Why Body Confidence Is Complicated, No Matter Your Size

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ConfidenceComplicated_slidePhoto: Courtesy of Cece Olisa.
Yesterday, I went swimming at the gym. I was a few minutes early for my pool reservation, so I had to wait before I could jump in the water.

“Have a seat,” the lifeguard said with a smile.

I was sitting down, lost in thought, when the hottest guy of all time walked in from the men’s locker room. He was tall, had a great body, and the perfect amount of facial scruff. The minute he walked through the doors, I subconsciously reached over, grabbed my towel, and hugged it around the front of my body so that it covered my stomach.

It'a crazy how I can feel totally confident, until I’m not. And, "confident” is a word that people use to describe me all the time. When someone notices — and then announces — my confidence, it always sounds so final, and so unwaveringly true. But, I think it's important to say that my confidence isn’t as resolute as I’d like it to be.

Sure, I know that my confidence levels have generally increased in the past few years. I used to blog anonymously, and now I regularly post pictures on my Instagram account, and make videos, Internet commenters be damned. But, like most women, my confidence journey hasn’t been a straight line, but rather, a maze of decisions and emotions that I sometimes trip through backwards, with a blindfold on.

I’ve seen external things make me feel confident, like boyfriends, or career success, but I found that those things weren’t good foundations — because once they went away, they took my self-assurance with them. So, when it comes to feeling truly good about myself, I lay the foundation with the things that no one can take from me with a sharp insult alone: my capacity for loving others, my strong friendships, my weird talents.

I’m in the process of building confidence from the inside out, and I'm finding it's more than cute clothes — or even feeling good about how I look in those clothes. Instead, it's about working on being happy with who I am no matter where I work, who I’m dating, or what I look like.

I think of confidence as something that I work toward every day, starting with a blank slate of positive thinking. And, it's always complicated — whether you're plus-sized or not.

You can read more of my Confidence Is Complicated series here.

NEXT: CeCe's Confidence Journey Began Here
On her blog, Plus Size Princess, CeCe Olisa has detailed everything from what it's like to be the only big black girl in a yoga class (fine, thanks!), to her adventures in plus-size dating in the Big Apple. Now, the New York City transplant is lending her poignant, often-hilarious voice to R29.