So if you follow me on Twitter @BronwenCarlyle, you’ll probably have already read this story more times than you care to, but I promise I’ll say something about it more than “ermigerd I met a celebrity.” Yesterday when I was flying home to visit my family, I ran into the hockey player Robert Bortuzzo, formerly a Pittsburgh Penguin who just got traded away to St. Louis, which in my opinion is a great loss and a terrible decision for Pittsburgh. But anyway, I happened to share a brief plane ride with him and also managed to snag a picture as proof, since otherwise no one would ever have believed me.
But rather than me gushing on like a giddy schoolgirl (which let’s face it, is how I acted because I was so starstruck), I want to instead talk about confidence and personal appearance and Murphy’s bloody Law.
Very rarely do I leave the house with no makeup on. There are many reasons for that. One, I just like makeup. I enjoy putting it on and I enjoy the way it makes me look and feel. Two, I always feel much more confident when wearing makeup. If I have on a pair of heels and some red lipstick, there is nothing I can’t do. And finally number three, it never fails that if I leave the house without makeup on or just wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt (which I almost never wear out because in the same way that I love lipstick and heels, I also love dresses and jewelry), I will inevitably run into someone I know and someone before whom I would prefer not to be wearing ratty old sweatpants.
So of course when I ran into the NHL hockey player in the airport, I was wearing “airport clothes” or “I’m-tired-and-dehydrated-and-just-want-to-get-home-clothes” and had no makeup on. Which I’ll be honest is why it’s me it took me an entire flight plus ten minutes of deboarding the plane to work up my courage to run up to him and tell him how much I love him and think he is an amazing player and I’m a huge fan and would he take a picture with me. I have a feeling that if I had been wearing lipstick and heels per usual, it would’ve taken me about two minutes to work up my nerve to do all this.
The point of all this is to say that while I love being dressed up, I certainly should not have to be all dressed up to have confidence. When I was relating this story to my best friend, she was quick to point out that even when I’m not wearing my confidence heels, I basically always am. I guess it’s just hard to remember that all the time.
The point of all this is to say-well, many things- but thinking especially in terms of my writing, I find myself often wanting to be more like (some) of the characters I create. Thinking of my female characters alone, they are all wearing confidence heels even when they’re not. Even when they’re terrified or insecure or overwhelmed, they have the ability (even if they don’t always use it) to tap into some deep power. Now I don’t want to go all “I am woman hear me roar” but: Rawr.
My female characters are by far my most powerful. And it doesn’t matter if they are wearing sweatshirts or ballgowns or tiaras or sneakers, they are powerful simply because they are powerful. Sometimes it takes a while for them to realize this power but even then, that doesn’t mean they have to change their appearance in any way to look more traditionally feminine (whatever that means, that’s so culturally loaded).
They are powerful because they believe they are powerful. Here’s to hoping I can learn something from my own creations.