Thursday, June 20, 2013

Show Off Your Skivvies: Gaining Confidence and Power

So after I posted my long rant, I was feeling pretty confident about everything. I already have a few things in mind that I want to make (and I'll post soon about where you can find great patterns and ideas), but after a few hours, I was like, "UNDERWEAR??? I can't post pictures of myself in my underwear! What was I thinking?"

Another swimsuit picture - just to get
me more comfortable with posting them.
But then after a bit of panic, reason came back and reminded me that if I'm willing to pose in a bikini, I should be just fine in underwear. Also, if I do get terribly nervous for some reason, I can still post them to the flickr group since it's strictly just us lovely sewers in there.

We shall see!

However, when you've grown up with body issues like I have, thinking about stripping down for essentially the first time may make you a little light headed and somewhat nauseous and want to back out. (I mean, gosh, that just happens when I go to the beach - let alone post photos for people to see!) The whole point of this is to make us feel more confident and more powerful, but to be honest, thinking about doing something like this can also have the exact opposite effect.

Friends, I understand.

Do you watch Ted Talks? I really enjoy what is essentially a series of lectures. But because that's what it is, I always put off watching them. But bookmark this page right now because you NEED to watch this 21 minute Ted Talk.

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist who studies prejudice and stereotyping and in this specific Ted Talk, she tells us about an experiment she did with "power posing." Common psychology knowledge (I think?) is that women tend to shrink themselves up and make themselves small whereas men, especially "alpha males," take up a lot of space.

The result is that men get more attention, are usually more liked, have better grades/salaries/positions in life, and annoyingly get to take up 2 seats on the train (and a 3rd if they have a briefcase!).

We know all this, or at least scientists and psychologists do, as well as people like me who dream of going to grad school for psychology. But what does that mean for the rest of us who feel powerless and increasingly resentful and angry?

Okay, so Amy Cuddy explains in the video that holding one of the power poses for 2 minutes (say, in the bathroom or elevator or wherever you feel comfortable) can not only make you feel more powerful but it actually changes your hormones:

It increases your testosterone (so you feel more powerful and capable) and it lowers your cortisol levels (so there's less stress and anxiety).

This is a huge breakthrough, especially for someone like me who is trying to take control of my life and not just be lost and confused and end up a casualty of a bustling NYC. I was actually watching this and I thought, "This is a great idea. I don't think I'm going to do it."

Then Amy casually let it slide that one of the weakest things a person can do is hold their neck, especially as they're collapsing into themselves. I DO THAT ALL THE TIME! And I'm always stressed out and upset and, you guys, I fake confidence a lot, but mostly I just want to run and hide. And what Amy was suggesting was also faking confidence, but her way had real results! Eventually I can become more confident and powerful like I used to be.

So I've been doing the power poses every day this week in the shower. And I don't know if it's actually working or if it's a placebo effect (does it matter?), but I feel so much better. In fact, yesterday was the day I forgot to do them, and it was by far the worst day I've had in awhile. Coincidence? I think not.

So I want to share this with you. Already feeling confident and powerful? Do it anyway - the world needs more badass women. I don't want to hear any excuses. Do it every day, and do it right before your photoshoot in your underthings if you need to.

I can't wait to see everyone's creations! I'm hoping to bust out some French Knickers this weekend, and if I'm lucky, I'll start a swimsuit or two. I found an awesome tutorial about making undies from your fabric scraps too - so maybe that'll become another project? I'm going to put together a resource list soon if you are looking for ideas.

And be on the lookout for a swimsuit pattern giveaway from Ashley tomorrow! It will be posted on Craft Sanctuary so check back!


  1. yes please do post pattern suggestions I am not sure what I want yet!

    1. I hope to have some up early next week at the latest!

  2. holy cow. how about i do a power pose in the middle of the hotel lobby every morning at breakfast?

    this is awesome.

  3. Oh, how wonderful you are gaining confidence! Kitty and I are sending positive, power vibes to you. Although, it's funny, I never really had body image issues growing up, or even now, BUT, as I'm participating in a Swimsuit Sewalong, I thought to myself, "I'm not going to post pics of me in my bikini on my blog!!" I think it was more a modesty issue, but really, it comes from the same place. Somehow getting the idea that our bodies should be 'hidden'. So, I may pose in the bathing suit, not sure yet. ;) Will have to look at the Show us your skivvies sewalong had not heard of it.

    1. Thank you for the positive vibes coming my way! That's so funny that you mention modesty because I actually thought about modesty (hence the private flickr group) and was wondering how often that would cause people to refuse to join the challenge. If you feel comfortable in your new swimsuit (do more power poses! ;-)) I would love to see it on you! I'm still trying to pick out a swimsuit pattern - but I bought enough fabric that I may be able to make 2 or 3...