Friday, October 23, 2009

The Color of Confidence

I am sitting in the Valladolid train station waiting for my train to leave at 12:40. I have been meaning to write this entry for a while, but I never seem to have the time.  Although I don’t have internet at the moment, I will save this as a word document and then copy and paste it to my blog.

One of the first things I noticed when I got to Valladolid was the color red. Us girls were sitting on the bus that had brought us from Madrid to Valladolid, and we were looking out the windows at our future Spanish Mamás. There was one Mamá with super cute red shoes and a red purse to match. She was my mamá.

That day she toured me around the city. We took the bus, walked around, and she showed me everything that I needed to see in order to survive in this city. Once again, one of the things I noticed was the color red.

Red is everywhere in this city. Women wear red shoes, they have red jackets, red purses, women and men alike wear red pants, even as I’m sitting here waiting for my train, at least three people have red suitcases. What is it about this color that calls out to people? Why do all these Spanish women (and men) have such a fixation with the color?

It’s not just because the color has so many beautiful shades and is such a fashion statement (although that’s a definite bonus). It’s because red is the color of confidence.

Maybe red doesn’t scream “confidence” to you. Maybe you think the color of confidence is blue, or yellow, or green. There is one thing that all of these colors have in common though. Each of these colors is going to catch your eye. Each of these colors is going to cause people to turn their heads and watch you.

I’m sure everybody has experienced this sensation: You wake up in the morning and decide that you are going to put just a little bit more effort into getting dressed. You put on your favorite pair of jeans and a cute shirt… not just the default Hanes white-t that you normally gravitate towards. Maybe you also put on a cute pair of boots or the adorable sandals you bought the other day. What is missing though? Looking a bit better than you do on other days isn’t going to turn heads. Lets face it, that is your goal, right? You want to make people notice you. You want to show them that you have self respect, self esteem, self awareness, and self confidence. When you want people to notice, what do you do? Wear a bright color! No matter if people normally notice you or not, bright colors always catch people’s eyes.

This is why the color red says “confidence” to me. In order to wear red you need to have a certain level of confidence. The color red is what causes people to turn their heads and stare at you. If you are uncomfortable with people looking, you’re not going to wear a color that stands out in a crowd; you are going to wear a color that makes you blend in and fade to the background. Red does just the opposite.

Red is the color of confidence because it says “look world, I’m here and I’m not afraid to be noticed!”

Red is the color of confidence because it is noticeable, and who can make a difference if they fade to the background?

Unfortunately, I am not confident enough to wear red. Yeah, I’ve got that pair of Jessica Simpson red stiletto high heels in my closet. I’ve only worn them once. In high school I had a red Abercrombie sweatshirt that I wore, but I stopped wearing it well, mainly because it was Abercrombie, but also because I didn’t like the way it made me feel like I was the person who was standing out in the crowd. In fact, just yesterday I returned a pair of red flats to the shoe store because I couldn't see myself wearing such bright colored shoes.

I’m working my way up to the level of confidence that will allow me to be the girl in the red shoes and red jacked who catches everyone’s eye. I’ve been paying attention to the red jackets that all the women here wear. Maybe I’ll get one and wean myself away from the mentality that I shouldn’t stand out. Maybe I’ll buy a pair of red shoes that I can wear with dark jeans and a black t-shirt so that just my feet stand out (no pun intended).

Maybe, by the end of this trip, I’ll have the confidence to wear red, strike up a conversation with the cute boy across the aisle on the bus, or stand out in a crowd.

Until then, I’ll sit here in my (super cute) dark grey pea coat and bright teal scarf, hoping I don’t stand out.

But wait… if everybody else is wearing red, and I’m wearing teal, does that mean I am the one who is standing out, not them? Maybe I have more confidence than I think.

I think it takes a certain level of confidence for someone to fly halfway around the world and live in a foreign country for three months. It takes a certain level of confidence to not just learn, but want to learn how to communicate in a language that you weren’t raised speaking. I don’t quite have that confidence yet. It still scares me to death to walk into the grocery store and talk to the lady at the checkout, to communicate with the lady at the cell phone store because Maryn lost hers and can’t figure out how to get a new one, or to talk to my mamá and be able to actually carry on an intelligent conversation without stumbling on my words. Yeah, that all takes confidence and I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. I guess that is one more thing I will add to my list of things to accomplish before I leave Spain.

¿Y tú? What is your color of confidence? What color or accessory do you wear when you want the world to know that you are there and ready to be noticed?

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