If you look in the dictionary under the word “confidence” most likely you’ll find a picture of my junior year roommate, Laura Beth. She was goal-oriented, hard charging, commanding, focused, and ran our hallway with the skill of a drill sergeant.
She was ROTC.
Those girls were hard-core.
I was not ROTC.
That would have required me to exercise.
I was just starting to come into my own about my junior year. I was fresh off a breakup of a two-year relationship, I had just started making a few close friends here and there, but I was still pretty reserved and wallflowery at the time. One night as we were sitting around the dorm room, LB, in her inimitable fashion said, “Sus, I need to tell you something. You have GOT to hold your head up, girl.”
I looked at her like she was crazy because I had no idea what she was talking about. When I asked her to explain what she meant, she told me that she had observed me in the cafeteria that day.
“Susan, do you realize that when you walk across the cafeteria, you never look up? Your head is down, you don’t look around at other people, you avoid eye contact, and you act like you’re afraid to be in there.”
I have to admit, I was a teeny bit afraid of the meatloaf.
Parts of it were unrecognizable and scary.
Food issues aside, you know what?
She was 100% right.
I wasn’t confident. I didn’t want to be in that cafeteria. I didn’t have the nerve to just sit down next to anybody. I didn’t think people liked me. I didn’t know how to approach people, and after two years of being there, I didn’t know that many people because my life had revolved around my now non-existent boyfriend.
Laura Beth continued. “Head up, shoulders back from now on. You have nothing to hide from and nothing to be afraid of. If I catch you slouching in the cafeteria again, I’m going to call you out on it in front of everybody.”
With that one little conversation, she
put the fear of God in me changed my outlook .
I started walking taller, looking people in the eye, engaging others around me, and my world opened up, all because of my bossy roommate who loved me enough to express confidence in me and speak truth to my life.
I meant to tell her this story when we had lunch together in Cary last week, but after eighteen years of not seeing each other, we had a lot of catching up to do about everything else and I didn’t get around to mentioning how significant that thirty-second dorm room conversation was in my life. I’m remedying that now.
Thanks, Laura Beth. You set me on a new path and gave me the boost I needed to go forth and conquer.
Or at least walk across a room.
You can hold your own head high knowing you’re the best bossy roommate I ever had.
Have a nice day.