Kaitlyn Huang: Girl Boss Energy

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It's Youth Takeover week at KQED and Kaitlyn Huang is practicing the art of girl boss energy to improve her self-confidence.

A few weeks ago, I was walking with my friend when he pointed down to his shoes.

“Oh!” I exclaimed. “Nice new shoes!” He was devastated, because he had actually been wearing them for weeks and I hadn’t noticed. It was weird that I hadn’t noticed. Then it hit me that I don’t look at people’s shoes anymore. I was dumbfounded.

Back in middle school, I felt like there was an object constantly weighing my head down, making sneakers the lucky recipients of my gaze. It was my Gilded Age of Insecurity, when I looked my best, but felt the worst. I suffered the typical bouts of tween insecurities: You know, the ‘how does one survive among these geniuses’ or, ‘my face… ‘what a horror’. Being insecure felt exhausting.

So, when I stepped onto high school as a freshman, I was determined not to repeat my middle school years. I envisioned a glorious mental revolution to regain my confidence, but I didn’t know how to start. Yet I did know that I should at least look confident.

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So, with nothing to lose, I faked my confidence. Despite struggling with my insecurities, I still decided to channel what our generation calls girl boss energy. I had a simple agenda: Keep my head up, walk with purpose, raise my hand, and speak with actual periods at the end of sentences. It was quite the ordeal. But those consistent actions eventually became habits, making me look more confident by the day.

Soon, I became convinced that I was confident, and this feeling accumulated to the point when, a few days ago, without much thinking, I winked at myself in the mirror and said, “Kaitlyn, you rock.” I was in disbelief.

From my experiences, it’s hard to find inner confidence, but it’s easier to look like you found it. Keep that head up. Speak assertively. Dress the way that makes you feel good. Those are behaviors that naturally tell you that you can –– and will –– have confidence in yourself one day.

With a Perspective, I’m Kaitlyn Huang.

Kaitlyn Huang attends Los Altos High School. Her piece was produced with free curriculum from KQED’s Perspectives Youth Media Challenge.