) and Do The Stuff You Fear That You Were Still Too Scared to do in Step 1:

This step is not recommended for those trying to quit drinking, but basically if you need to have a drink before you can hit on that attractive person by showing off your bitchin’ dance moves, by all means, go for it. (Provided your faith, health, and so on and so forth allow it.)

Confidence is… sometimes a liquid.

Confidence is… sometimes a liquid.

3. Learn To Bask In Attention:

Here is one thing that is true of me: My desire to be noticed is far greater than my desire to avoid humiliation and ridicule. This is because I had the constant attention of 5 to 7 adults from birth to age 3 and that attention was suddenly diverted when my brother was born. I have never gotten over it and have spent my entire life since then attempting to make everything I do as dramatic and visible as possible because I just want my mommy to be proud of me, goddamnit.  

Now that may make me completely insufferable (and I am) but it’s great for getting free publicity. If you can learn to love attention more than you fear ridicule, you’re well on your way to conquering social norms, your own inner critic and any sense of shame you may once have had.  

Special bonus suggestion: Have so many humiliating experiences during adolescence connected to your sexual awakening that you began to get off on humiliation itself.  

Confidence is… a really fancy bed at the MET.  You know it kind of is.  Whoever had that bed had to be confident.

Confidence is… a really fancy bed at the MET.  You know it kind of is.  Whoever had that bed had to be confident.

4. If You’re Single (or Open) And Into It, Orgiastic and Utterly Debauched Sex With Interesting People Sure Can Help:

I don’t know if it’s that it’s impossible to feel ashamed of yourself when you feel like you’re basically reenacting things Bowie did in the ’70s, but getting yourself into a mass of writhing sweaty bodies is a weirdly transcendent experience. There is an amount of nudity beyond which embarrassment becomes impossible.

5. Do Nice Things for People:

Listening to your friends when they’re down, helping someone move, baking a cake for someone’s birthday or taking them soup when they’re sick aren’t just nice things to do, they’re one of the best ways to reassure yourself that you’re not complete scum/an utter trashperson. Because at least you take good care of your friends!

Confidence is… wigs.

Confidence is… wigs.

6. Wigs:

I don’t know why this is true, but wigs are proven to boost your confidence by over 300%. Actually, that statistic is the result of a study I did with terrible methodology and one participant, but regardless: wigs. They’re great. For me having one on makes me feel like I’m incredible on a nigh messianic scale. Try one and see if I’m wrong (I’m not wrong).

7.  Expose Yourself to Ridicule as Often as Possible so You Can Develop an Immunity:

Ridicule is like chickenpox, if you had to get chickenpox a whole ton of times before you couldn’t get it again. (Bright side, ridicule doesn’t live in your spinal cord forever after that, waiting to give you shingles.) Basically, if you deal with enough ridicule, after a period of time you learn not to care. Stand-up is a great way to practice this, but having breasts and saying things on the Internet is even better.

8. Work on that Posture, and Take up Physical Space:

It’s scientifically proven that how we pose affects our mood (actually proven this time) and so if we walk around all schlumpy we’re going to feel sad and crappy and bad about ourselves. So square those shoulders, straighten that back, and hold your head high. You’re you. You’re special and unique and magical. You’re going places, baby, like to the total badass awards cause that’s what you are.  

Also, take up some space. Don’t compact yourself into a tiny rigid tube (unless you’re somewhere really crowded). Swing your arms, lengthen your stride, wear big hats. You have a right to take up physical, mental and emotional space as much as anyone else does, so exercise it.

Confidence is… a photo of your husband’s foot.  Hey, you try to illustrate an abstract concept.

Confidence is… a photo of your husband’s foot.  Hey, you try to illustrate an abstract concept.

9. Remember That This Kind of Confidence Evokes One of Two Reactions in Most People:

Either they think you’re super cool, and a person worth listening to, because you sound like you know what you’re talking about, or they find you deeply objectionable because they don’t like it when people are, in their opinion, too big for their britches. I say wear the biggest possible britches because screw folding yourself up into someone smaller than you are to keep the peace. You, dear reader, are awesome and should not hide your awesomeness under a bushel.