The Value of Insecurity

Does it ever go away, the insecurity that lives in my skin ever since I was a girl.

I’m walking to meet a friend and have to go along the lake which takes me past a large group of people salsa dancing. Just seeing this group makes me anxious (a bit of context soon to follow). I want to walk in the opposite direction, but I can’t. I have to get to my friends house.

So my challenge is how to pass without appearing desperately insecure.

That’s a sucky goal indeed.

As I approach I work to separate individuals from the crowd in the hopes that this focus will shift my fear-soaked thinking into an objective mindset, free of ego emotion.

No chance…the fear is already in place.

And yet, another part of me is watching my thought process and emotions, tawakehe salsa crowd, the individuals there, and my interaction with it all.

The few folks I identify are people I’m insecure around for different reasons. One, a fellow dancer I’ve seen in class over the years who, despite several attempts at having a conversation, seems completely indifferent to me. Another, a photographer who produces stunning travel photos, but who has a habit of dropping his attention mid-conversation the second someone more interesting/beautiful/popular strolls by. Then there’s the dance instructor, an exemplar of talent and beauty, but not much for taking even a minute to get to know you beyond sound bite sentences.

I’m not paranoid, but I am critical. Sometimes, I just get fed up with pretension. Not just in others, but in myself. Especially myself.

Why is it hard to walk past this crowd in a way that’s authentic to how I’m feeling? What compels me to appear indifferent?

It’s fear of rejection, no doubt. But if I’ve already been rejected or believe that I’ve been rejected by this group, so why do I still give it power to the point of becoming pretentious myself? Why doesn’t the knowing of this, in and of itself, loosen its grip on my behaviour? Sigh…

I make myself stop and say “hi” to the photographer guy. We start a conversation, until the dance teacher approaches, at which point photo guy shifts his focus toward the dance teacher. I stand for a minute feeling like the proverbial third wheel, trying to distinguish my fears and projections from reality. After a couple of minutes, I realize I’ll be late for my friend’s house and use that as my cue to exit.

Leaving the salsa crowd, I feel different than before; calmer, but every bit as insecure as the moments before. I don’t know if it’s confidence, but it’s good. Something between insecurity and confidence. Something human.


(note: This post refers to an experience I had a few years ago. I chose to post it now however, because it’s still a part of my behavior that challenges me in some situations.)

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