This dress feels a little too tight.
I feel kinda fat.
When am I going to start working out, jesus.
Do they notice how much I’m pulling at this dress?
I feel like my ass is just out there in the open.
You look anxious.
Stop looking so anxious.
How long has that guy been looking at me?
What is he staring at?
Do I have something on my face?
Does he notice this last-minute pimple that just popped up out of freaking nowhere?
I hate this.
When can we go home?
Is it bad if I ask my friend to go home?
We’ve only been here for an hour.
Wait, is that girl walking up to me?
She looks drunk.
I don’t think I remember her name???
Dear god what is she going to say.
“Heyyyyyyy girl, how’re you!!”
I don’t really consider myself a “fake” person.
I definitely want to come across as “down to earth” and “genuine.”
Does consciously thinking that make me fake?
I’ve struggled with social anxiety for a long time now.
Some days it’s worse than others.
A few years back, I used to blog… a lot.
You probably noticed.
I loved writing about my thoughts.
Then I kind of phased out of that.
Again, you might’ve noticed.
Mostly because it got to the point where I hated going out.
It terrified me.
Because no matter where I went, who I was with, or what was going on,
Somebody brought up my blogging.
or my chaotic ~love life~
How it offended them or someone they loved.
How I shouldn’t have broken up with that guy.
How that guy should’ve probably broken up with me.
You know, casual party conversations.
I started to really care about what people thought of me.
I started to believe that everything that’s ever happened to me wasn’t mine to share.
Like they weren’t my own stories.
I stopped writing for a while.
It was too much.
It was all too much.
And the really shitty thing is,
I love writing.
I love telling stories.
I love sharing.
I love connecting to other human beings.
I love people.
And I was terrified of people.
It caused complete turmoil in my heart and thoughts.
What if I write about this?
No, then that person will be offended.
Okay, well what if I wrote about that?
No, then everyone will believe you’re a basket case.
I used to be bold.
I used to be brave.
By god, my first piece ever was titled “Welcome to the Psych Ward (It’s More Like a Vacation Spot”
It doesn’t get much bolder than that, friends.
I was outspoken.
But anxiety crippled me.
It suffocated the joy that was bursting inside of me when I wrote.
I allowed the thoughts of other people to define who I was.
Not cool, man.
So I write this to encourage you to look at your choices.
Why do you do the things you do?
Do you make choices based on other peoples’ opinions of you?
Do you not drink in public because you don’t want others to think you’re a drunk?
Or do you not drink in public because you feel safer drinking at home with friends?
Are your choices fear based or faith based?
Do you post obsessively about your relationship because you want all of your followers to believe that you guys are perfectly, hopelessly in love and not self conscious about the relationship?
Or do you post about your relationship because you are actually over the moon happy with this person?
What types of choices do you make?
For a long time, mine were fear based.
But I’ve learned over that past few years that who I am is not based on someone else’s opinion of me.
I am whoever I decide to be.
You are whoever you decide to be.
I’m a writer.
I’m a sharer.
I’m a story-teller.
I’m a comeback kid.
I am a lion.
And I am bold.
(Featured Image by: Alyssa Jiosa)