Wow, yesterday’s response was unreal!
I have to thank the incredible ladies again for being so open and honest. It takes a bit (a lot) of courage to not only write these, but then to shoot them my way to be ever-so-publicly broadcasted!
Today, I have another four women taking the leap of faith and sharing their stories.
I hope they inspire you, move you, shake you, resonate with you.
“After completing my university studies, I was successful in gaining a new role that I could make my own. Although I was inexperienced, I excelled and it wasn’t long before I was promoted from Marketing Coordinator to Marketing Manager.
Three years in to this role I fell pregnant. After advising my manager of my pregnancy, there were a lot of changes and the importance of my role diminished.
Before I was due to return from maternity leave I was told my position was redundant. This was a massive blow for my confidence and self-esteem.
Although I was told that it had nothing to do with my performance I couldn’t help but question my ability. Due to our financial situation at the time I needed to find a new job.
I was fearful that because I had a young baby no one would want to employ me.
I let this fear get me down.
I had a couple of interviews for management positions but was unsuccessful. This was a further blow to my confidence. So I also applied for more junior positions.
It wasn’t long before I secured a more junior position than I had previously held but given the redundancy; I questioned my ability to do the job.
Over time and after achieving success in my role, my confidence and self-esteem started to re-build. The support from my husband and family also helped encourage me.
In order to re-build my confidence, I made a conscious effort to put myself out of my comfort zone and participate in various activities and programs I wouldn’t have got involved in previously,
After returning to this role after having my second child, I was in a place where I had my confidence back.
So I made the decision that in 2013 I would obtain a management position.
I was thinking positively, and backed myself; I had some achievements under my belt and I was confident in my ability to move forward with my career. This new mind-set put me in a position to put myself out there and go for it.
It didn’t take long and I was successful in gaining a manager’s position once again.
It’s taken three years to get back to where I was but taking small steps and celebrating the successes was the key to re-building my confidence.
Now, I always back myself and know that I have the skills and abilities to get the job done. And if I don’t, I fake it till I make it!
– Sarah Poppy: Working Mums Collective
“Growing up, my confidence was hinged on external factors. Ya know, those things I could control. My performance. My weight. My achievements. It was a tiring, fear- driven game I played for most of my teens and early twenties. As I’ve grown older and become more comfortable in my skin, I’ve tapped into an authentic confidence—one that is rooted in who I am rather than the so-called labels I slapped on myself. This confidence acknowledges the gifts I have to offer the world and the story I’m here to share.
But, part of my story—a recent chapter—tested this new found confidence. Let me start from the beginning. I’ve always dreamed of being a mother. I love children, and my job choices reflect this fact: nanny, special needs Education Assistant and now Primary Teacher. In March of this year, to my husband’s and my delight, we found out we were expecting our first child. Albeit full of the dreaded first trimester symptoms, I was embracing the beginnings of motherhood, one of the gifts I knew to be true for me.
This joy took a sudden turn for the worst—yes, the unimaginable nightmare that is miscarriage—at 13 weeks pregnant. Stunned and left sobbing on the ultrasound table, my confidence was sucked into the black hole of grief and loss. My mind was flooded with questions: What have I done wrong? Why was my baby taken from me? Will I be able to conceive a healthy child? Am I even meant to be a mother? The dark cloud of shame covered me before I could even process what was even happening. I felt like my life had been struck by a baseball bat and the shattered pieces strewn chaotically. Only with the help of others and God was I able to start picking up those pieces. Loved-ones and friends rallied around me. My angels in disguise, they held my confidence during those dark days.
If my confidence wasn’t so deeply rooted in who I am, I fear what miscarriage could have done to me. As I slowly rebuild the puzzle—my life—I am reminded of my ever-present innate value. My confidence gives me an intuitive knowing that new beginnings are around the corner. A new chapter is being written. One that weaves perfectly into my story. The one I am called to share.
– Sarah Kate Anderson: Mariposa Moment
“Ever been naked with 5000 people? I have.
In 2010, Spencer Tunick was in town (he’s an American photographer, famous for mass public nude art installations). Over 5000 people broke out their birthday suits on the steps of the Sydney Opera House that day. I was one of them.
It was my boyfriend’s idea. It was on his bucket list. I was terrified, but trying to be cool so we signed up and just one week later flew from Adelaide to Sydney to get our gear off.
There would be no 12 weeks to hotness program for me. I was going to be naked with strangers – and there was no time to lose weight.
I’ve spent most of my life at war with my body. Diets, exercise, restriction, criticism – so much misery to try and be a certain size, look a certain way; hit that ‘magic’ number. I was unhappy and I blamed my body. I had zero self-confidence so the idea of one person seeing me naked, let alone thousands, made me feel sick. The voice in my head kept telling me, “You’re ugly. They’ll laugh at you. They’ll see your [insert endless list of body hates here].” It was relentless.
When the time came, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and I stripped.
I was scared to look around. I thought everyone would look different to me; better than me, but everyone was so NORMAL. There were bodies of every shape, size, colour and age. Being naked bonded us. We were laid bare for the world to see and in that moment we were connected by love. It was raw, real and beautiful.
In that moment I realised there was nothing wrong with me, and it was liberating.
Getting naked with thousands of strangers taught me to love and accept my body. I now nurture myself with nourishing food and gentle exercise. I acknowledge all of the amazing things my body can do. I feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. My body is wonderful and it deserves kindness and respect. Yours does too. Today, look at yourself naked and instead of judging be kind, loving, nurturing and accepting. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body can do. Feel confident in your body and know that YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.
“7 years ago I’d been under my desk in Perth and the tears just wouldn’t stop. No one could coax me out. What a mortifyingly embarrassing position to be in… on all fours, hysterical and shaking amongst the grey data cables…. I’d just wanted the earth to swallow me.
I was waist deep wading in the grief of a broken relationship, and I’d been medicating myself with excessive levels of partying. I was vulnerable, unstable, and directionless.
I’d been in a dialogue with “internet friends” on Myspace and one guy suggested that I get out as soon as I could, to leave every emotional reminder and brutally painful “bump-into-him moment” behind. He offered a couch in Melbourne as an alternative to my situation and I took it, and he remains one of my good friends to this day.
It seems crazy in hindsight now, to try to improve one situation of powerlessness by propelling myself into another kind of vulnerability; isolation. I had no one in Melbourne. I had no job, no money, and nowhere to live. I had $50 cash, and a couple of hundred on an almost maxed out credit card. All my friends were gone (along with my party network). I had no family to fall back on, and no game-plan.
So I began to wander. I bought tram tickets just to ride to the ends of the line. I walked around the city, soaking in the autumn light. I would sit on a bench in the Botanical Gardens to people-watch until my fingers and toes went numb from the cold. I sat alone at the bar in music gigs, cradling a glass of red.
I learnt, out of necessity, the comfort of my own company. I was alone with my thoughts and began to finally process my grief. I initiated a dialogue with myself that involved asking myself what I really wanted, ‘who am I now that Im alone?’ and ‘ok, what next?’. An internal dialogue because there was literally no one else to talk to.
There were no friends and family in my ear, no pull of pre-dawn bedtimes and habitual excess. I stopped relying on my external environment to “save” me. I had no choice but to recover if I wanted to stay here, and I had to redefine myself without anyone else to lean on, cultivating a resilience I still rely apon to this day.
Given the opportunity to relive that part of my life, I still would have bought that impulsive plane ticket. Had I made meticulous plans to move, saved money, looked for a job and an apartment… I probably never would have come. But instead, throwing myself into the deep-end forced me to separate myself from my past, thereby finding the confidence to flourish alone. And I’m infinitely better for it.
– Kaye Waterhouse: A Teaspoon Half Full
Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow!