It has occurred to me of late, there are two groups of people in the world – those who follow the “I can’t” path, and those who follow the, “Why can’t I?” path. For better or for worse, I happen to fall into the more extreme echelon of the latter classification, also known as the, “It would simply not occur to me that I couldn’t” grouping. It is a path not without sharp objects on which to stub toes and deep sink holes from which to struggle out. But it has been thus.
One morning when I was about four years old, my mom was approached by the Helms Bakery man, who delivered bread and baked goods to our house every couple of days. The man informed my mom that I had been regularly purchasing donuts – jelly donuts to be exact – my downfall to this day – from him for weeks. And that in fact, I had set up a charge account. I was four!
Understandably, this information both astonished and perturbed my mother. Later that day she confronted me to find out who on earth told me I could buy jelly donuts from the Helms Bakery man, let alone set up a charge account. I responded, simply, “no one told me I couldn’t.” It was not an expression of entitlement. It was confidence. Confidence instilled by a mother who raised me with the crystal clear knowledge that I could do anything I wanted if I put my mind to it and didn’t hurt anyone. In my 4-year old life, that meant I could eat jelly donuts that I charged on my Helms Bakery account.
Of course, you always want to temper this kind of bravado with humility and respect which, when I was younger, I could fake pretty well as a necessary means to an end. While this charade never got past my siblings, who continue to call me the brat, ultimately it is this innate ability to be…happy… that has gotten me through the lights and darks of my life. It is this, my preferred world view that took over at the lowest point of my life, sparking me to seek the positive and not be swallowed by all the negative, that picked me up, dusted me off, wiped my tears and sent me packing on my next adventure, with a new-found confidence in my…confidence.
At this point in my life, my exuberance is slightly less overt, hopefully less smug, though some would disagree. The bravado has been tempered with its sometimes inappropriate half sister, Make them Laugh and her under-rated twin, Make them Feel Good. I’ve come to recognize the gift I’ve had all these years, the gift my mom instilled in me every time she looked at me with a smile in her eyes and laughed at my antics, even if they were somewhat…inappropriate. I see others who do not have the bounce in their step, and I feel for them. My mission now is to pass along some of this confidence that has served me so well all my life. Pay it forward, or sideways or whatever. All part of my master plan, of course, to populate the world with people who dance naked down paths of confidence.