The 2nd Cousin of Confidence

My confidence frays and quakes.

Rather quickly. Far too quickly for my liking, at least.

And so I close my eyes and blindly step forward. I tell myself that it’s all for the best. This is the only way to walk. Blindfolded and silent. If I could see what lurked around me, I would choose to turn around. Not because I’m afraid. But precisely because I’ve always made the poor choice of trusting my eyes, my ears, and even my thoughts, sometimes. If I believed everything my mind told me, I’d be a fool, wouldn’t I?

Better to not see, than to see and to be afraid, isn’t it? You might agree, until you stub your toe, of course. Then you might be forced to open your eyes and trust whatever the hell your eyes tell you. But you find out that you didn’t stub your toe on a brick, or on a rock, or even a tiny pebble. You stubbed your toe on the skeleton of someone who went before you. And guess what? They’re blindfolded, too. See? They went in front of you, with their eyes shut and their confidence beating, instead of their hearts.

So I carefully draw the blindfold back over my eyes, and try, miserably, to convince myself that all of that was just imagined. In the back of my mind, though, is a fragment of reality that sticks to my thoughts like a piece of paper glued to a linoleum floor.

But I keep on walking, frankly, because I have nothing else to do, and nowhere else to go. I feel the scrape of the skeleton fingers around my ankles, and stub my toes against all manner of immovable objects. The grasping of my legs and my ankles becomes gripping hands that clutch my shoulders and reach for my neck. My veins cease to pump blood, and now pulse only with fear, insecurity, and that tiny dose of confidence.

I’m nearing the destination, I think, or at least the point I’ve always believed was the destination. But before I get there, I feel a needle poke my skin, and the voice of a doctor telling me that my confidence levels are at an all-time low. I ask him if there is a cure, and he says:

“Some people have tried ignorance. But I’m not so sure about that.”

I tell him I’ll risk it, and I’m pretty sure I’ll make it to where I’m going, anyway. Once I get there, I decide that maybe ignorance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so I take off my blindfold and look back over the path that I just walked.

I expected it to be layered in all kinds of dangers: skeletons and tigers, diseases and viruses, ex-girlfriends and root canals, all siphoning my confidence. But there is none of that. The path is empty. Because confidence is the second cousin of ignorance. Although they rarely see each other, and even more rarely form an alliance, they can, in their own ways, make great aspirations become reality—or terrifying uncertainties become certain.