140/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. People look at me today and think I just ooze confidence and have always been like this. If you’ve read a few of my blog posts, you no doubt realize that the “me” you see has traveled a hard road to get to where he is today but done it with a smile and never the “woe is me” attitude. At times I feel that I overcompensate with my outgoing personality and attention to detail in regards to my appearance as I feel that geeky, overweight, awkward, teenager will make some sort of spontaneous appearance and unravel all that I have worked hard for – I mean, I see him every so often in the mirror still lurking after so many years. Maybe he’s there to serve as a reminder – and that’s actually a good thing. In my teen years as I was starting to physically shed him, I also started to gain confidence and was able to secure part-time student jobs based on my personality but the first job based more on my looks and how I presented myself was at Bootlegger, the jeans store, in Richmond Centre. I have no idea what gave me the courage to apply for that job but I did and that manager at the store was wonderful. She talked with me and asked me questions about who I am and why I wanted to work in the clothing industry as my only job experience up until then was at McDonald’s. I was honest with her about my pre-teen/teenage years and perhaps feeling sorry for me, she offered me the job. I was ecstatic – this was the ego-boost that this guy needed until I realized who I was working with and the intimidation factor set in: the best looking crop of teenage/young adults preceding A&F by about two decades. I really had to quickly fake the confidence. I was in awe of the people I worked with and just to be basking in their aura – yes, that was how great a deal it was for me. And then, the manager decides to cast me in Bootlegger’s Christmas fashion shows to be held at a few malls in the Vancouver area. There is only so much a person can fake and I really didn’t know what was happening as I was way out of my element. Always the risk-taker, I did it – I got advice, I got taught how to walk, how to dress and undress in seconds, how to turn, all of it and I loved it. I loved the attention I got (which I honestly longed for growing up) all due to this manager at Bootlegger who just gave me a chance and had no clue what she did for my ego. Yes, I may currently put an overemphasis on my appearance – I am the king of selfies and change my look more than some change their underwear 😉 – but it’s because that shy, overweight, unconfident boy is in the shadows always reminding me of who I could still be and this may be my way of keeping him at bay. You might me thinking that this blog post must be the most shallow gratitude post and I can agree with you but allow me this one so you can understand who I am today and what brought me to this point. Thank you Bootlegger manager for making me feel validated based on my looks. I needed that then. It allowed the rest of my confidence to flourish. This selfie is in honour of you!