(For all my sanctified friends, please get to the end of the post before you start praying for me. Well, pray for me anyway, but just pretend I didn’t start a blog post with an abbreviated curse word for the next 10 minutes. )
One of my favorite moments of my 30s thus far was a night about three years ago at the Kennedy Center with my good friend, Laura. We have an annual date to see Wynton Marsalis every year, and during this particular performance we decided to shell out the big bucks for box seats. And man where these seats GOOD! We were right over top of the band. We could see the drummer take off his shoes, the trumpeters remove spit from their horns, and Wynton joking around with his band members. It felt like the view made the music sound even sweeter.
It didn’t dawn on me that if we could see the musicians that clearly that they could see us, too. One of the trumpeters who was nearest to our box kept looking up and smiling. I kept whispering, “What is he looking at?” *Laura said, “He’s looking at you, and THEN the lady in front of us turned around and said, “He’s looking at YOU, honey.”
(*This addendum was added because apparently my photographic memory of this moment eluded me. I was informed today by a certain Ms. Berry that she pointed out that the trumpeter was flirting with me FIRST, not the chatty blond lady in front of us. Happy, now??? 🙂 )
I was completely surprised. This was a world-renowned musician who played with Wynton Marsalis. Why in the WORLD was he flirting with ME? I gave him a polite smile in return and did my best to focus on the rest of the concert. The band finished their original set, came back for an amazing encore, and brought the concert to a beautiful, satisfying end.
Laura and I were walking away from our fantastic box seats, and we were headed out of the Kennedy Center and on our way back home to Virginia. Just as we were about 500 feet from the main door, there was Mr. Trumpeter Extraordinaire standing right in the main hallway! Apparently he was looking for me. We locked eyes for about 10 seconds, and you know what I did? I grabbed Laura as hard as I could and walked SWIFTLY toward the exit doors. She probably still has a bruise on her arm from where I grabbed her. (Sorry friend!) There was no way that I had enough gall to even THINK about saying anything coherent to this man, let alone trying to be sexy and coy. Alas what could have been a perfect moment completely escaped me. And it wasn’t for a lack of beauty, the right outfit, or charm. My confidence simply didn’t meet that moment of opportunity.
The reason why this moment is a simply a story, and not the beginning of my fairy tale romance to Mr. Trumpeter Extraordinaire and the love story that I would one day share with our children, Trumpet Jr. and his little sister Trumpina, is because I wasn’t confident enough to believe that a man that talented could be interested in me. From the moment we locked eyes in the lobby until I practically shoved Laura out the door, I did what I always did–I created a million very convincing reasons for why I was not worthy of him. I remember my mind jumping from “Oh, he’s just looking for a DC groupie for the evening” to “He’d never be interested in a plus-size woman like me.” There are many days that I wished that moment could have happened a year or two later when my confidence was higher and stronger. Le sigh. #stillcryingoverspilledmilk
But from that experience, I could begin to see that confidence plays a greater role in my life than I realized. When I am fully confident and sure of who I am, it feels like opportunities just land in my lap one after another. But when I’m in my head questioning whether I deserve what God is placing in front of me, I totally miss the moment and the opportunity that comes along with it. I began to adopt what the old folks call “Faking it till you make it.” My confidence is always a work in progress, but I don’t have to keep letting life’s opportunities pass me by because I am not confident enough to receive what belongs to me. As I am learning each day, if an opportunity shows up in my life, I better gather whatever confidence I have inside of me and grab life by the balls!
The importance of confidence hit home for me a few months later when I was watching a behind-the-music documentary about the making of Notorious B.I.G.’s now legendary first album “Ready to Die.” In the film, fellow rapper Method Man talked about B.I.G.’s confident demeanor despite his lack of traditional male swagger. Meth said, “B.I.G. was well over 300 pounds, had a cock eye, and was black as sh–. He knew he was an ugly dude, but he also knew he could out rhyme ANYBODY. And with that kinda attitude, B.I.G. never had a shortage of honeys trying to get with him or dudes trying to jack his style. Confidence is a motherfucker!”
I literally had that phrased taped to my bathroom mirror (except when I had holy visitors) for about five months right under one of my absolute favorite bible verses, “I am CONFIDENT of this very thing; that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6)
Before I get too many tickets to hell, how exactly do I rectify “Confidence is a mother*&#$” and Philippians 1:6? Simple. If God gives me an opportunity, it’s my DUTY to step up to the moment with confidence. And when I step into the moment, regardless of whether my confidence waivers along the way or not, I know that HE will be with me and give me all the confidence I need to complete the journey.
CONFIDENCE. The simple bridge from where I am to where God wants me to be.
P.S. If you’re still building your confidence muscles, check out this video. This little girl SLAYS me. 🙂