Anxiety, Self-Image, Personal Growth

i have always struggled with anxiety, self-image, self-consciousness, self-esteem… the whole nine yards. i’m pretty sure most women do to some extent, in at least one of those areas. it can be crippling and frustrating.

and it is absolutely a waste of time.

i don’t say this because i feel like it can be shrugged away, like so many other wastes of time. because it ISN’T just shrugged away, unfortunately. you can’t just ignore it. it manifests itself in every aspect of your life, whether you like it (or realize it) or not. it can ruin you. it can ruin a lot of things.

i say it’s a waste of time, because after i had caylin, i realized how much time i actually HAD wasted worrying about all of these things, when i could be doing so much MORE to fix them. when i could instead be fully enjoying everything in my life right now.

i’ve always tried to take care of myself, if anything just to stay skinny. but it wasn’t until caylin that i had a REASON. brett is obviously one reason. but caylin is a different kind of reason.

since she was born, i have treated myself the way i should’ve been treating myself from day 1.

  • vitamins.
  • cooking better for my family.
  • working out regularly – i will expand on this.
  • getting outside more often – this used to never happen. like, ever. sunlight does wonders for your mood. yes, it’s common sense. but i never took advantage.
  • being more social.
  • enjoying the little things.

i started working out regularly in march. i know i’ve posted about it several times. but, since i started, i still haven’t let up (except for vacations, it’s vacation. come on…). i’ve not only lost fat (and clothing sizes), but i’ve gained muscle. i weigh less and feel worlds better than i did in high school, even when i was doing gymnastics regularly.

i feel like i’m 17 again instead of 27. i have so much energy. even when i’m exhausted, i feel energized. powerful. like i could stay up another 24 hours at the end of the day. my mood has improved drastically. plus, i’m not [as] bitchy (generally speaking). it’s just awesome.

it’s not just me–brett started working out regularly as well. he works out with the neighbors almost every day while i cook dinner and play with caylin. i take her on an afternoon walk a few times a week when i’m waiting on dinner to cook and they’re doing their thing in the garage. sometimes i take her to the neighbors to play with their little girl. we all get some sunshine. we all get a little space. we socialize. we talk.

tangent: we have a real, functioning social life now. i feel like moving into this house was just the best decision we’ve ever made. for caylin, for us, just in general. it improved our lives in so many ways. this is one of them.

i just feel like our relationship is so much healthier now because we’ve taken all these steps.

he works out. i work out. we both feel GOOD. we both feel better physically and mentally. moods are improved. hormones are in balance. it just works. when we’re happy, we’re happy around caylin. and that is #1 priority.

my face hasn’t broken out in months. MONTHS. that is unheard of.

what i’ve been getting to, though, is how all of this positively affects the effects of social anxiety.

brett and i got back from defcon on sunday. it was epic and amazing and i loved every bit of it. but every year, i usually dread going. i mean, i am always excited to go, but i still dread it. i have a love/hate relationship with conferences, which is part of the reason i’ve only ever wanted to go to 1 or 2 a year.

every conference i go to, i panic. about eleventy billion times a day. the only 2 i attend (so far) are CES and defcon. they’re huge. they’re crowded. they’re full of thousands of people. it’s terrifying.

every time i’ve gone to one, i have had to take bathroom breaks every 20 feet. dart into the ladies room, stand there for a few minutes and recoup. re-energize. fix my makeup. fix my clothes. get my shit together. stop sweating. stop shaking. suck it in. move along.

this year, i had a personal breakthrough. a huge one.

because i had been doing all of these things over the past several months…

  • i was able to walk down the halls at defcon without sweating through my clothes.
  • i was able to wear a tank top and not run back to the hotel room and change clothes. sounds stupid, but i haven’t worn tanktops pretty much at all since high school until the past few weeks. i’ve always hated my arms and my back, and now i don’t, and can wear summer clothes for once.
  • i was able to wear a skirt and not run back to the hotel and change clothes. (see last item)
  • i was able carry ONLY my credit cards/ID/phone with me, instead of lugging a purse around. for years, my purse has been my excuse to carry my makeup and all the rest of my shit. dude–i had NO. PURSE. THE ENTIRE TRIP. this was huge. i never leave the house without my makeup. or my purse. this has not happened since middle school. it sounds ridiculous and petty, but you have no idea what a breakthrough this was. i felt liberated. it was incredible.
  • my fake bathroom breaks were absolutely eliminated. the only reason for the stupid amount of bathroom trips was the free beer. thank you, vegas. thank you, defcon.
  • i didn’t panic walking through the halls. instead, i frantically searched for people i knew. for my twitter friends i hadn’t met yet. for any excuse to reach out and ENJOY everything and make friends and see people i hadn’t seen and take in every bit of fun there was to be had.
  • i went to the freaking pool. i got IN THE POOL. sans coverup. there were fancy vegas dancers and i didn’t feel like total shit. i didn’t get nervous. i didn’t worry about brett wanting to leave me for the pretty waitress. it’s vegas. this stuff is supposed to be fun. freaking ENJOY IT.
  • i took brett to see zumanity. there is no way that i would’ve done this a year ago. absolutely no way. it was basically porn on stage. (um, it was awesome.) the old (and debbie downer) me never would’ve done that.

i know these examples seem half-assed, but if you know me, you know that they’re really not. these things individually aren’t really a big deal, but looking at the big picture, it is. i feel like a better person. a better woman.

i feel like i can be the awesome (in my head, at least. i will try my hardest, dammit) mom i need to be for caylin.

i can be the wife i need to be for brett.

i feel stronger for my family BECAUSE i’m a stronger me. i have more confidence. i want to enjoy EVERYTHING. everything is FUN. everything is awesome. i love work. i love life. i love playtime with caylin. i love every bit of all of it. finally.

i only wish it didn’t take 27 years for me to get to this high.

that, to me, is worth millions.