I sometimes wonder if anyone is truly confident or if we're all just faking it.
Over the course of many years I've worked with thousands of students, the vast majority college aged who are on the verge of embarking on their chosen careers in the world of art. The number one question I get over and over again is how to be confident in yourself and your work, and I have to tell you (steady yourself) I don't know.
If I were to tell you that on the inside I am still a 13 year old boy desperately trying to avoid bullies and just find a spot at the middle school cafeteria where I can just sit and eat my lunch would you be surprised? If you answered yes then I've done a pretty good job of hiding a serious lack of confidence sometimes.
Social circumstances are my weakest point. I'd rather be staring down the lead pipes of a vicious and hungry zombie horde than have to make pleasant conversation in a social setting, because I'm bad at it. REALLY bad. Foot in your mouth bad. Ever wonder why I arrive at a gallery opening well into the opening and then disappear into the night after only about fifteen minutes, because that works best for me. In and out, congratulating the artists, encouraging patrons and then leaving before I trip over the DJ's power cords and hurl head first into the guacamole.
MIDDLE School, or Junior High School as it was called back when Fred Flintstone and I shared a lunchbox, is the single most formative stage of your life. I know this with certainty. That is not to say it's the best time of your life (school wise), it is in fact, not. It is actually the worst time. Now if you have a great time in Middle School bully for you, I mean that, because it's a time where kids are at their meanest, clicks form, social mores are worked out and a class system is established and it basically breaks down into;
1. Kids who have physically matured, or at least outgrown the gangly stage-- they will be the Atlas and Zeus' of the social order.
2. The rest of us who are only a few short years from naptime in Kindergarten and just hoping nobody notices us.
In middle school I was a diminutive 5' 1" tall 110lbs-- my feet wouldn't reach the ground if I sat all the way back in my chair. I spent the better part of my years there either inside a locker or trying to climb out of a plastic trash barrel with some dignity after being tossed in by guys who did not share my physical attributes. By high school I had gained 70lbs of muscle and grown ten inches which made all the difference in the world, but in those middle school years running to classes like a Hobbit on a quest it was a tough life.