Making Breakfast: Should I say something?

I have less than an hour to meet my Tuesday night deadline. I had another idea for a post, but I need much more time to craft it.  Instead, I think I’ll share a small, personal victory, of sorts.

It’s called “making breakfast,” and it’s a metaphor.

Some time ago, I viewed this drawing/article.

Trigger Warning: Breakfast

trigger warning: breakfast

It has pictures. Please read it. The work the creator has done by making and sharing this is so, so important.

I have been beating myself up recently for leaving things unsaid. Friends have said or done things that I was not okay with, and I pretended everything was okay and did not say anything. Days have passed. Weeks have passed. Months. A year.

Now, I want to say something, but I freeze. Is it too late? What does it mean, to say it now? Is it even worth it? Am I crazy? If it wasn’t bad enough to say anything then, why say it now?

Enter, “Making Breakfast.”

Forgive me for twisting Anon’s original use of “breakfast” but I have conceptualized a way to forgive myself for taking so long to speak up about troubling interactions. Like the narrator, I needed time to compartmentalize. I needed to set the table and serve my friends the same smile and kindness to which they are daily accustomed. It may feel like I was being fake, but I needed time to let my feelings cook. In a perfect world, I would always be open and honest, but I have fears of my own, reasons I am afraid to fight.

“I’m not ready to talk to him because I’m still making breakfast.”

“I don’t think we should push her to confront her assailant because she is still making breakfast.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner, but I was making breakfast.”

“I have a feeling there’s something you want to talk to me about, maybe even something I did wrong, but that maybe you’re still making breakfast.”

The power of this idea, for me, is that it allows me to be gentle with myself. Yes, I should have spoken up sooner. Yes, it would be better for my friends if I am always open and honest. But sometimes, and with the best of intentions, I end up taking extra time — to heal, to process, to preserve the status quo, to believe in the possibilities of a happier story. It doesn’t mean it’s too late to speak up now

How to be confident

Why am I so confident?

I want to analyze this, make a formula, spread the wealth.  Confidence is amazing and also useful at parties; I want you to have it.

I'm confident enough to wear a bunch of beanie babies I hot glued together as a garment.

I’m confident enough to wear a bunch of beanie babies I hot glued together as a garment.

Maybe it’s because…

  • I was a perfectionist from age 8 to age… 15.  This may have helped me develop the skills to perform under pressure and avoid messy mistakes like it’s second nature.  Somehow, though, I spent very little time criticizing myself as perfectionists are wont to do, and more time trying to get better and better. Crazy shit like making lists of attributes I’d like to have (“eloquence, uniqueness, compassion”) and breaking down the steps to attain them…
  • …But then I gave myself permission at some point to not be a perfectionist.  Some mistakes still send me into an anxious fit.  I hate making driving mistakes (like hitting a curb, cutting off someone).  I think that’s fair – driving is probably the most dangerous activity I participate in day to day.
  • I grew up an arrogant little bastard.  A few years spent thinking I’m better than everyone else may have wired my neurons firmly to the confidence centers in my brain. I’ve changed my ways, though, and really don’t care if anyone is better than me or I better than them. This happened when I went to England and was surrounded by fantastic people. I realized it was much more enjoyable to be in awe of them than to compete…
  • …And I’m not really competitive at all. I am self-competitive, trying to get better at things for my own satisfaction.  But I will surrender quickly if I realize it’s not worth my trouble to battle with someone. I’ve learned how to enjoy other people’s wins.
  • I am bloody good at some things.  It’s easy to feel great when people are complimenting me on skills I’ve acquired over the years.
  • I’m kind of a braggart. This creates a cycle in which I show off, receive praise, and want to show off more. Somehow I have avoided the whole “I neeeeeeed people’s approval” bit and just taken away a shamelessness when it comes to displaying myself. It’s easy to feel confident when I’m waving around my peacock tail and hearing sweet oohs and ahhs…
  • …And I don’t just show off my good side.  Everything is out there.  I’m an over-sharer, ridiculously honest.  It’s easy to feel confident when I’ve got nothing to hide.
  • I dealt with mind-numbing depression for a good many years.  (Still boggled and exhilarated every time I realize I’m better now.)  It’s hard for the small hurdles in life to seem significant when my biggest drain was my own personal hell. Yes, I had phases of hating myself, but for the most part that wasn’t the route my depression took.  In my backbreaking effort to get better, I worked out little checkpoints with myself. Instead of focusing on how horrible I was for not getting better, I focused on how horrible I felt.  It’s as if my self-preserving instincts saved me.  I also made it a point to keep functioning in society, so I learned how to fake it despite the depression.  It’s easy to feel confident when I’ve gone through the wringer and come out a better person.
  • I am (usually) good at empathizing.  This makes it easier to understand other people’s actions and motivations and avoid blaming myself for things that aren’t my fault.
  • I was in an emotionally manipulative relationship for 4 years.  I came out of that with the determination to not let someone make me feel like that ever again.  And I’ve managed to reconcile with my ex, be friendly with him, and have closure.
  • I have anxiety, but I fend it off pretty well.  I redirected it early on (subconsciously) to things that didn’t matter.  Instead of worrying about tangible things – school, friendships, my appearance – I would worry about strange things like the way colors seemed to jump at me or by imagining my depth perception was failing. I use my imagination to help me not take my anxiety seriously, make it somewhat of a game.
  • I decided it would be advantageous/attractive/fun to be fearless during my “self-improvement” phase.  So I made sure to practice not being afraid and taking risks to impress people.  I still do that a bit like the unblushing boaster that I am.
  • I surrounded myself with people who are good for me, and made it a point to always be grateful for them.  I have supportive close buddies, an amazing girlfriend, and friends who inspire me.  I try to figure out how to make people feel good, and in return they give me kind and appreciative friendships.  I also make sure to let people know what I want, and they happily oblige me since I made things easy for them.   (i.e. I tend to tell people what a sucker I am for verbal affirmations, and which kinds.)

So, I’m sure I could think of other things, but now I want to hear what the community has to say.  What makes you feel confident?  How confident are you?  How confident do you perceive others to be?