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Friday, November 20, 2015

When Did You Lose Your Confidence?

If you were born in the sixties or seventies, you’d remember when local television shows broadcasted afternoon shows where they’d invite the local, feral children to appear on the telly with a glamorous hostess and the mandatory clown and do pretty boring things in the name of entertainment.

Our local television station (situated on top of a mountain) had one such show and somehow when I was seven years old and my sister, Sam, was four, my parents managed to get us on to the show.

I remember I was a ball of excitement all the way up the mountain that day. I was about to meet Sam the Clown and Rosemary, the famous and glamorous hostess.

The journey back down the mountain after the show was a different story. 

Nobody spoke. So deeply ashamed of my attention-seeking performance, my mother sat with her teeth clenched in humiliation, not able to acknowledge her eldest daughter after her abominable display of exhibitionism.

That’s how I remember it anyway.

We were given goody bags with coke bottles and chips and stuff, but they tasted bitter with my mother’s eyes boring resentfully into my forehead as I tentatively consumed them when we arrived back home.

“You were a disgrace, Pinky!” I remember her saying. “Why did you have to be such a loud mouth, show off?”

The next day, as we were lining up outside my grade two classroom, one of my young peers commented, “I saw you on the telly last night. My mum said you looked like a cheeky brat.”

My teacher, Miss Callaghan (a pious bitch who had a brown perm and a dour expression) nodded in agreement. 

The jury was out. I’d been a tarnish on the honour of all seven year olds in the city and brought shame on my family and the population of the town.

I don’t really know what I did. Probably talked too much… maybe tried to steal the scene… perhaps slapped the clown...

I was SEVEN!

Anyway, after that experience I sort of went into a shell. If the world didn’t like me then I’d just enjoy me by myself, I thought.

Of course, my parents deny any of this happened... but I remember. It's like a deep festering wound.

This is why, as a teacher of young kids, I never trample on the cheeky, quirky loud mouths. I applaud over-confident little kids. I treasure eccentricity.

True confidence and originality is a rare commodity.

Give me the naughty kids any day.

When was your confidence stifled?