The time I kicked social anxiety in the butt… and sang at my best friend’s wedding!!!

SPEAK MOSTLY TO JULIE AND CHANTA.
SLOW. BREATHE. CHILL.
EVERYONE GETS NERVOUS.
DO THIS FOR JULIE.
MIC FOLLOWS MOUTH.

Those were the first notes I wrote to myself at the top of my maid-of-honour speech for my best friend Julie’s wedding in July 2019.

Me and the beautiful bride before the ceremony. Thank you, Julie, for letting me share these photos and details of your special day!!! Photo by MP Photography

The speech started as most do:

Hi everyone, I’m Sadie, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting most of you before the last couple of days, but I have had the great privilege of being Julie’s best friend since we were 4 years old [… ] I really wanted to do something crazy and creative for this speech, but I thought I’d probably be too nervous. And I was right. So we’ll keep it sweet and simple.

Except that last part was a big fat lie.

Because for some reason, a few weeks before the wedding, I had decided that I was going to:

  1. write a wedding-themed parody of the song You’re Welcome from Disney’s Moana,
  2. not tell this to anyone who would be at the wedding, except the DJ, and
  3. sing my speech to Julie in front of the 120-odd guests.

Me.

The girl who was diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder in 2018.

So… why?

A few reasons:

  1. I love to write, especially funny-creative things like parodies and limericks.
  2. When I was researching ideas for maid-of-honour speeches, I stumbled across a few great examples of song parodies on YouTube, like this one, and they super inspired me to go all out.
  3. Julie has always been extremely supportive and encouraging about my writing, so I thought she would find it extra special if I wrote something for her.
  4. I thought it would make people laugh, which is another thing I find really validating.
  5. I was about a year into my social anxiety recovery and feeling a little adventurous.
  6. I heard a quote somewhere once about becoming a person who speaks even when their voice is shaking. I want to be like that.
  7. Mostly I just thought (hoped) Julie would love it, if I could pull it off.

Anyway, I got to the end of the intro part of my speech — which was the decoy “speaking part,” although it still had lots of true stuff in it about how amazing Julie is — and started my sneaky transition into the song:

BREATHE AND SLOW
[…] I thought it would be fitting to end by thanking Chanta for being such a wonderful partner to a woman who means the world to me.

BREATHE AND BE PLAYFUL
But theeen, I thought about it again, and I realized that what I actually want to say to the new husband of my dearest friend is… You’re Welcome.

And then, the next cue in my notes was this:

“MUSIC STARTS. BREATHE. YOU GOT THIS.”

Except the music that started playing through the speakers was wrong.

I had sent the DJ the instrumental (aka no singing by Dwayne Johnson) version of the song… and I had rehearsed and rehearsed the perfect time to start singing.

But then… when I was about to start singing… The Rock’s voice started singing Maui’s lyrics.

I asked the DJ if we had the instrumental.

He tried again…

The Rock’s voice rang out once more. I cannot compete with Maui, shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, hero to men (and women).

So… yeah.

I did it a cappella.

My croon face. Photo by MP Photography

Because there was NO WAY I was not singing my song for Julie.

And you know what?

IT WENT REALLY, REALLY WELL.

I was shaking and nervous, though somewhat helped by my pre-song glass-and-a-half of wine. (I am wary of using alcohol as a crutch but… look, I was about to sing in front of 120 mostly-strangers and I did not want my jaw to be rattling and my face to be twitching the whole time the way they were during the ceremony.)

THE POINT IS — I DID IT.

She liked it 🙂 🙂 🙂 Edited to add: Julie read this and instructed me to change “liked” to “loved” hehe xoxo | Photo by MP Photography

This experience reinforced an important truth:

Social anxiety

is not

a personality trait.

There are plenty of people without social anxiety who would never even want to sing a parody they’d written in front of a crowd. It’s just not something everyone would have an interest in doing.

But I did. Performing, writing, singing, sharing my work — these are all things that, puzzlingly, I enjoy and crave.

Social anxiety has been the barrier to all those forms of expression… until I started tearing that barrier down.

Social anxiety CAN get better.

I always thought recovery meant no longer feeling afraid. But I’ve come to accept that it might look more like feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

What if instead of wasting our energy trying to stifle our fears and condemn ourselves for them, we put our energy into doing the things we want to do… while scared?

I know it’s harder than it sounds (believe me), and some days it will just be too much.

But it is possible, and it gets easier.

If we can learn to sing even when our voices are shaking, we can take our power back from social anxiety.

If we can learn to sing even when our voices are shaking, we can take our power back from social anxiety.

The laughing faces of Julie and Chanta were EVERYTHING I dreamed of and hoped for.
Photo by MP Photography

I wasn’t planning on ever sharing this story… but now that I’m doing this social anxiety blog, it seemed like a really good chance to talk about facing fears and rolling with the punches.

So. Long story short. Want to see the video?

BECAUSE JULIE JUST SENT ME THE VIDEO CLIP.

I have been having a bit of anxiety about sharing this now, when the world is in crisis. I don’t want to come across as tone deaf. But then I thought — maybe it’s nice to have a funny distraction, too.

So that is where my brain is at now. And also:

A note about panties

The video starts with me talking about my panties, and I feel I should explain this.

Julie’s dad had done his toast/gentle roast first, and he made some jokes about how Julie and I apparently went through a phase of being not-so-fond of panties in our youth.

So I saw it as a fun opportunity to segue from his toast and break the ice for mine.

The best man went after me and he also made a panties joke. It was perfect and hilarious.

The song itself starts around 3:19. 🙂

Aaaaand here’s the video!!!

And here are the lyrics for anyone who might be interested 🙂

I see what’s happening here
You’re face to face with greatness, and it’s Julie
You don’t even know how you feel
She’s adorable
Well it’s nice to see she’s joined your family
 
Open your eyes, let’s begin
Yes, it’s really me, her matron, breathe it in
I know she’s a lot, her hair, her eyes
She’s your Canadian paradise.
 
What can I say except you’re welcome
For this girl who makes great pies
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome
She’s just an ordinary Julie Hy
 
Hey, who has two thumbs and married his bride
And we all understand why
This Hy
As you guys get old
We know your love will only grow
She’s nuts about you, bro
 
Oh, also she’s second to none
You’re welcome
She’s cute and special and she’s fun
I know you’ll treat her so great
Ya better
Or best friend mode will activate
 
So what can I say except you’re welcome
From the Murphies and the Beaudries
There’s no need to pray it’s okay
You’re welcome
Ah, I know you’re gonna live so happily
 
You’re welcome
You’re welcome
Well, come to think of it
Sean, honestly I can go on and on
I can explain every Julie phenomenon
But my lips are sealed cause WOW
It’s too late now that you’ve said your vows
She’s the real deal
No ifs or buts
But it’s so funny when she mini-putts
What’s the lesson
What is the take-away
Don’t mess with Julie when I have to fly away
OH the love and the joy from within
We can’t wait for your life to begin
Look at our grins
Pretty soon we’ll be clappin’
Look at that beautiful bride just a tippitty-tappin’ I’m singin and rappin n dont know what’s happ’nin’
Ha, ha, hey!
 
Well, anyway let me say you’re welcome
For this woman we all love so
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome
Well, come to think of it, I gotta go
 
Hey, it’s your day to say you’re welcome
Cause I’m gonna need a drink
I’m running away, away
You’re welcome
‘Cause Sadie can do anything but sing
You’re welcome
You’re welcome
And thank you!

Wedding photo used in feature image is by MP Photography

Socially Distant Solidarity: Family Adjustments & the Microscopic Elephant in the Room

Things I’ve learned and/or confirmed this week:

About myself

Photo by Luis Ruiz from Pexels
  • I hate following a schedule. (I used to like building schedules, but never followed them. Now I hate the building part, too.)
  • Not having a schedule makes it hard to get through housebound days with two kiddies.
  • Trying to sit down to make a schedule triggers my perfectionism.
  • A bad schedule is better than no schedule, they say.
  • Speed is better than perfection, they also say.
  • There’s a difference between how I used to think of the word “crisis” most of the time and what a real “crisis” actually looks like. We’re there now — but does crisis exist on a spectrum? They say it will get worse before it gets better. What does a “worse crisis” than a crisis look like?
  • It’s time for me to shift from the “WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING” stage to the “Okay, let’s do our best” stage.

About co-parenting during social isolation

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
  • When there are two parents in a situation like this, and one has to step into the role of caregiver while the other keeps working, now as sole breadwinner, it can be easy to think the other person has it better.
  • The breadwinner gets to keep their schedule more or less intact. They get to use their brains in the ways they like. They get more adult contact. They get peed on less. Their clothes are generally less caked in dried boogers.
  • The caregiver gets to spend all this bonus time with their babies. They aren’t missing these precious, fleeting moments of childhood because they happen to make the higher income, and therefore their job cannot be sacrificed in favour of childcare. They are apart from their spouse and kids all day, or all night, or all the time in the case of some emergency room workers.
  • The “breadwinner” gets too much kid-free time; the caregiver gets too little.
  • The breadwinner feels the pressure to keep the family afloat; the caregiver feels the pressure to keep the family alive.
  • I read somewhere that in order to have a happy marriage, you should each assume the other person is doing 70% of the work. There might be something to that, especially now.

About social anxiety during social distancing

Photo by Lewis Burrows from Pexels
  • It used to feel uncomfortable to be out among people — like my presence was an inconvenience to them.
  • Now, it feels downright wrong.
  • There’s a microscopic elephant in the room, and we’re talking about it constantly in the social situations that remain (grocery store, pharmacy) in an abstract way, like commenting on the weather: “Can you believe how crazy this is? I can’t believe how crazy this is.”
  • But we aren’t really talking about what’s truly going on in (at least some of) our minds in the moments we’re near each other publicly: “I am terrified that one of us could get the other sick; I am terrified that you think I am sick and will give it to you; I am terrified that you think I’m being careless; I am terrified that you think I am being overly cautious; I am terrified you will take the essentials my family needs; I am terrified you will think I am being selfish and taking too much; I am terrified; are you terrified?”
  • As the generally non-socially-anxious public gets a taste of what it’s like to live with social anxiety — those of us with social anxiety feel the terror ratcheted up to suffocation.
  • Should we be bracing ourselves against developing full-blown agoraphobia?
  • What about those with health anxieties — those who were already perhaps uncharitably called “germaphobes”? Is a similar shift happening in their lives? Are we all a little germaphobic now, and they have been levelled up to their breaking point?

About life in uncertain times

Photo by Lewis Burrows from Pexels
  • Positive and negative emotional states can coexist. It possible to feel:

Resentful and grateful

Trapped and blessed

Safe and terrified

Cranky and relieved

Affectionate and angry

Anxious and hopeful

Lucky and overwhelmed

  • It’s time to put all that we’ve learned about managing anxiety to the test. For ourselves, and in service to others.
  • For those of us who’ve benefited from therapy, we have a lot to offer others on how to manage anxious thoughts and live with uncertainty.
  • Maybe the way forward is to find a way to anxiously accept that unacceptable things are happening right now.
  • There’s not much certainty today, except the certainty that life is now more unpredictable than ever.
  • Let’s just take a deep breath and take comfort in knowing that we’re all uncomfortable together.

Maybe it’s about socially distant solidarity.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Social Anxiety in the Time of Coronavirus

Hello dear readers, old and new! A big thank you and welcome to the newest followers — it gives my heart a happy little skip when I see a new follower notification. 🥰

So, obviously, pandemic.

  • We are healthy, thank goodness. Hamilton has very few cases and a low risk of infection, for now anyway.
  • James is off school for at least 3 weeks. Olivia’s daycare is also closed.
  • Jesse is working from home indefinitely.
  • The 2nd point above has made it very hard to find time to write, or read, or shower.
Actual conversation with Jesse just now about this photo:
Me: Ugh. UGH.
Jesse: What?
Me: I have the perfect photo to use for a section of my post but I look fat in it.
[yes, I know this is terrible and unhealthy talk, but I want to share it because I also know I’m not the only one who does this to themselves]
Jesse: *looking at photo* No you don’t!
Me: Yes I do. I look fat and ugly. It’s super unflattering.
Jesse: No it’s not! Just use it!
Me: *to my inner brain bully* FUCK YOU. I’m using the photo. You are wrong and toxic. *inserts photo*

Actual photo caption: “Social distancing” with two little kids.

A micro take on things

I feel like so much has been written about the situation already that I don’t necessarily want to add to the storm cloud, but at the same time, I feel like I can’t not mention something that is having such a significant impact globally and in our micro-level day to day lives.

So here’s what I will say, from the perspective of someone with anxiety who is also a nerd about learning about anxiety:

  • My social anxiety is being affected by this situation far more than my generalized anxiety.
  • By which I mean that I’m not having health anxiety or being kept up at night worrying about the apocalypse.
  • This isn’t to say that I don’t worry at all about these things — it’s just that I worry within what I consider a “normal” range (i.e. for a person without anxiety issues who suddenly finds themselves in the midst of a pandemic. Which is obviously not zero anxiety.).

But the social anxiety is flaring up HARD.

  • Social distancing instructions are basically encouraging me to give in to my “vices” of hermitude, avoidance, and never leaving the house.
  • I work hard to overcome these tendencies every day.
  • So in some ways, my mental health issue has now become my superpower, as I won’t get too put out or stir-crazy if I have to lay low for a while.
  • BUT it makes me EVEN MORE afraid to go outside AT ALL.
  • No, not because of the virus.

BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE

Taking the kids to the park was already something I had to work myself up to and force myself to do.

Taking them for walks was already so hard that I often avoided it unless Jesse was with me (and even then…).

This situation is yet another reminder of why I am so grateful to have a supportive partner who also happens to have zero social self-consciousness. And big strong arms.

And now?

  • It feels socially wrong and villainous to leave the house.
  • I worry to nearly uncontrollable levels about people judging me for being outside at this time.
  • When I do have to go out — to get my prescription refilled, for example, like I will have to do tomorrow, lest my anxious but medicated brain soon become my ANXIOUS AND UNMEDICATED BRAIN — I am paranoid that everyone is watching and judging my every move.
  • And being out with the kids is excruciating, because kids have a terrible tendency to cough and snort and sniffle and lick random things and pick their noses and TOUCH EVERYTHING.
  • (Either all kids do some variation on these things or I am a terrible parent.)
  • We have been invited to visit a friend for a tiny playdate. Should I go? Am I monster if we go? If I decline the invitation, will the hosts think I’m a monster who is worrying about everything? What is the balance between social distancing (good) and social isolation overkill (bad, apparently)?

Oh rational brain, come out come out wherever you are!

Does my rational brain recognize that my social anxiety brain is going nuts? Yes. If I take the time to work through the anxious thoughts, I can counter them. But it’s hard.

  • I know I “shouldn’t” care what people think.
  • I know we’re all just muddling our way through.
  • I know I’m doing just fine in the grand scheme of things.

It just depends whether I have a handle on the irrational anxious thoughts at any given moment.

It’ll be okay

  • I have the benefit of knowledge gained in therapy now at least. I know what an anxiety flare-up does to me and I’m being extra diligent about looking after myself.
  • That said, I am anticipating that I won’t have access to my weekly sessions with my psychiatrist for a while, and I’m anxious about that.
  • The massive, sudden change in our home routine is not easy — anxiety hates unpredictability. Anxiety needs time to adapt.
  • But I will be strong. I can see the silver linings — more time with the kiddies and Jesse. This is wonderful.
  • And kind of a freebie pass to use my social anxiety superpower for good… right?
  • Yeah that last one is a stretch.

And as for blogging?

  • With my social anxiety flaring up the way it is, I am finding myself withdrawing and it’s hard to stop.
  • I’m having trouble showing up online and interacting with others, and replying to comments and emails and messages from friends.
  • Please know that I do read and appreciate everything you send, and that I want to reply and WILL reply as I’m able.
  • I just want you guys to know that I’m not ghosting you — I’m just… hermitting you a little. But with great love and affection.

Mind your mind

If my brain is anything to go by, I would say we all need to be very conscious of the mental health impacts of what’s going on in the world. And not just for people who are already predisposed to mental health issues, anxiety or otherwise.

This situation has the potential to turn even the coolest cucumber into a flaming… er… well, I guess just a cucumber on fire.

Running through your fridge screaming. In the night. All night.

Look just be gentle with yourselves during this trying time, and reach out, and check on each other (virtually, of course…), and maybe go read a book on self-compassion.

And remember that we’re all in this together, and these sacrifices are saving lives.

And also eat your cucumbers before they burst into flames.

P.S. Full credit to Jesse for suggesting the title of this post. Love it.

Why?

When my grandmother died in August 2018, I wrote a post about her for my old blog. In that post, I mentioned that I think she experienced anxiety. The way she wrote about interactions with others makes me think it may have been social anxiety to some extent.

I’ll never know first-hand what it was like to experience anxiety or depression in generations past. I can speculate that it was a lonely, confusing road.

It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I even learned there was condition known as social anxiety disorder. As for “depression,” it was a term I was vaguely aware of, but I assumed it was the kind of thing that happened to other people, and that I was far too resilient for such things.

I was probably depressed at the time.

I was definitely anxious.

I definitely suffered from low self-esteem and rock-bottom self-worth.

But I am so lucky.

I am so lucky to be a young(ish) adult(ish) in 2020, to be part of the movement away from bottling up feelings and keeping a stiff upper-lip. To be part of breaking down mental health stigma. To be going through my own recovery amidst mental health advocacy, eating disorder awareness, and basically a collective cry to stop beating ourselves up about EVERYTHING.

It’s only a start; voices are joining the chorus but for many, still, mental health is an obscure topic, and personal challenges are secret and shameful.

But even as I recognize how lucky I am, I hurt as I wonder… What about my grandmother? What about other family members who have also suffered from mental health challenges that went undiagnosed, unvalidated, and most importantly, untreated?

I’m generally a mental health optimist, but when I think about how many people have lost so much from untreated, and sometimes self-medicated, disorders… it’s hard.

At the end of my blog post about my grandmother, I wrote:

I will help tear down the walls of stigma and ignorance so that my children—your greatgrandchildren—have access to even more resources and support than I do now, and you ever did.

This was written before I felt the need to have an explicit “purpose” for my writing or for sharing my journey.

But when I came across it in my drafts a little while ago, it stuck with me. Just a little niggle in the back of my mind.

This week and last, I’ve been struggling a lot with what I’ve started calling “purpose anxiety.” I’ve been wrestling with the question of “why” I’m putting myself out there and whether it “matters.”

Today, finally, it hit me that I’ve had a “why” this whole time, without consciously realizing it.

That statement was my why, before I really knew it.

  • I’m writing for my grandmother.
  • I’m writing for my daughter and my son.
  • I’m writing for me.
  • And I’m writing for you.

Even though I may never know that “you” have read this. All I can hope is that some parts of my words impact some of the many people who need to feel less alone.

Is it too grandiose to hope that today’s voices can empower the voices of tomorrow?

I guess I don’t need a specific path plotted out. I don’t need to worry so much about how to make the perfect impact all the time. I can’t save the world with every post — and probably not with all my posts combined, either.

And that’s okay, in the end. This is a group effort, right?

I just need to show up and let my voice join the chorus of mental health and self-compassion advocates out there today who are saying:

  • It’s okay to not be okay.
  • Check on your friends.
  • Give yourself some grace.
  • You are not bad.
  • You deserve to heal.
  • Recovery is possible.
  • You are not alone.

I think that’s a pretty good “why.” 🙂

Anxiety Flare, Drunk Dinosaurs, and Batman's Curvaceous Butt

Anxiety Flare, Drunk Dinosaurs, and Batman’s Curvaceous Butt (more videos!)

I’ve been getting viddy with it.

I’m having complete blogger’s block today, so I thought I would share 3 videos from the past week that I shared on Instagram. (Apologies if you follow me on both platforms and have seen these already.)

I want to share these on here because I feel like they capture many sides of the social anxiety experience:

  • The first one was filmed on a “really bad” anxiety day (that one was hard to film!).
  • The second one talks about shopping anxiety and compares my kids to drunk dinosaurs, and then features me coming back on to assure everyone that my kids are not, in fact, drunk. (Jesse tells me this was clearly a social anxiety safety behaviour, because anyone who thought I was actually giving my kids alcohol would be crazy.)
  • And the third one goes into perfectionism, which is something I haven’t written much about it on here, but plan to.

I hope you get something out of the videos! I’ll get my writer inspiration back for the next post. 🙂

Filming on a “bad” anxiety day

It’s shaky and there’s an editing glitch partway through… but, fuck it, we’re doing it live. (Not really live.)

Mall anxiety, driving anxiety, and drunk dinos


Perfectionism… and Batman

This one has another glitch near the end where a segment plays twice in a row… gaaaah…. can I let this one go? Should I? Must I?! IT’S A VIDEO ABOUT PERFECTIONISM. Fuck. I have to let it stay as is. I know I do.

And just in case it’s on your mind as well — I do find it strange and surprising that I can talk so candidly on video. Imperfectly. With imperfect lighting and glitchy editing and all sorts of amateur-hour stuff.

But I’m doing it, finally. I’m committed to this messy process of learning and growth.

And I also feel like I’m committed to something bigger than me — I want to document real social anxiety and everything that comes with it, from many angles and content formats.

I want to help people feel less alone. I want to shed light on a very quiet condition — because how many people with social anxiety feel ready to share? I’m finally there, and I feel like it’s my duty and my privilege to share the journey.

I’m all in on this.

Apparently I’m feeling all lofty and impassioned today, after all. 🙂

xoxo

I did a brave (includes video of me!)

I Did a Brave! (Includes Video of Me!)

You guys.

YOU GUYS.

YOU GUYS!!!!

I did a brave.

I have been wanting to talk on camera for a looooong time. Partly because it looked like it might be a fun way to share thoughts, and partly because it TERRIFIES me, and therefore somehow also appeals to me.

(I dunno, man, anxiety is weird.)

And also because I think there’s something extra intimate and real and connecty about video. I’ve known from the start that I would eventually want to include video in my blog to connect with you guys and share through more than one medium.

So yeah. I talked on camera in my Instagram stories on Monday.

And then I felt so proud of myself that I wanted to tell you about it here, because I know not everyone is on Instagram.

So I converted the Stories to two short unlisted videos on YouTube so that I can embed them here to show you.

Because YES, I really am that nerdy and extra.

Here’s the first video, where I was practically peeing from nerves:

Sadie’s Big Quiet Hello

Gaaaaah!

I got SO many sweet, supportive comments, and most of them were from people who felt the exact same way. It was incredibly validating and encouraging.

And then I went grocery shopping, and had a bit of a social debacle, and decided to just ride the confidence boost I had from the first video and share again (my phone buzzes at the beginning — sorry!):

Grocery Cart Story

That’s meeeee! Now you know how I look and talk and sound. The second video is way more natural and “me.”

I want to do this again. I mean, I will do this again, on Instagram.

Is video something that you’d like to see on here sometimes?

Let me know what you think! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m calling this a Recovery and Bravery Win. Not just for me, but for anyone who struggles with shyness and/or social anxiety. Because believe me, if *I* can get to this point, anyone can.

YOU can. xoxo

Okay. Now. Please go say nice and supportive things in the comments or in some other way because I guarantee that when I publish this, I will instantly start to feel a vulnerability hangover set in. Now. Right now.

aka Occasionally Brave Ginger

P.S. This is post #30 on the blog!!!!

weekly update 4: my husband fat-shames sharks and my daughter knows too much

Weekly Update 4: My Husband Fat-Shames Sharks & My Daughter Knows Too Much

Hello and happy Friday!

Here’s what happened in the blushiverse this week:

Blog blog blog

  • You guys gave me a lot of great feedback on that second post, where I asked for your thoughts on the kind of content you’d like, and I shared a bit about the vision I have for this blog. Thank you!!! I think the general consensus is to keep on keepin’ on, and develop my voice as I go.
  • So I’m going to keep doing my thing, and also let myself get a little more experimental with some of the topics and aesthetics. It’s a good time to do it, this early in the game!

Believe It or Not!

  • We took the kids to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto for James’ 5th birthday. There’s enough anxiety content there for its own post, but it was also a great time!
“Curious about [that strained smile]? This exhibit is filled with roughly 360,000 litres of [self-consciousness]!”
  • Oh also Jesse fat-shamed a shark at the aquarium and I am still unpacking my feelings about this.

Anxiety is…

  • After a deeply emotional therapy session this week, I’m finally able to articulate the “function” of anxiety in my body and mind. The analogy is bracing. It’s kind of like when the doctor is applying pressure in certain places to find out what hurts. As you feel them getting close to where it hurts, your body tenses up, bracing against the pain.
  • On an emotional level, I think anxiety is my way of bracing against… something. Fear, pain, disappointment, the unpredictability of life?

Body anxiety: a new challenge

  • I’ve realized that while I find it fairly easy to be open about social anxiety, it is MUCH scarier to be open and vulnerable about body image. Which I find kind of weird. I’m still processing.
  • I think it’s because I’ve done therapy focused on anxiety, so I have tools to think about it in a healthy way. With body image and eating, there has been very little formal recovery.
  • Most of the progress I’ve made has been thanks to social media accounts that focus on body positivity, body neutrality, and intuitive eating, as well as books and podcasts on those topics.
  • That said, it still falls within the boundaries of what I feel safe sharing, and because I am trying to explore and soften the areas where I tend to “brace,” I decided to REALLY step outside my comfort zone yesterday: I posted a picture of the area of my body I am MOST insecure about:
  • Yeah. Mommy tummy. It’s pretty tame and I don’t show the whole Area of Angst, but you know, baby steps.
  • I’m not saying this area is objectively ugly. I don’t trust the combination of my eyes and brain to comment on my own body, really.
  • I know I didn’t have to post that. But I wanted to. I want to face my fears, and social media is a pretty great testing ground for both social anxiety and body image stuff.

Candidness versus TMI

  • I’ve been musing about the difference between being candid and going TMI.
  • It’s probably something that a lot of bloggers/creators/sharers think about at some point, with each individual drawing the line wherever they feel safe.
  • Presumably with some occasions where they share something that they realize after the fact crosses their own line. But ain’t that the way it is with boundaries? (I can’t get away with saying ain’t. Maybe “eh,” but not ain’t.)
  • I think my TMI threshold is pretty high (and I know at least one reader feels un-TMI-able — hey Ashley!). So I’ll be as open as I can be.
  • But, like, we’ll probably never get to the point where we pee with the door open in front of each other, guys. (Except you, Jesse. You put a ring on it so you get to hear me tinkle.) (But we draw the line at peeing.) (Okay, and pimple-popping.) (Peeing and pimple-popping. But THAT’S IT.) (Shark shamer.)

Look he really did, okay? I have proof:

Moving on

And finally, a quick story:

The kids have an after-bathtime ritual where they shout, “Everybody! Hide in your shell!” and then crouch into a little ball on the floor with their towels on top of them (as shells).

(They started doing this after seeing the movie Epic.)

Yesterday, they asked me to do it with them. But I was dressed, so I said, “But I don’t have a shell!”

And Olivia pointed at my body and said, “THIS is your shell!”

And it was just a little too real for me at that moment.

Have an amazing (or at least reasonably un-shit — let’s not get too perky with our goals) weekend!