On Confidence

Leo
3 min readFeb 16, 2022

Perhaps the only consistent thing in my life is my confidence. And frankly, I have no idea how my confidence has come to be what it is today.

Growing up socially shunned by my classmates in primary and secondary school definitely affected my self-esteem and self-confidence. I think my self-worth took its biggest hit when I was bullied in secondary school — for when I was bullied for having worn a skirt that was longer than the class bullies.

Teenagers are so cruel, it’s oddly fascinating.

I was inspired to write this piece when a dear friend and I had a conversation about having public Instagram accounts the other day.

To some degree, I believe that I was born with some level of inherent confidence. But I also know that it does take some level of cultivation to reach my level of straightforward, thick-skinned shamelessness.

Despite being born into and raised in an Asian society, other than the random dark skin and “oh you seem like you’ve gained some weight” comments, my appearance was mostly left unchecked. Sure my parents definitely had a steep learning curve with my hair colours, piercings and tattoos, but for the most part, they have come around. I have just enough tattoos on my right arm that my parents can no longer tell what’s old and what’s fresh lest they see the second skin on a new tattoo.

I still find it surprising that despite feeling the most suicidal and depressed in secondary school, I did not cave into the taunts hurled at me and did not conform with what was expected of me. Somehow, my teenage self stood her ground and refused to change, or become a less and quieter version of myself.

I would say that my sense of confidence was properly solidified when I lived down under. The culture of self-acceptance, self-expression and people genuinely not giving a fuck on how one looks allowed me to express myself visually, which I believe in turn encouraged me to place importance on being authentic and understanding that people are too busy being self-conscious about themselves to even care about what you might be wearing on the street. And those who do, either have too much time on their hands or are projecting their insecurities onto you. In the grand scheme of the universe, they simply do not matter.

This is not to say that I am confident 100% of the time. These days my biggest insecurity lies in my chest and the stares that I get everywhere I go regardless of my state of modesty.

And I'm still struggling with self-worth issues as someone who has been traumatised time and time again by friendship problems, which has led me to be overbearing most times, terrified that I might scare off another loved one.

I also recognise my privilege in being part of the majority race in Singapore, that my appearance is appropriate in the creative industry and that I do not need to bear the fear of my sexuality as a heteroflexible person.

So honestly, I have no solid clue as to how I maintain my level of self-assurance and self-confidence. Like every other human on this planet, I have my good and bad days, I guess I’m just lucky that when the bad days hit, I have just enough chemicals in my brain to tide the day over and am self-aware to understand that this too shall pass.

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Leo

Way too curious for my own good, a baby nihilist and writer of sorts.