I like to think of myself as an independent woman. Growing up, I was the one to take the lead in school projects, was comfortable hanging out with older kids and taking time off to be by myself and read a good book, even if it wasn’t supposedly cool. I often challenged authority, asking why too many times with a strong desire to move beyond the status quo. I started working at 12, and pride myself in being the only female referee in the league at 14. As soon as I could, I left the suburbs for the no-so-big city, and immersed myself in all it had to offer. I moved out at 18, and bought my first house at 24. Don’t think I settle though. The 9-to-5 thing is not mine. Eager to always learn more, I embarked on the Master’s journey while working full-time and juggling many freelance projects on the side.
This is my jam. I want to live more. The anxious beast inside is eager to do it all. And I’m starting to embrace it. I love my days to be full, and my nights filled with dreams that will eventually become reality.
From the outside then, I may look like that daring woman. Don’t be fooled. Despite all these wonderful endeavors, I was still waiting for some sort of prince charming to save my inner princess. Well surrounded, I’ve always felt like I could rely on my parents, my friends, and eventually my boyfriend to do the things I couldn’t get a grasp on. Getting insurance. Dealing with the bank. Buying a bike. Changing a light bulb.
Life forced me through freedom. The parents moved far away, the boyfriend left, the friends fell in love. Don’t get me wrong: there were still there for emotional support, but they couldn’t offer a helping hand anymore.
It took me a while. I moved in my new apartment, deliberately closing one eye to avoid having to look at the things that needed to be fixed: the library to assemble, the light switch to replace, the holes in the wall to fill.
I procrastinated. I had plenty of time, more than I could deal with indeed, as I often ended up crying on those lonely Sunday afternoons. It wasn’t a matter of time or money: the issue was fear.
I didn’t know how to do any of the things on my list. I can reinvent the world with the biggest ideas, but it seems like I struggle when it comes to the physicality of things.
At first, despair paralyzed me. I didn’t know where to start. It took me weeks to muster my courage and visit the hardware store by myself.
Taking the first step was the biggest leap. Once started, I was on a roll.
It began with the halogen fixture. Then I bought a screwdriver, and I became unstoppable. Before coffee the next Saturday, I was now the proud owner of a standing Billy bookshelf. By noon, I had gotten myself a hammer, and was eager for my next project. Liberated from all the loose pieces of my bookcase, my living room had finally more space. More space for something big. Something comfortable.
Three hours and 2,2K later, I had found Billy a friend, Salema. In order for them to live happily forever after, they needed a decent house, with walls without holes and a more polished finish.
That night, I couldn’t sleep. I had been sucked in a Home Depot vortex. All I could think about was Premium Behr Ultra. Without a car but full of determination, I showed up at the store on Lord’s day. I growled on my way home, burden by the weight of the gallons, but oh-so-lightened up by my makeover project.
Every night after work, I came home and started my second shift as an apprentice painter. My brushstrokes were hesitant at first. My hand trembled a bit. I welcomed my mom and my friends’ advice. I let go of the perfectionista, with « Better done than perfect » as my motto.
The first days were promising, but sooner than later, I realized that my tiny apartment was a lot bigger than what appeared to the eye. I got discouraged. I desperately wanted to cry. I kept going.
Forty hours later, I was done. I was now living in a Night Blooming Jasmine garden. The perfect space for the little caterpillar I was to morph into a magnificent butterfly.
Some hike mountains. Others race ultra distances. I didn’t had to live the comfort of my space to conquer the highest summit. More than getting a job, more than my graduate diploma, more than every event I ever organized, this is my biggest accomplishment so far. It’s so small, yet so colossal. One task at a time, room by room, I taught the little girl inside that she could do it. She was smart enough to ask questions, research and learn by herself.
Once you realize that there is always a way, and that you can find it if you put in the time and energy, the world is suddenly full of possibility, all yours to take. That’s what confidence is truly all about. Preach Marie Forleo : everything is figureoutable.