Intimidating or Insecure?


A close friend of mine once told me that when we first met, she didn’t believe I was confident. She thought I was insecure, but hiding it. A “fake it till you make it” kind of thing. Some other people, strangers this time, have told me, very confidently might I add, that I’m insecure. They say it in a pitiful manner like, “I know you’re insecure but…” It makes me wonder where they get these ideas from. Some say I’m insecure, others say I’m intimidating, so what am I? Intimidating or insecure?

My mother’s friend asked me if I get called intimidating and the question threw me off. My immediate thought was, What about me made her think that? No one had ever asked me that before. When I answered yes, she nodded her head like she understood. Both my mom and her friend then talked to me about how I’m outspoken and sure of myself so people are intimidated. 

Does that not stem from misogynistic and racist ideas? Women are supposed to be soft spoken and obedient and small. Well, I’m a woman and I’m outspoken and pushy about things I believe in and I make my presence known. Black people are supposed to be less than and follow orders and stay out of sight. Well I’m Black and I’m loud and I’m proud and I’m “rebellious.” Don’t forget about me being a child. So not only am I Black, a woman, and a child, I’m a young Black woman. I’m a young Black woman that is seen as intimidating. But wait. I thought I was insecure?

I talked to my dad one time about being told that I was insecure. He seemed offended for me. I racked my brain for what I do to seem that way and then took a step back. Why do I have to do something? Another time, I asked my best friend if I was insecure. I asked him because I was doubting myself and he knew me almost as well as I knew myself. He said that he thought I was because everyone is insecure about something. I got so upset by that response even though he was telling the truth. I thought I was mad at him because I felt as though I wasn’t insecure. In reality, I was mad at myself for doubting my own confidence because a couple people had told me differently. I took that anger out on him and it made me question everything. All my life I’ve been called intimidating, but now I’m insecure. Except I’m not. Not about my looks, anyway. If I’m not insecure then maybe they are. It’s never my place to assume, but I can only see this accusation as a projection of who they want me to be. Is it also a projection of their insecurities? I’m insecure because they are. But what about being intimidating?

I’m intimidating because I’m confident. I’m insecure because I’m confident. I’m intimidating because I have an RBF. I’m insecure because I have a RBF. I’m intimidating because I’m opinionated. I speak too much about stuff so I’m hiding things and I’m insecure. I don’t care about what others think so I’m intimidating. I speak out against rude comments about myself so I’m insecure. I say thank you to compliments so I’m intimidating. I say thank you to compliments so I’m insecure. I’m insecure because I like to make good impressions and try my best. I’m intimidating because I work hard and try my best. I’m insecure because I’m a young Black woman with a backbone and things to say. I’m intimidating because I’m a young Black woman with too much of a backbone and too many things to say. 

Which is it? Intimidating or insecure?

Neither. I’m neither.