Letting go of my insecurities has been one of the hardest journies in my life. Everybody has insecurities, but some of us know how to embrace them sooner than others. Personally, it took me a while. I’m certain where they started. Most of mine stem from school as early as 4th grade. I grew up dirt poor in the hoods of Milwaukee and Jackson, TN. My mom wasn’t perfect, nobody’s is, but one thing she provided to me was a safe place to be myself. I could laugh and play, listen to NSYNC and Britney Spears. I could watch the Million Man March on TV, listen to Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu to enlighten my mind. I felt safe at home for a while. School was different. I was constantly teased and taunted in school and by my some of my family for being ‘different.’ I didn’t walk, talk or act like the other guys in my school. I was smart as fuck, shy by nature and hung around all women, yet I had a quirkiness to me that made me stand out. I wasn’t aware of any of this, I just wanted to be myself and fit in. Every time I tried to embrace who I was my manhood, masculinity and intelligence was constantly called into question. This led me to be very insecure in who I was growing up. I always questioned every step I took. If I walked like this, would I be ridiculed? If I talked like this, would I stopped being teased? It overtook my brain to the point where I couldn’t think straight. The only thing I would think about was being accepted. At an age where children developed their identity and who they are, I lost mine and it took me half my life to get it back.
I’m sure you would love details, but I’ll save that for my best seller I write after I win by 2nd Emmy and get my first Oscar Nod. Letting go of those insecurities has been a battle I’ve been battling my entrie life. There are a few steps i can share that I’ve been learning along my journey:
1. Get out of your head
This was big for me. I used to be so obsessed with what people thought of me and how I looked. These thoughts took over my life until I just got out of my head. I learned a trick from my friend about replacing every negative thought with something positive.
2. Dig down to the root
Dealing with the root of a problem is always helpful. The root of my manhood issues was my lack of father or male role models. I always felt inadequate and ‘less than’ the other guys. Once I found out the reasons behind these insecurities, I was able to actually understand them.
3. Changing what you can
I had a real issue with the way I spoke and my voice. I had a stuttering problem as a child and it took a long time for me to get over. It made me insecure about the way i spoke. Once I learned how to speak, I couldn’t anunciate my words and spoke to fast. Once I got to college and the real world, I got so tired of people telling me to repeat myself. I worked really hard on my voice. Change what you can about yourself. If your issue is your weight, start working out. If your issue is the way you dress, go shopping. It sounds cliche but working to change your insecurities in stead of sitting around griping about them is a lot more productive.
4. Accepting what you can’t change
This is the hard part for some. I tried to bend, shape and move myself to fit in with my classmates and collegues. I put on this fake facade that people eventually saw straight through. I can’t be like every one else, I realized. All I can be is Romane. Once I accepted this, I let go. If you can’t change something about yourself, like having a big head or webbed feet (I kid) accept it. Be real with yourself.
5. Realizing You’re not the only one
You aren’t the only one feeling the way you do. Every body in some form or facet feels insecure about something. It’s human nature. We often think we’re the only ones with this particular problem when, in fact, we are one of many. Hearing others stories and journies will make you feel better and not alone. You aren’t alone.