On Friday, after work, a couple of us went out to dinner at Field's Old Trail, a hole-in-the-wall bar near work with some of the best cheap, deep-fried food around. I found myself having the following conversation with a coworker:
Coworker: (makes some comment revealing him to be a total dork)
MadAnthony: Sometimes it amazes me that you have a girlfriend
Coworker: You know the difference between you and me? You lack self-confidence.
MadAnthony: I won't disagree with that.
Coworker: See, there you go again. You just meekly accept things. You agree too much.
The thing is that thru my whole life people - friends, roomates, coworkers - have been telling me that I lack self-confidence and that it's the root of all that is wrong in my life. They may be right, but identifying a problem is easy. Solving it is hard.
One of my least favorite things has always been job interviews. There is a reason I ended up working for the college I went to and worked at as a student - because I failed at pretty much every other job interview I went to. I don't think well on my feet, but more importantly it's hard to convince someone that they should hire you when you can't really convince yourself that they would want to hire you, that you have exactly what they need to do a job, when you can't convince yourself that they would want you. I like my job for the most part - the pay is decent, the work environment is good, and the benefits are awesome - but at some point in my life it may make sense to move on - but I doubt I ever will, because it would mean more job interviews, and that's something I don't want to go through.
Dating is another area where my lack of confidence hurts me. Girls want a guy who projects self-confidence, and I project mostly an inability to ever say the right thing, or anything at all. It's especially bad at this point in my life - when I was in college I came into contact with girls my age all the time, so I was at least forced to talk to them, even if it did't really get me anywhere. Now, I rarely come into contact with date-able women - I work in IT, which means that most of my coworkers are guys. I don't go to bars, and even if I did it wouldn't help, because I've become such a lightweight thanks to infrequent drinking and losing weight that after two beers I'm ready to curl up and go to sleep.
I've thought about going the personals route, but I can't really come up with an ad that doesn't make me sound like a total creep/loser. Most of my hobbies - like shopping at yard sales and the clearance sections of stores for cheap stuff to sell on ebay and at Hamfests - aren't exactly panty-droppers. Plus, I'm so broke after buying my townhouse and truck that I can't really afford dates at any place that doesn't have a drive-thru window. But when I start comparing myself to other people, it seems like they are always smarter or better-looking than me, so I can't really come up with any reason why anyone would want to date me over them.
My appearance doesn't help either - my confidence or my skills with the ladies. I'm not as fat as I used to be - I've dropped about 70 pounds in the last 18 months - but I still have a little more belly than I would like to. I'm not sure if the 20 pounds or so that I need to lose to move me from "overweight" to "normal" by government standards are a dealbreaker, but it gives me an excuse in my mind to not do anything until I lose that weight - which has been pretty much unsuccesful for the last 10 months. It also doesn't help that I've yet to replace much of my wardrobe, so I'm stuck either wearing the same clothes every day or wearing clothing that now fits me like putting a car cover from an Escalade over a Prius.
The other limiting thing is that I'm basically a hunchback. My spine curves somewhere below my neck, to the point that my head is sort of next to my shoulders instead of on top of them. When I was in college, I went to a doctor and he said that it was curved, but not enough to justify surgery, and that I should lose weight and do some sit-up type exersizes. Well, I've lost much of the weight, but I haven't done the sit-ups, so maybe that was the dealbreaker. I almost feel like it's worse since I lost weight - I don't know if it's more noticeable now, or just that I notice it more because I find myself looking at my reflection more, like in the mirrors and reflected at the windows at the gym. It sucks though - it makes me look even less confidence, because it make me look like I have the stooped posture of a loser. I probably should get a second opinion eventually, but it's another thing for me to put off.
I feel like I've been pretty sucessful in accomplishing most of my goals - I have a good job, was able to get promoted from helpdesk to desktop support, I finally bought a house on my own, I'm about 6 months away from getting my MBA. But I look at other people and they have nicer houses, bigger cars, better jobs degrees from better schools earned quicker than mine, and I feel depressed and lonely again. It's a vicious cycle, and I know I need to change my mindset, but I don't know how.