Silversmith + owner, Mean Right Hook
what does confidence mean to you?
Confidence is totally owning who you are. Everything from your feelings, opinions, emotions, fashion choices. No apologies. No explanations. Being genuinely comfortable with yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re positive all the time or you’re everyone’s favorite person. If you’re sad, you own that. If you’re nervous, you own it. You’re not out there trying to make other people comfortable. You’re being real with yourself and everyone else.
Growing up in St. Louis as a mixed race Native American I was riddled with insecurities. Always being asked, “What are you?” makes you feel less than human. Having to explain my identity to others, only for them to tell me I don’t fit the stereotype in their head. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I didn’t have to explain myself so I could be put into a category in someone else’s mind. I can unapologetically be who I am, even if that’s never going to be enough for some people.
When is your first memory of feeling confident?
One of my earliest memories of being confident was in high school when I found a subject I was passionate about and actually excelled in.
When is your first memory of feeling insecure?
One of my first memories of feeling insecure was in grade school. I always felt different than everyone. I never felt like I fit in any where, no matter how hard I tried.
What makes you feel most confident now?
What makes me feel confident now is doing my work as a silversmith. It’s given me an outlet to express myself as an indigenous woman in ways I never had before. I’ve been able to connect with so many incredible people I would have never met through sharing my work. It’s been a life changing experience finding my passion.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF?
Making the decision to start silversmithing. I held myself back for so long because I was worried about what other people thought of me. When I decided to believe in myself and not care about those people is the moment I’m most proud of.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Take more risks and believe in yourself. You’re never going to get anywhere by stopping yourself before you even start.
How are you using your platform to make a difference?
By openly sharing my work and my culture on social media I’ve been able to bring some awareness to important issues Native Americans face today. Even by just sharing my work I’m showing people we’re still here. I didn’t realize how important that was until I participated in a craft show where a woman told her child that there was no way I was a “real Indian” because they didn’t exist any more.
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