Today, boys and girls, I would like to talk to you about faith.
Not religion or “spirituality” or being connected with the oneness of being or any of that; it’s really more of a selfish thing. It’s about faith, and confidence.
I’m one of those people who has always thought of herself as confident. I don’t mind getting up in front of people, especially to make them laugh. Public speaking doesn’t fill me with the dread of death that most people seem to experience.
My attitude has always been one of confidence: I know myself and my own abilities. I also know that most people are so busy worrying about what they know and what they look like that much of the time they won’t even notice if I say something inelegant or get the wrong answer or if my pants size has two digits in it. I’m confident in my ability to put myself out there, and just let that be me. Of course I’m confident: I have a blog! I think such important things that I have to put them out there for the whole internets to see. That’s confident!
But here lately, I’ve been thinking about confidence in a new way and, well, I’m not sure I’m confident in my confidence anymore.
Maybe I’m a confidence fraud, because when I say I’m confident, I just mean I’m fun at parties. Sometimes I don’t feel confident that I can make my dreams come true. Sometimes I’m not confident that I can work hard or be smart enough to build the life I want to live. I say I’m confident, and I thought that was what I wanted to be, but it’s not. I don’t really want confidence—I want faith.
Confidence is external; it’s what you project to others. Faith is internal; it’s what you have in the dark and lonely night. Both are good and right and important, but faith is what really gets you through.
Faith in myself, to accomplish the big goals I have, but am sometimes scared to write down. Faith that I can go the next step, get promoted or published, or bring a new product to market.
Faith in my body and its abilities. I have a chronic (but completely non-life-threatening) illness and for the past few years I’ve felt betrayed by my body, because it was attacking itself—attacking me—for no discernable reason. I feel lately I’ve been selling it short, filling it with junk food and chemicals and then feeling disappointed and angry when it didn’t perform to my standards.
If I were confident in my body—if I had faith in it—I’d give it what it needed and let it do its work. If I were confident in my abilities, I’d do the same. I’d make space in my life to be creative, and have faith it would flow. I wouldn’t be “too busy” to finish a project, (but not too busy to stay up to date on the Daily Show) because I’d make the time for something I was confident would be a success.
If I had faith in my work, I’d never excuse my work by saying “Oh, this is just a picture from my phone, it’s not very good.” Or “It’s kind of wonky on one side because I have a terrible sewing machine.” I’d put my best work out there, and have faith others would see that it is as good as I think it is.
Don’t get me wrong, I like myself; I think I’m smart and creative and witty. I am proud of my projects, including this site. But too often I, and maybe a lot of people like me, project an outward confidence, when what we really want and need is internal faith.
I want to have more faith in my abilities, in my ideas, in my very being. That’s part of the Uglythreads project: my quest to make beautiful things and give them to the world. Sometimes it’s a photo montage, or a sewing tutorial, sometimes it’s handmade socks, and sometimes it’s a story about the things that I think we all share deep down inside.
I want to hear your story, too. What would your life be like if you had more faith?