Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pretending Series’ Category

It’s safe to say I haven’t kept up with the Pretending blog series very well.  The idea started after I had some conversations with some pretty kick ass women who were doubting their kick-assery.  Unacceptable.  I made the commitment to be brave and face off against some insecurities to help them see how amazing they truly are.  To be frank, I’ve really let them down in his effort.  Not only because I haven’t been writing about it, but more because I haven’t been living it.  So here I am, ready to be as vulnerable as I can imagine, and hope you will be kind.

We all have some crazy.  We’re human.  Made up of character rich flaws with unique coping mechanisms.  My demons always rise from self-doubt and worrying about ruining things I love.  The anxiety from it can engulf all my thoughts for days on end by over analyzing meaningless details.  Did that sideways look mean I said something stupid?   Did I come off looking too needy by sending a follow-up text when they didn’t text back in the first place?  Oh my God, what are they going to think after watching that five minute drunken snap story?   In a rational mind, I can see these aren’t that big of a deal in the scheme of life.  However, when I’m spiraling, my “crazies” hijack all rationality and tell me I have ruined something important.

13327554_10206673152489027_6640728367543893211_n

Towards the end of last year I struggled with finding a mental balance.  I fluctuated from experiencing fantastic highs on the good days to self-loathing lows when I made a simple mistake.  I punished myself for days by replaying what I saw as poor choices.  Each time asking myself how I could’ve been so stupid. Finally I got to a place where I didn’t want to hate on myself anymore.  I needed some help with perspective to bring my psyche back to an even kilter.

I talk to people every day about how it takes great strength and courage to admit when you need help.  I encourage them to seek assistance with others, even professionals, if they find their support systems aren’t providing relief.  I go on and on about how there’s nothing wrong with going to therapy; it’s just a sounding board to give you an unbiased  opinion.  But there I was, worried about letting anyone know I decided to go.

It wasn’t my first time.  I received great advice years ago and saw results in enhancing important relationships.  So why was it such a big deal now?  Maybe I worried people would think I should be lucky to have such trivial problems. Or  worse, maybe others will blow it out of proportion, which happens after your immediate family member commits suicide.  Even now I struggle to write the words with some fear there will be a perception assigned.

When I went, I confirmed one thing I already knew — I’m an “all or nothing” kind of person.  I want things to mean one thing or another.  Defined.  Judgmental. It’s a very difficult expectation to hold yourself.  What I learned was two things could be true at the same time.  I could be a good person and make a bad decision.  I learned the importance in trusting what people say and not always look for the “what did they really mean.”  Lastly, I got a most helpful “check the facts” sheet.  At those times when I start to awfulize a situation, I have to pull out a questionnaire and write down the answers.  A reality check, if you will.  What are other possible conclusions?  And what’s the absolute worst case scenario?  The process helps see the situation for the importance it should given instead of what my mind wants to blow it into.

The few sessions proved helpful to gain some tools I’d been lacking.  Because she was also an artist, the conversations included subjects around the creative process.  We discussed the benefits of meditation, finding the “wise mind,” and validating my own art.

So why would I share all this information about my mental health?  Something so personal and a topic most people are uncomfortable talking about?  Bringing this subject out into the light is the only way to change the stigmas.  Showing it’s okay to admit we have doubts.  Vulnerabilities.  Insecurities.  Flaws.  Crazies.  I do this to encourage you to share your struggles, appreciate these challenges in each other, and refuse to be embarrassed of what you battle.  Because even if we don’t believe it in the moment, if we want to change how people view mental illness, we need to pretend not to be ashamed of who we truly are.

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

It’s that time again where I sit down and tell the world what I resolve to do in the new year.  Coming off a year with few successes on my resolution list has me more determined than ever to commit to my goals.  At the same time, I want something with purpose.   You know, something more than an easy lob where it’s simple to get the job done.  I want to stand on the other side of 2016, look back, and scream, “fuck yeah, I did that!”

Write and query my best book.

I’m upping the game this year.  Since I didn’t finish a manuscript in 2015, I’m determined to reach a finish line in 2016.  However, I don’t want to stop there.  I want to edit, revise, shred the thing, and make it into something I’m proud to query.  It’s been a long time since I’ve put my writing out there to be rejected.  Which means it’s been a long time since I’ve put myself out there to be accepted as well.

Keep pretending.

I started this in 2015 and there hasn’t been a whole lot of success to document.  I tried some techniques, but I let my insecurities get in the way.  Instead of working towards being a more powerful supporter of my girlfriends believing in themselves, I was over-worrying about things out of my control.  I gave too much importance to situations that shouldn’t rule me like they did.  I’m re-committing at the beginning of the year to continue to pretend to be the person I want to be.

girls

Love my lady friends.  Always.

Try crazy ideas.

Crazy ideas pop into my head at a regular rate.  They usually fall out of my mouth in this sentence, “Wouldn’t it be funny if…”  That’s usually where it ends because my mind races with all the reasons the idea won’t work, or it’s not funny after all, or I already have a million other things going on. The result is my funny invention dies on the idea vine.  What if I didn’t invite reality to the party and tried a few?  Maybe fun things would take off into new innovations and end with the confirmation from someone else saying, “That is so funny.”

Example:  Today’s awesome idea is “Wouldn’t it be funny if I did a vlog series called Drunk Interview and somehow I convince bands to let me interview them while we’re both drunk?”  Who wouldn’t want to see that, right?  Open for bands to volunteer.

Read more.

In 2015, I cut back on the reading.  This is a bad thing when you want to be a writer.  While I can’t commit to the 25 books I did a couple years ago, I resolve to read more and from different genres.  This means I will still be completing Baked Books when inspiration hits and hopefully have more success than I did the last year.

Compare Less.

This could really read “be less jealous” or “be happy with your accomplishments.”  I compare myself to others all the time and then beat myself up for not having their successful results. The problem with measuring ourselves against other people is it’s as reliable as a fun house mirror.  The success stories others talk about usually leave out the gory details about how much sacrifice went into it.  Therefor, I’m going to try to reduce how often I compare myself to others and be satisfied with the journey I’m forging.

As always, this is a pretty tough list.  Wish me luck!  And feel free to add any resolutions you might have in the comment section.

Read Full Post »

A few weeks ago I started one of my 2016 resolutions early.  I made the commitment to focus on decreasing insecurity and self-doubt by pretending to be more confident.  This is no easy feat for me even though most equate extroverted with confidence.  While I can be loud, talkative, and even sometimes (dare I be so bold to say) funny, there are days where I’m crippled with doubt and succumb to my crazies.

I started this resolution with something I’ve been working on for a year.  After my mother-in-law’s suicide, I told myself I would share my feelings with other people in the moment instead of “waiting for the right time.”  It was a little piece of something I could do in a situation that left me helpless.  I’m talking about telling people the true good feelz, too.  You know, the deep kind where you put your exposed heart out and pray you don’t die.

Why would I want to torture myself by being completely exposed if I didn’t have to?  Because if we are brave enough to share our true feelings, we can create the most amazing relationships.  Who doesn’t want to know how they’ve positively impacted someone else’s world?  Aren’t we all looking to be something special to someone?  How will we ever know if it’s working if no one is brave enough to stand up and share their feelings?

You might be asking:  If it’s such an awesome-feelz party, why is it so hard for you to do?  Because it’s scary as fuck.  DUH!  Insecurity weaves its way into my consciousness with things like, “they don’t care what you think,” “you’re nothing to them,” and “you’ll look like a idiot.”  Self-doubt mixed with fear stops me from thanking people who were thoughtful enough to show me something beautiful.  Maybe I imagined this nice thing?  Or I’m blowing a simple gesture into some kind of big deal.  If I tell them, I’m going to look stupid, like a chump, or a desperate loser starved for any attention.  I convince myself no good will come from sharing my personal thoughts.  In fact, the only thing I know will happen is I will inevitably be crushed.  Oh my gosh, this sounds so dire.

Even after that downer paragraph above, I have made some strides in the past year.  More often, I tell Hubs I appreciate the way he loves our children, explain to the kiddos the specific ways they make me proud, and remind my best friends I couldn’t live without their friendship.  But even yesterday while talking with Gal Pal on our girls’ trip, I fumbled for the words as I tried to appreciate the amazing person she is.  And these in my close circle are the easy ones.  I trust them.  Although there’s some vulnerability in looking like an over-emotional sap, I have the pretty safe bet they aren’t going to laugh or say the dreaded “I don’t care.”

Gal Pal and I waiting for Saint Motel.

Gal Pal and I waiting for Saint Motel by saying nice things to each other as girls should. Isn’t she beautiful?

However, I’ve come to the realization what good will I do if I only share my feelings with a trusted core posse?  Aren’t I appreciative of a larger group that I come into contact with in passing?  Shouldn’t they know their simple smile, nice words, or considerate company had a positive impact on my life.  Or the fact I appreciate their generosity by paying it forward to ten more people in their honor?  I have to work through this fear if I expect anyone else to do the same.

So, I’m doing it.  Putting myself out there in a vulnerable place with feelings exposed. Pretending I’m the kind of person who doesn’t worry about what the others think.   Telling myself I’m not weak for appreciating people who may not care.  Trying to convince myself I shouldn’t be ashamed.  Acknowledging I want to get to the place where I don’t have to pretend anymore.

Even though it’s so uncomfortable to take the first step, I have to admit no one has been cruel.  No one went out of their way to try to make me feel like shit.  In fact, a few may have even said they appreciate it.  Those small successes are what make this whole thing worth it.  They may not silence the insecurity demons screaming in my head each time I decide to stand on the ledge to look over into the unknown.  But they do light the path to the place I want to go.  The destination where I can walk up to that same ledge, spread out my arms, and fall forward because I know good people will catch me.

I encourage you to be brave and do the same.

Read Full Post »