Adventures in Anxiety, Dear Starfish Diaries

Pulled Together on the Inside

I like to look put together.  I’m no fashion model, and my hair and makeup routine is pretty efficient, but I have the basics down.  Earrings are a must.  Hair wrestled into straight lines or pulled back, enough makeup to look even-toned and bright-eyed.  Outfit pulled together and un-spilled-upon (at least to start).  Ready to face the world as the polished, together woman that I want to be.  Nothing to betray the hum of anxiety and self-doubt that is ever-present below the surface.

During my lowest point with anxiety, I lost the ability to fake it.  Goodbye, hygiene; Hello torn sweatpants.  But this was an extreme, and I’m usually a pro at putting a pulled-together face forward despite how I might feel inside.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed a shift.  While I’m still working on a lot (A LOT) personally, I’m starting to notice that I actually do feel pulled together on the inside.  The hum is quieting down significantly.

And suddenly…looking put together seems to be dipping lower on my scale of priorities.  I’m not going to work in my torn sweats (threw those suckers away), but I wear my naturally curly hair, well, naturally curly once in a while.  I don’t always feel the need to don a full face of makeup.  And the sky has YET to fall!  My only conclusion is that when I feel pulled together for real…I don’t feel that I need to prove it.

Fascinating.

This realization led to some further investigating.  Where else in my life have I put on a front in an effort to hide the mess below the surface?  I’m glad you asked!

Social Media

For years, I posted pictures of fun nights out and happy birthday messages.  And nothing else.  I shied away from Instagram and Twitter; uncomfortable with exposure and comparison.  Worried I didn’t have the right look/opinion/sense of humor/age to fit in.  Blend in.  Well, as you may have guessed from this blog, I’ve fully embraced full exposure.

If I enjoy a video with a message that isn’t for everyone?  I like it!  I might even share it!  See a group that interests me?  I join!  I even actively participate in conversation!  When I felt like I had something to say, and that saying it publicly might benefit myself and others?  I started a blog.

In the past, I thought these acts of shameless self expression were tantamount to tattooing one’s face- you’ll never work in this town again!  Everyone will know what you’ve done!  DOOOOOM!

But once again, the sky did not fall.

Exercise

When I run, I like to wear spandex shorts that won’t chafe or ride up.  However, said shorts are a straight shot to a muffin top.  I would have DIED before facing the world this way in the past.  Lately I’m less fazed.  I can’t say I’m thrilled when I run by a shiny building and see my reflection.  But then I remember that I’m running.  Workin on mah fitness.  So who cares if they see my roll?  I’m clearly working on getting rid of it, and escaping the experience un-chafed!

When I tried yoga years ago, I liked it, but I was TOTALLY uncomfortable with the OM-ing and the Savasana-ing, the incense and the Buddhas.  When I let go of my ego, stopped worrying if I looked cool (I never do, so why bother?), and drank the delicious yoga kool aid, I found out that I loved it!  And it’s become a huge part of my self care routine; only increasing my ability to feel pulled together on the inside.  Funny how that works.

Friendships

I’m a little embarrassed to say that even into my 30s, I felt like I needed to know all the cool kids.  I thought it was important to have a big group of friends, and know people everywhere I go.  Then I moved 1,000 miles away, to a city where I knew all of 1 person, that being my husband.

Sky still not falling.

My handful of close friends are still close.  I feel closer to my husband.  And I’m very picky about who I choose to spend my time with- so suddenly my time is much better spent!  It’s a lot of work to keep up with the whole world, and quantity is far from synonymous to quality.  When I go to a coffee shop, or the mall, or a yoga class, I’m really ok doing it on my own.  This is a major shift.

If I like my own company, could that mean…I like ME?

I don’t have big enough words to express what a huge deal this revelation is.  I’ll make one up.  HUMONGOLICIOUS.   Use it.  Hashtag it.  You have my blessing.

Singing in the Car

This doesn’t need much of an explanation.  Where I used to close my windows and look straight ahead when another car was next to me, now I rock out.

Embracing the Weird and the Unpopular

  • Some of the things I eat are weird to the majority of the population.  Nutritional yeast, dandelion root, kimchi (straight out of the jar, YUM).  But instead of shame-eating in the car, I spread the word!  There is some yummy stuff here, take a bite!
  • I’ve said it before, but I love a good pimple popping video.  It’s gross, I know.  But I’m owning it.  And I KNOW I’m not alone.
  • I love the Kardashians.  I know it’s not cool to think they are the BEST, but I do.  If Keeping Up is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
  • I’m vegan.  Not to lose weight, not to get healthy.  I’m vegan because I think it’s wrong to hurt another living creature so I can have a meal.  It’s not popular, it makes some people uncomfortable, but there you have it.
  • If you have a dog, I want to pet him.  I’ll ask first (I’m not a caveman), but trust me, I WILL ask.  Even if I have to cross the street to do so.
  • I hate scary movies because they give me nightmares.  I’m not trying to be cute, and I’m not kidding.  I might even leave the room during a scary commercial.  I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve suffered through trying to deny it, but no more!  Give me a rom-com any day.  Preferably one I’ve seen already, so I’m prepared for anything that might make me sad.

If I have a choice, I’d much rather have it together on the inside than look pulled together on the outside.  I’m certainly shooting for both, but it’s nice to know that the pressure is off.  Makeup is easier to apply when you’re accentuating beautiful features rather than covering up ugly blemishes.  My blemishes are still there, but they’re not so ugly after all, and I’m ok with the world seeing them occasionally.  The world isn’t really looking that closely anyway.

 

2 thoughts on “Pulled Together on the Inside

    1. Shell you just made my day! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for reading! YOU are amazing! Have a fabulous weekend! 🙂

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