One thing I deal with a lot as a plus-size blogger and self-professed fatty is treading the fine line between being confident and being conceited. Last week an off-the-cuff comment of mine on an XOVain article got another commenter all bothered.
The story in question was the Dove sketch artist parody with the beauty editors describing themselves as total hotties. I remarked that I too would have described myself as being super hot and attractive. If you know me personally or have read my blog for any amount of time then you would have immediately recognized my light-hearted tone. However, one reader did not, and he lashed out at me for being conceited and for making less attractive people feel bad about themselves.
|Oh, Glamour Shots- why do you mock me?|
Caked on make-up, bushy brows, buck teeth.
At first I was certain this was a joke, but no, he was serious. So I clarified myself in another comment, but I’m still not satisfied. I’ll be honest. I was royally pissed off, and I try very, very ,VERY hard to avoid controversy on the internet. I don’t like engaging with trolls or name calling. The point of this post is not for you to run in and defend me on the other site (though several women did and for that I will be eternally grateful), but instead I want to open up a dialogue about the differences between confidence and conceit.
I have never considerate myself a conceited person, so it was a bit of a surprise to have someone call me out on my "conceitedness" in a public forum. As soon as my baby teeth fell out, I was endowed with huge bucked teeth. Right around the same time, my hormones took over and I began battling terrible acne. So I was a fifth grader with awful skin and goofy teeth. Newsflash, kids are friggin’ MEAN! I was tormented throughout elementary, junior high and high school. Nothing like a girl pointing out your zits to make you want to crawl in a hole and die. Or the guy I had a huge crush on telling me he would NEVER date me because I was a “pizza-faced vampire who wore too much make-up.”
|Pizza-faced vampire wearing too much make-up... yep. He forgot to talk about my AWFUL hair!|
17 years old
I suffered from low self-esteem issues for years. To cope I tried to find acceptance. I dressed in baggy, over-sized clothes that the other school “freaks” wore. I let my long hair cover my face as much as possible and rarely looked people in the eyes. I mumbled a lot, and on the rare occurrence of a smile, I always covered my mouth up to hide my teeth. We couldn’t afford braces or trips to the dermatologist, so I had to deal with it. I literally remember falling asleep with my fingers pushing against my stubborn teeth- trying to push them flat – and praying to God, “Please please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let me be pretty.” I usually fell asleep during my litany of “pleases.” I woke up every morning, the same- ugly.
|The day I got braces- the ONLY close up of my teeth|
25 years old
It was a subtle shift through the years from self-loathing to self-loving. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when I started feeling beautiful. It’s a work in progress. I wake up plenty of mornings and see my reflection and think to myself “Ugh.” But I also spend a fair amount of time looking at that same reflection, and thinking to myself, “Girl, you so fine!” Confidence and conceit aren’t even lines on the same page as far as I am concerned.
Confidence is defined as “belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance”
I AM confident. I believe in myself! And on days when I don’t, I pretend I do. How can anyone else love me if I don’t love myself? What kind of teenager and adult will my son be if I hate myself and criticize my looks in front of him? What about the struggling teenage girls I am responsible for and to- don’t I want them to have a positive role model?
On the other hand, conceit is defined as “an excessively favorable opinion of one's own ability, importance, wit, etc”
So what’s the difference between the two? When do you cross the line between believing in yourself and excessively believing in yourself? Is it when you look in the mirror and say to your reflection, “Girl, you so fine.”? Is it when you refuse to live by what other people tell you to believe about yourself? Is it when you finally stop seeing that self-conscious unattractive teenager in your mind’s eye?
For me, and when you are dealing with vague definitions like the ones I’ve shared above there’s a lot of room for personal opinion, the difference is this:
Confidence is feeling beautiful no matter what other people think about you. Conceit, though, is feeling beautiful and expecting everyone else to think you are too. I guess for some people the two aren’t distinct enough to separate. I am fifty pounds overweight- most people will not find that attractive, and that is okay because my confidence comes from within, not without. I have super short hair- most people will not find that attractive, and that is okay because I like it.
If I let what other people think about me dictate my life, then I am no better than I was 15 years ago. So what do you think? Is it wrong to think of yourself as beautiful? Or does it become wrong when you proclaim to others that you think you are beautiful? Where do you draw the line?
|Damn, girl! You so fine! Trend-setting at 12.|
Suede coat, tights and cut-off shorts
Oh, yeah, and a friggin' beret!