You probably came here expecting witty insight on our world's most important issues, like WILL Kourtney and Scott ever get back together???? Or WHAT is the best song on Harry's new album?? Maybe you came here hoping I finally pulled myself together and wrote the Europe blog post I have been promising for approximately 3 and a half months.
Whatever you were expecting, I urge you to turn around now. Today's post, is my annual, dramatic, hormonal teenage girl, "my life is falling apart" blog post. I try and hold out as long as I can on these ones. Ratings totally tank. Your overall respect for me as a member of society drops. Everyone is a little uncomfortable.
But hey, some people like to witness the downfall of others.
I mean, we all watched Britney shave her head. We witnessed Linsday Lohan ruin her career. We said nothing to warn Justin Bieber against assuming Anne Frank "would have been a belieber" had she not died in a nazi concentration camp.
It's kind of human nature, to stay and watch a train wreck, isn't it?
That being said, you have been warned. Turn around, go back to Instagram stalking Amber Fillerup, pretend you never saw this. Or stay awhile, grab some popcorn, and take a shot every time I say "anxiety." This train wreck after all, is pretty hard to look away from.
I'm in a funk.
You know what, a "funk" isn't accurate enough. I feel like I'm losing my mind.
Over the past couple of months, I've developed a terrible case of social anxiety.
Me, Indy Severe, the girl who used to show up uninvited to the popular girls birthday parties. The girl who would steal the mascot uniform and prance around, just to get some laughs. The girl with enough confidence to sneak backstage into a concert, fake alter egos and all.... this girl is me. And she's hiding. She's still somewhere in there, I think. I really hope she is. But I haven't seen that girl in awhile. Instead, I've become the girl who drives to the gym and sits in her car for 20 minutes, trying to get the courage to go inside. The girl who pretends to be talking to someone on the phone as I walk around the mall, or the grocery store in constant fear someone will try and talk to me. The girl who makes plans with friends, and later convinces herself it would be a better idea to stay at home in my room all night. That's who I've become! I don't know how, I don't know when, but I hate it. And my heart is aching to be the girl I used to be.
A blogger I follow, Weslie, recently posted about the Magic of Vulnerability. And I am about as good at being vulnerable as I am good at parallel parking. I'm just not. It's so hard for me to open up. I hate feeling like a burden, or making others feel uncomfortable. I hate being sad in front of people. So, I've gotten scary good at acting like I'm perfectly okay, when my world is actually falling apart around me. And to be perfectly honest, I feel like my world is actually falling apart around me.
Never in a million years would I think a good place to start opening up would be to thousands of people on the INTERNET. But something Weslie said, really inspired me to write this post.
She talked about how people are often proud of their scars, but never their healing wounds.
It would have been so much easier for me to write this post, months from now when I got my life together. You know, AFTER I had overcome my social anxiety. To show you my "scars." Like a battle wound. I'd proudly talk about the dark place I was in, and I how finally saw the light. I'd wear my scars with honor, giving you a "how-to" post, filled with my hard times, and how I got through them. I'd talk about my triumphs over my fears and problems, with a repetitive promise that "IT DOES GET BETTER!"
Do you see what I'm saying? No one wants to talk about when they're bleeding and hurting. No one wants to compromise their picture perfect social image and appear weak. We don't want you to know we're healing.
But that's where I'm at right now. I'm healing.
I don't have the answers and I haven't fixed my problems. Right now, my life is messy. It's not pretty. I'm in the middle of the train wreck. But that is why I decided it is the perfect time to send this post this out into the world. Ignoring my fears of harsh judgement and criticism, I'm posting this because I deserve it. The day will come where I'll post about how I saw the light, and won the battle. That day will come, I'm sure of it. But this is not that post. This is the post I'll show my kids someday, when they're going through something similar. This is my thoughts, and my words, during the struggle. And you're coming along for the ride too. You're in too deep. No turning back now. Amber Fillerup can wait. We're in this together.
I always find it reassuring when people I follow on social media talk about their problems. To realize that hot mom Ashley, who drives a G Wagon and goes to brunch with her equally hot mom friends with G Wagons, ALSO gets sad sometimes, and cries at manipulative puppy commercials. It's nice to know that I'm not alone, and these girls who seem perfect, also deal with their demons, and bad hair days.
Therefore I feel like I owe it to my readers and followers to reassure you in the same way, that I am not perfect either.
(pause for laughter)
Here's the truth.
I'm kind of a loser.
I started traveling like a crazy woman last year, and I began to realize that I was really sad when I came home from my trips. This is normal right? That's what I thought, so I self diagnosed it as post-awesome-vacation-depression. But in the last couple weeks I've noticed something. And I really wasn't aware of it until now, but a big reason I plan trips is because I get lonely, and depressed and I desperately need something to look forward to. I came home from Thailand last November, and I didn't leave my house for weeks. I just spent an entire month, with the greatest people, feeling so loved, so on top of the world, and then back to real life where I was too anxious to go out on the weekends or make plans. It was awful. So with my next paycheck, I booked a ticket to Europe. And it helped, it really did. Because I was still dealing with my new found anxiety, but I was able to keep myself busy and excited by planning a trip. Does that make sense?? I know that isn't a good answer to my problem, and I should... I don't know, learn how to make real friends that aren't fictional TV show characters. But I'm just speaking freely here. Being vulnerable. Keeping it real.
Guys, I literally don't leave my house. My level of isolation rivals spongebob when he made friends with the used napkin and the half eaten potato chip so he wouldn't have to face the outside world. I mean I'm not THAT pathetic. My friends are much more substantial. (My laptop, Netflix, The cast of The Office. Okay, it's pretty pathetic.)
And to round it out, I'm overly sensitive. Like, craaaazy sensitive. Sassy is one of the first words close friends would use to describe me, but I'll probably burst into tears if you unfollow me on twitter.
So the combination of being incredibly sensitive, anti social, but also really lonely and constantly craving the approval of others, is a disastrous one. Here's an example.
A couple weeks ago, I forced myself out of the house to see my favorite band, the 1975, play a show in Salt Lake. Now, you guys have to understand. There are few things I love more than this band. I would sell my first born child, to have Matty Healy write a song about me. I looooove them!! But even the morning of the concert, I was thinking of every excuse not to go. And this was my FAVORITE band! It was my freaking social anxiety kicking in! I was so upset with myself. I did my best to shut out the voice telling me to stay home, and I went anyway.
Our friends had been saving us a spot in line, and we drove up early that day to meet them.
This caused quite a few problems.
CA-LEEEEAAAARRRRR-LYYYYYYYY I was not a *true fan* because I hadn't been camped out since Monday. Yes. Monday. As in four days before the show started. As if we were about to witness the second coming, and wanted a front row spot to meet Jesus himself.
I should have known better. Hell hath no fury like a fangirl scorned. And these fangirls were no joke. Within minutes, they had security called on us, and even my snapchat was pulled up by some random angsty teenager, trying to prove I had not been there as long as them. This particular angsty teenager yelled amongst the crowd "She thinks she can do whatever she wants because she has a lot of Instagram followers!"
And in that moment, I wanted to crawl in a hole forever. I wanted to go back to my room, back to my bed, back to my Netflix, and just HIDE. I was absolutely mortified. All of my fears were confirmed and that awful voice in my head was reassuring me that I shouldn't have left my house after all. And I believed it.
The rest of the day waiting for the show to start, I was flipped off, cussed out, and constantly talked negatively about right in front of my face. Seriously, right in front of me. And for someone with severe anxiety who already assumes everyone is talking negatively about them, to actually HEAR it, was actually, physically painful. People mocked my videos, and started talking about how dumb my pictures were, knowing I could hear everything they were saying. I was getting handfuls of tweets, people actually telling me things like my outfit was ugly, I was annoying and that I should just go home. I didn't know any of these people either!! All of this because my friend saved us a spot in line. So you can probably guess what happened, my overly sensitive side, was in pure meltdown mode.
The funny thing is, normal Indy, would have laughed this off. No doubt. I would have made uncomfortable eye contact with the 'mean girl', said something clever, and stood there with impeccable posture, completely owning the situation. This new version of me, however, was shaking all day, absolutely helpless. I even called my mom, with tears in my eyes, asking what I should do. How I should act. A situation that seems so small and silly to others, was spiraling out of control because my mind was blowing it out of proportion. That's how my mind works lately. I had zero perspective.
The concert came and went, but I faced the backlash for a couple of days. I've never received so many mean comments, and tweets. I feel qualified to do my own segment on Jimmy Kimmel now. It's not even like I'm some huge internet presence, or even someone with hundreds of thousands of followers. But it's a real problem in this day and age, where people think that others who do have somewhat of a following, deserve their criticism. Like once you hit a certain number, your feelings aren't put into question anymore. They're just doing their job. Putting you in your place.
And, YO. I get it. I've been there guys!!! I vividly remember my mom sitting me down a couple years ago and saying, "Indy. You have to stop sending hate mail to Nash Grier."
It's just the way of the world these days, and it's ugly. But how much cooler would it be if we were spreading love instead?? Promoted things we liked, and kept quiet about things we didn't?
Anyway. That whole situation lasted for about a week and it was a disaster. My demons took over and convinced me that this silly experience was the most humiliating event of my life, and everything that was being said about me on the internet was true. In reality, it probably wasn't that big of a deal. You're probably wondering why I would let a situation like this affect me to this degree. But when it rains it pours right? I think that's all based on attitude. When you're already upset and sad, and things start piling up on you, it's easy to feel like the world is against you and life isn't fair. That's where I've been lately. I let these things and these experiences hurt me, and it's only gone downhill from there. Without airing all of my dirty laundry, I'll just tell you, it's been a hard month. One of the hardest of my life. I cry on average of 16 times a day, which is about four times more than I usually cry when I'm normal and happy. (I cry a lot. I'm an emotional girl. We've established this.) And I wish I could sit here and write about how I had a breakthrough and overcame my social anxiety, stopped being so sensitive, and actually tried to do something productive. But in reality, I left my house once today, and it was to get a burrito. (I'll call it a success though.)
I'm still healing. I'm not at the place I want to be. I'm not really happy with myself, I'm not really proud of myself, and I still feel really lonely, but have too much anxiety to surround myself with other people.
Also, I think a huge part of being vulnerable, is not downplaying your hardships. I consider myself so blessed, and so lucky, every. day. of. my. life. I have friends with eating disorders, I have friends who's parents are dying, I have friends struggling with addictions. Their problems seem much bigger than my own. And it feels awkward, and insensitive to sit here and complain about my inner struggles, when I know there is so much more hurt in the world on such a higher level. But like I said, being vulnerable is accepting your flaws, acknowledging them, and having the courage to let other people see them as well. My problems are REAL. Oh so real. And so scary. And just because someone else is going through a really, really, hard time, that doesn't take away my issues, or discredit them in anyway. I'm not posting this so you will feel sorry for me, I'm posting this because getting better is a process. And it involves being vulnerable, in whatever way you can be. I really hope that comes across.
So. While I haven't solved my own problems, I've found little ways to make the healing less painful. And in attempt to make this blog post sound less depressing, I want to share these ways with you guys, in case theres a girl like me out there who would rather take a bubble bath than go to a party.
Consider these tips, a little ibuprofen for the soul.
1. CUT OFF TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS.
This one took me the longest to figure out, and it's a little strange because this one hurts. This one takes awhile for the relief to kick in. Like weeks or months, even. But when it finally does, you feel so GOOD! You know how bad it sucks when you feel like you're the one putting in all the effort into a friendship/relationship? Like you care so much about this person, and this friendship and you'd be willing to do anything for them, but you don't feel like they would do the same? CUT IT OFF. For so long I tried to hold onto these certain friendships, and nurture them back to health, simply for the fact that we had been friends for years. But thats not a good enough reason to let someone keep hurting you. One sided friendships aren't healthy. So END IT BABE!! Be a friend from afar. Meaning you can still be nice and loving to someone, without letting them take advantage of your kindness.
2. YOUR PHONE IS PUBLIC ENEMY #1
When you're sad, and you're constantly seeing your friends out having fun without you, it suuuuucks. Right? Why do we put ourselves through that?? I deleted the twitter app in the midst of all the hate I was getting, and the second I did, the mean comments lost all their power. They were still out there, I didn't make them disappear. I just removed myself from the situation so I wasn't seeing them, therefore, they were completely harmless. They couldn't hurt me. Snapchat and Instagram too. It wasn't helping me at all. It was making me feel worse about myself, and the fact that I didn't want to go out and be social. When I was blissfully unaware of what everyone was doing, when I wasn't checking my phone every two seconds to see their updates, I was able to focus on important things. like reading, honing my Mario Kart skills, talking to my family, laying on the floor with my dog. the good stuff.
Instagram is a place where you're seeing the best parts of everyones life. You're seeing the good selfie, not the 78 bad ones in the rejected pile. You're seeing celebrities and models, who not only have a glam squad, but a team of people who are professionals at good angles, and photoshop.
We're all attracted to beautiful things, but at some point we have to be careful with the type of media we ingest. If you scroll down your Instagram feed and a photo makes you feel bad about yourself, or your body, or your life, it's time to unfollow. Unfollow me if you have to.
Like for example, I love Gigi Hadid more than I love myself, and baby girl didn't do anything wrong I would just quite literally hate myself when she'd post a picture of her flawless cheekbones. THAT'S NOT HEALTHY!!!! Comparison kills. It's taken me awhile to realize that someone else beauty doesn't take away mine. But when that's all thats being shoved down our throats on social media all day, unfollowing for awhile can actually help.
(I'm in a better place now. GiGi and I are chill again. No hard feelings, queen)
So yes, my tip number 2, is when you're sad, try and stay off your phone. Really. Its that simple. We're all human girls. We can't stay away forever. But deleting the app until you feel good about yourself again, is a good place to start.
And last but not least,
3. ITS OKAY TO STAY AT HOME ON A FRIDAY NIGHT
Maybe not every single night like me haha! but if I've learned anything it's that I'm still going to have a pretty awesome life, even if I skip a party. I'm still going to be happy and successful and cool, if I take sometime to myself. I wasted so much time in high school having FOMO, and wanting to be social 24/7, and while I don't regret those memories, I do wish I spent a little more time watching Hannah Montana with my little sister.
These tips aren't foolproof, and it feels a little silly offering any sort of advice when I have a hard time following it myself. But those three things have and a huge impact on my life, already, and its worth noting.
Like I said guys, I don't have this whole thing figured out. But neither do you, and that's actually really cool. That we're all just clueless and scared. Sometimes you'll have it together a little more than me, and you'll help me, and sometimes I'll be the one helping you. But that's what life is about. Helping eachother. And just by reading this post, you're helping me.
So here's to healing. Here's to staying home and watching The Office. Here's to being vulnerable on the internet.
I love you guys.
P.S. The best song on Harry's album is 'From the Dining Table'