Tiana Dodson

How do you source confidence?

Published about 1 year ago • 3 min read


Tiana here. Your friendly Body Liberation Facilitator hitting your inbox. I want to start this mail with a big, warm hug. Life is really hard right now, you know?

So now I'm going to jump in with tears in my eyes, because I feel raw and hugs are so welcomed.

Do you ever feel a lack of confidence? Of course you do. If anybody ever tells you anything different, they're bypassing their feelings. You don't have to judge them for that, because you never can tell why a person chooses to respond to something the way they do in the moment. It could be for safety, because they're trying to be positive for you, or maybe something completely out of left field. That's not your business. But I digress.

I ask the above question because it's been my default mode for, oh, maybe years now?!?!? You might be thinking it's totally not possible for me to feel a near constant lack of confidence because I'm out here in the world giving talks, posting on social media, facilitating deep transformative conversations, and stuff like that while showing up as fully as possible as my fat, queer self.

But it's true: I do not feel confident. Like, at all.

Is it a season I'm going through? Maybe.

Is this my new normal? Sadly, yeah. Looks to be so.

And it's been wreaking havoc in my life and my ability to do the things I'm wanting and needing to do. You feel me?

But last night, I had a dream where I was at some sort of banquet (the kind that I was often at in college that made me dread my inability to use allllll the cutlery on those fancily laid tables), and for some reason, I went off at Louis Gossett, Jr. (Why he was in my dream I do not know, but sometimes the ancestors send their messengers and their knowing in mysterious ways.)

The details of the dream trickled away as I rose out of the haze of sleep, but what I remember is that he doubted me in a way that prompted me to jump out of my seat and declare my right to be in that room loudly, boldly, and confidently.

I told [read: ranted] my story of how I'd overcome so much to be allowed into that space. All the challenges I've faced and been able to manage through both sheer will and resourcefulness. All the effort and time I put into refining myself and learning new things. All the achievements I've attained because I keep showing up.

My kid woke me up, mid tirade, and I could feel a well of possibility inside of me that I haven't felt in such a long time.

I have done hard things in the face of folks doubting my abilities, of me doubting my abilities.

And I'm even better at that now than I was before. Because I have developed skills that I can draw from instead of just digging in and hoping for the best.

And that gives me... hope???

I wanted to end this note by saying that I'm feeling confident again today. But that's not completely true. What I am feeling, instead, is capable. And I think that capability is a close cousin to confidence, one that can keep us going in the face of detractors, distractions, and distrust.

I am capable of doing the things I want to do because I can use the skills in my toolbox to figure out how to get them done.

So, with that, Reader, my dear friend, how can you source your own version of confidence? Feel free to reply to this email and let me know. I look forward to witnessing your thoughts.

Here's to finding our way forward,

Tiana Dodson

With a decade as a body liberation facilitator and a lifetime of lived experience as a fat, biracial, queer, neurodivergent person, Tiana Dodson is well-versed in what it is to exist in a multiply-marginalized body. As an active co-creator of the Syllabus for Liberation, her work addresses how personal, community, and global liberation depend upon each other. Through her consulting services, group offerings, and public speaking, Tiana highlights the ways these systems of oppression are bound together and how we can push back against them.

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