Even throughout recovery, one of the hardest things that I've had to find and come to grips with is the idea of confidence. I felt like I was worth nothing, and at the beginning of therapy my self worth was a huge issue that we decided we would tackle in order to make life better for me in the long term. It's been a long, quarter of a year long journey - but I feel as though I'm getting the hang of things. I feel as though now, confidence means very different things to me than I may have first thought and - in having worked that out - I might just have worked out how to achieve it for myself.
Confidence to me used to go hand in hand with a size eight body, with being the prettiest girl in a room and with long blonde hair, perfectly sculpted nails and amazing make up. To me, my self confidence was rooted within my physical appearance - and I felt that my physical appearance was falling short with regards to how it should be; I was always striving to be thinner, striving to be better, blonder, more put together. In trying to make myself this physically "perfect" person, I had only made my mental illness worse - even at my smallest which was this size eight I'd deemed perfect, I was unhappy. I was self conscious still, and I still doubted myself as much.
I now know better. My self confidence isn't rooted in how I look, it's my attitude to that, my attitude to myself. I know now that at a size fourteen I'm more confident than I ever was a size eight - I know what I look good in, I know what I feel good in - and I'm happy to wear that and stride with confidence. I know what make up I like, I know that I like an over the top highlight and so I'll wear that and smile away - I know what makes me feel good, I know what makes me look good in my own eyes; and learning this has made me feel more confident in myself.
It's more than that though - confidence has come from stopping second guessing myself, it's come from learning to accept compliments, from learning that I can be funny without being mean. It's come from my new friends who have been invaluable in helping to support and uplift me, and have helped to completely change how I feel myself. It's come from me realising that I have a voice, and I'm not stupid - it's come from learning that my confidence isn't about what other people feel about me; it's about what I feel about myself, the respect that I have for myself.
So welcome to the new confident Sam, the girl who can say no; the girl who has learned her worth and has no qualms asking people to leave when their toxic attitudes make me feel as though I'm wrong about myself. I have learned a lot - but mostly I've learned that if I see my own worth, other people have to, one way or another. I guess that, finally, I've learned to be confident.