Photograph from The Oprah Magazine
Tremendously Confident & Tremendously Human - The phrase stuck out to me as I went back to one of my favorite books - Becoming Michelle by Michelle Obama. One might question my fondness for it, the case being that it’s after all just another autobiography. I agree. Maybe it's more to do with the people they ‘became’ as the title suggests. It’s about the unfolding of their journey, a first-hand account of what the ‘becoming’ looked and felt like.
Michelle uses this term in the context of two women whom she’s lovingly written about. I found myself instantly reaching out for my pencil and underlining them. Four simple words had moved me to the core. That’s what Michelle is about, I smiled.
A lot of food for thought here. I’m sure you will find this relatable to your lives in many ways. In a patriarchal society, the energy of confidence seems to be too masculine and almost bereft of warmth. Perhaps this is why Michelle felt the need to put it that way.
There was a period, about two years back, when I was struggling with the same dichotomy - feeling too confident and therefore less human and definitely a lot less feminine at the same time. It seemed like an odd feeling for an urban, upper-middle-class and post-graduate girl, and yet I couldn’t deny being consumed by it.
Luckily, back then, I was working on a few personal goals under the mentorship of a woman, whom I’ve come to admire deeply, and consider one of the closest friends (if I may) now. She helped me bring together, feeling confident, human, and feminine as natural and integral parts of myself.
Once these aspects had been smoothly integrated within my being, I shortly attracted the opportunity of showcasing my collection at India’s coveted Lakme Fashion Week. I went on to design my most feminine and commercially successful collection. Why I conjoin the two things is because I am an ardent believer in ‘my internal world creating and reflecting my outer world to me,’ but that’s a subject suited more to metaphysics, which is outside the scope of my article.
Those months, I’d invested in learning about embracing the energy of confidence with the warmth and kindness that is only capable of humans. And this has formed the foundation of the life that I am creating right now. I learned, for the first time in twenty-eight, years, that my kindness and compassion could fuel my confidence, rather than the popular conception of weakening it.
I was introduced to a new way of feeling sure of myself. This feeling could be best described as raw power but that which is tamed, grounded, controlled, and disciplined. There was space to feel both - the abstractness and the certitude that comes with being human. I learned that confidence could co-exist with softness and delicacy. I learned that tenderness of heart was more rooted in self-confidence compared to building walls for self-defense. I learned to build relaxed confidence by accepting my natural grace and femininity.
As I write this, I can’t help but marvel at the emotional intelligence that Michelle has displayed by her insightful selection of words:
"Tremendously Confident & Tremendously Human."
Hmm. I wonder if you feel it as deeply as I do.
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