Connection (a poem)

You are the universe reminding me that everything I want does exist

But I don’t get to have it.

In another life, I have loved you with every part of my being

And the atoms of my soul remember that when you are near.

In this life,

I will appreciate this time for what it is

And not make it anything it isn’t.

We have known each other long before now

And I look forward to meeting you again.

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Happy New Year!

Like last year, I have gone back and forth about writing this but this year it’s for different reasons.

I actually feel kind of bad writing this years recap and it’s mainly because 2018 wasn’t all that awful for me. I keep seeing a bunch of post about how terrible 2018 was and how 2019 will be better and I wonder if I missed something. I also know that due to moments I had in 2018, I have been hyper aware of the fact that, while my life may be difficult in some ways, there will always be someone somewhere who looks at my life and wishes they had it or something similar. So I’ve spent 2018 trying my best to be positive and grateful for what I have. It’s been an interesting ride for sure.

Did I do everything I wanted? Nope. Did I accomplish all the things I set out to? Of course not. Do I still have time? Sure.

An incomplete list of things I did not do in 2018:

Save money

Move out of my parents house

Eliminate debt (the exact opposite actually)

Avoid my two year car accident curse

Lose weight

Exercise more

Do those last two for a prolonged period of time

Meet Luke Kuechly, have him instantly fall in love and become Mrs. Luke Kuechly, after a whirlwind romance.

The reality is, these are things that have been on my yearly to do list for many many years (including the last one). But overall, despite not achieving them, I had a good year. I would just really like to be able to say that without feeling bad about it.

So, in looking forward, a few areas I plan to focus on and improve in 2019

Financial: I am the first to admit that I am terrible with money. I have a decent job with good benefits. I make enough money to at the very least support myself outside of my parents home. I could probably manage to support myself and my daughter as well if I cut back drastically and we ate a lot of ramen. I don’t want to do that and I am blessed with parents who aren’t forcing me to do that either. I will not apologize for this and in 2019 I want to stop feeling bad about that. When I talk to people about moving out, and I start to feel bad about not having done it already, I realize it is typically people who do not have kids, who left home for college and never moved back. Our stories are different and that’s okay. Being a mother literally dictates every decision I make. And moving out would immediately cause me to be a single mother providing 100% of the financial and emotional support to my child. Until I feel like that is the absolute best thing for us to do…we will continue to stay put even if others don’t understand the decision (and even if my child doesn’t understand it either). Also in the financial realm, I have been working on decreasing credit card debt (Italy was not nice to my credit cards and I have since handed them over so I can’t use them). I even managed a credit free Christmas which I’m proud of. So, I will continue to make double payments to eliminate credit card debt which will all work together to increase my financial stability. Ta-da!

Relationships: I would like to be a better friend. I jokingly but seriously warn people who appear to be trying to create a new friendship with me, that I am a terrible friend. It’s true, but I would like to improve them. I want to stop being late to things I’ve planned with friends or just forgetting altogether. I want to check on people who I haven’t talked to in a while or who I can tell something might be up. I want to see people in person a little more often (if financially possible) and not just get updates on social media. I want to, however, do this in a way that is not emotionally and spiritually draining for me. Being a good friend is hard work. Being present for people and available and listening and offering advice or not offering advice depending on the moment and knowing the right things to say and trying to lighten the mood and just being here…it’s hard. I try really hard not to judge people when they aren’t able to do all of those things for me because I know it’s difficult when we all have our own stuff going on. I realize though, because I have this new found guilt of not having an extremely difficult life and things for the most part are going well, that I then feel like I should do better and be better at all of these things for all of these people. I want to do better but I also want to allow myself grace if I don’t. So, I want to be a better friend. I want to continue to grow other relationships including with family, friends and the boyfriend who I’m pretty sure I bullied into being my boyfriend but now he’s stuck. I don’t think he minds though!

Spirituality: I think this is one area that I have struggled with the most this year. A few years back I was in this great place spiritually and then allowed a relationship to derail that. I don’t have much to say about this one except some work here is definitely needed.

Health: Here’s the big one! I realized a month or two ago that I have never been physically healthy as an adult. That made me sad. What I mean by physically healthy is eating right, at a healthier weight, exercising regularly, not using food as a coping skill, able to walk up the stairs without dying, and overall just happy with myself and how I treat my body. I also realize I spend a lot of time wishing this would change but zero time actually doing anything to make things change. Prior to my birthday and the holidays I was getting things on track. A piece of chocolate cake and some snow basically derailed that. This year I want to obtain a healthy relationship with food and exercise that is not screwed up by a minor speed bump. I also want to look amazing in a bathing suit.

So I think that’s it. Pretty basic really. At the end of the day, I am not perfect, neither is my life, but I want to preserve and improve what I have created and I think the key to that for me is focusing on the positive and allowing grace for myself and others.

I hope whoever reads this is able to find and give happiness, grace and love in the new year!

2018 is over and I’m glad! JK

2018 has been one interesting year.  I decided to date, then I decided not to date, then I decided to date again, and now I’m not sure if I’m dating or not…*shrugs*.  I moved from one state to another 2 states away. I realized that making friends as an adult is hard for a slightly antisocial introverted person.  BUT, I’ve also shed some of my introverted ways as well…kind of.  However you put it, I must say that this year was pretty good.  I’ve had highs, and I’ve definitely had lows, but we’re going to end this thing on a good note, so I’m just going to get right into it. In no particular order, these are my favorite moments/things about 2018:

Concerts Concerts Concerts

I’ve decided to lump this one together.  Why?  Well, because I didn’t want three different concerts taking up my list.  DUH….

I was never a concert goer growing up.  I didn’t go to my first concert really until I was like, 25.  My first artist I ever saw live in concert was Bruno Mars, and ever since then, I’ve been in love with it.  Now, people may have considered me a big music guy, and I am, but I’m not that big on crowds, or I wasn’t.  I’ve grown to overcome that over the past years and now I even make friends (with the assistance of alcohol)  The concerts I’ve been to this year were Miguel (twice) w/ DVSN, Janelle Monae w/ St Beauty , Sam Smith, Tank and the Bangas w/ Big Freedia, Allen Stone, and Jessie J.  All of these shows were awesome. Janelle Monae, was BY FAR my favorite with Allen Stone and Sam Smith coming in at close second.  If you want to know why, just ask, I’d be more than glad to ramble on about her fierceness.  There’s nothing like seeing an artist in person, be it your favorite or not.  The sheer talent that these humans display is just utterly amazing.  If you find yourself close to any, check them out. You won’t be disappointed.  Here are a few videos of my favorite songs from my favorite concerts from this year.

Janelle Monae – Django Jane

Sam Smith – HIM

Allen Stone – Unaware

Moving from Charlotte to Washington, DC

Most definitely the BIGGEST decision I’ve ever made in life and from a professional standpoint, I feel like it was a great decision.  From a personal standpoint, I’m not sure yet.  My personal/social life hasn’t been the best, but it hasn’t been terrible either.  It’s kind of hard being an adult in a new city who’s trying to find their footing.  The friends I do have here that I’ve known from College though are great and I really appreciate them for all their help when I just want to talk, or go out to Happy Hour or whatever, but I’m still trying to find my own place…My own little circle, if you will.  Anywho, this post isn’t about that.  This move has really let me know that I shouldn’t be complacent or be satisfied with complacency and if there is an opportunity to better myself, that I should think of all the options and go out on a limb if I believe in myself. And that’s what I did.  I don’t think I’m ever looking back, although I do love Charlotte, it was pass time for me to leave, and I’m glad that the pieces fell in the right place for it to happen.  I’m loving DC btw for anyone who’s wondering

Bowling with Stonewall Sports (Charlotte)

So, thanks to a friend from a couple years back, he introduced me/forced me to play sports with Stonewall in Charlotte.  I started out playing winter volleyball (in a gym) and honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing. It got me out of the house during the week, and I was able to socialize a bit and make some good acquaintances. But then bowling season came around, and I’ve never loved being social as much as I did once I discovered that.  I think it’s just the non competitive demeanor of most players.  Everyone was there to have fun and you could also drink beer while doing it without looking like an alcoholic, lol.  It’s a very low key, social sport and that’s what I enjoyed most about it.  I’ve made some good friends playing, and I honestly miss those guys the most outside the circle of my close friends.  Stonewall Bowling will forever be ingrained into my mind as one of my favorite memories of 2018, and of Charlotte as a whole.

Friends

In addition to making new friends through Stonewall this year, I’ve also had friends who have always been there for me.  Obviously some of us don’t talk on a daily basis, but we can definitely chop it up as soon as one of us says hi and has something to talk about.  And sometimes we don’t even talk about anything, we just like to say hello and keep it moving.  I hate that I wasn’t able to spend more time with my most bestest best friend Lanita, but I know that she’s got my back any time I need it, and I have hers just as well. Also, shoutouts to my new best friend and former roomie Caroline.  I hope I didn’t drive her too crazy for that year she lived wit me.  She’s helped me with more than she will ever know over the last year and I’m forever grateful. Lastly, shoutouts to my BFFFFFF and blogmate Lee, for putting up with my mess and silliness and stupid emotions over the last forever.  Not sure I would be as sane as I am without ranting to you on a daily basis. I can’t say enough to embody the appreciation I have for all of my friends.  I love them all, and hope that they all prosper in their jobs, family lives, or whatever else they want to have success in for life.

Family

I will be the first to admit.  I don’t visit my family as often as I probably should but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.  They probably think differently though, lol.  Either way, the times that I did visit my family this year, it was for special reasons, and I enjoyed every moment of it.  I want to be there for them more than I have in the past so I want to make it my mission to visit more often, talk to them more often, and just be around/present more often.  Unfortunately, it may be harder since I live farther away now, but we will try.

 

Sora

I owe pretty much all of my sanity to my wonderful, but crazy dog Sora.  She was named after the girl in Digimon, but only after I found it on a pet name site.  despite having a pink coat, a purple harness, and no male genitals, people still think she’s a boy dog, and everyone in my apartment building either is in love with her, or is scared of her. lol.  Sora wouldn’t hurt a fly, but she is very energetic and doesn’t know how to turn if off.  The joy and excitement she has when she sees me get up every morning, and when I get home in the evenings, puts a smile on my face that I just can’t avoid.  I love her to death.  I have literally a MILLION pics of my loving pup on my phone and I’ll try not to share them all here, but OMG I don’t know how I would be without my lil sweetheart.  lol

Just look at this pup!

This Blog

Even though I haven’t written a lot here lately, most of my content comes from this year and I can’t thank you all enough for tuning into the craziness I call my mind.  Everyone who has given me feedback, I have taken it and hopefully applied all of your input to make this thing better for everyone.  I’ve been told by many people that they enjoy reading my posts and even had some who were inspired by them.  As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think of myself as that type of person, one who inspires, but I’m glad to hear that 1) you all are no different from me and 2) that we all go through life in different but similar ways and 3) that we all can provide some kind of inspiration or insight to help  each other out, even if you don’t feel like you can. Also, I love that my blogmates have been here to share in these experiences as well, and hopefully we can grow to even more followers in 2019. Here’s to our followers and to us for another wonderful year! Year 2 will be a blast!  We love you all!

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Emotional Abuse: A Hip Hop Love Story

Gather round boys and girls. I’m about to tell you a little story.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a fabulous princess from the Bronx. This princess was no ordinary princess. While all the other princesses were busy being prim and proper and not making a sound while they waited to be saved by their prince, this princess chose a different route. She was loud, and obnoxious, and proud, and she was even super proud of her sexuality and body to the shock of many of the so called ladies and gentleman of the land. This princess lived her best life and made a name for herself. She went from lowly peasant stripper to chart topping female rapper. All was seemingly well in her world…but not for long. As they tend to do, the wannabe princes of the land came from far and wide. Not to win her affection, but to jump on her band wagon and boost their own growing success. Maybe the princess saw an opportunity and took it. Maybe she was blinded by what looked like love. Who knows. Eventually the princess found one colorful prince with a tendency toward mumbling and she settled down. Emphasis on the settled. They hastily got married. They had a baby. All was seemingly well in the land according to social media and new chart topping songs. Unfortunately, however, the prince decided to prove himself to be a fuck boy. He cheated and probably did all sorts of other unmentionable things because 99% of the time even when princes have fabulous princesses who have mothered their children and helped them gain even higher levels of success, they still want everything insight including skanky peasants who can’t bring anything to the table. Luckily, our princess was smart and dropped the no good fuck boy prince and went on to live happily ever after pulling a total Taylor Swift and making millions off the break up…THE END!!

NOT!!!

So, that’s definitely where the story should end. Cardi B dumped Offset and he should have acknowledged his loss and kept it moving. An apology in the moment. Continued to support his daughter and hopefully they can manage some civil co-parenting for the next 18 years. Maybe, if he truly meant it, he could have privately asked for forgiveness and a second chance and proven he has changed (after actually changing) and then if she chose to get back with him more power to her. If not. No is no and sucks to be you!

But nope. As many emotionally abusive and manipulative boys like to do…Offset is currently attempting to bully Cardi into taking him back. Hijacking her show, going on stage with other people and getting the audience to chant for Cardi to take him back, and I’m sure other abusive/manipulative tactics that I am unaware of because keeping track of this story honestly makes me sick to my stomach!

I write this as someone who has been in similar situations multiple times, just obviously not on the same scale. I used to think there was something special about me that made men regret letting me go and begging my forgiveness and for me to take them back. And I did. Multiple times. But you know what…they NEVER and I mean NEVER changed. A few days or a week does not a changed man make. Hell in some situations even years did not mean they had changed. What they had done, however, is continue to perfect their emotionally abusive tactics.

Emotional abuse is exactly what we are witnessing take place between Offset and Cardi. I don’t use those words lightly. I’m saying exactly what I mean. This is not love. I repeat. THIS IS NOT LOVE. THIS IS ABUSE. And so many people (male and female) or so use to this being their only definition of love that they are encouraging Cardi to take this no good asshole back.

Treating someone like shit is not love

Cheating is not love (that means physical and emotional cheating)

Lying is not love

Sneaking around is not love

Breaking someone’s trust is not love

Emotional abuse is not love

Doing these things repeatedly and asking for forgiveness and making false promises that you will change and then not changing is not love

Making someone feel bad for choosing themselves when you have treated them like garbage for any amount of time is not love

Stalking someone at their job (exactly what Offset did) is not love

Getting your friends (fans) to harass someone for you is not love.

If you need a refresher on what love is go take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 as a starting place then work your way out from there. Religious or not, it’s a pretty good definition.

Now. I’m not saying Cardi is perfect. I’m sure she’s done her own mess. If Offset didn’t leave her when she did it, that’s on him. Just because he chose to stick around when she was not loving him correctly, does not mean she has to stick around when he does the same.

I write this out of a place of familiarity, sadness and fear having, as I said, experienced these same things in the past. I don’t use the word trauma lightly, but as time has gone on, I continue to realize how much my last relationship seriously impacted my mental, physical, spiritual and relational well being. Seeing Offset on stage trying to guilt trip Cardi into taking him back gave me flashbacks of the last time I ran into my ex. I couldn’t finish watching it. I’m impressed with how Cardi is handling the situation and asking her fans not to attack Offset. I’d be considering a restraining order at this point.

Anywho. I said all that to say this, if you are in a situation that is even remotely emotionally abusive. Get out. Run as fast and as far away as possible. Maybe they will change. Maybe they won’t. You are not required to stick around and see if they will. Despite what the internet may have you think about how a real woman should stick by her man while he is growing…a real man shouldn’t have to grow from an abusive jerk face into an actual man. You are not his mother. That is not your job. Know your worth. Double it. Add tax and then under absolutely no circumstances ever put yourself on sale for anyone ever again.

Also…this made me holler!

What No One Tells You About Getting Old

*Disclaimer: yes I know I’m only 30. I’m not that old so please don’t read the title and immediately start saying stuff like “oh you don’t know nothing yet. Just you wait.” You know why, because this post is specifically for people who say that kind of shit when someone younger than them says something about getting old. You, are on my list of slightly annoying humans.*

Alright, now that that’s out of the way. I have come to realize that there are two very specific things that no one warned me would happen as I start to get older.

I have been 30 for about 9 months now and for the most part it’s been going pretty good. There are the typical getting older things that I prepared for.

My ability to understand new technology has ended. I give up. I had to ask my daughter how to add my bitmoji to a post on SnapChat and you would have thought I asked her how to save a word document the way she looked at me.

My taste in music has basically been stuck in the early 2000’s since I left middle school. Occasionally I find a new song I like and play it to death but the classics will never get old. *cash money taking over for the 99 and the 2000 begins playing softly in the background*

I have never been able to do any of those new fancy dances. That started with that stupid dance for “It’s Going Down” by Young Joc at junior prom and it has only gotten worse from there.

I’ve long ago lost track of all the new slang. Most of the time the words just annoy the mess out of me. This originally started with the word “swagger” and has only gotten worse from there.

I’ve basically been a little old lady trapped in a young persons body my whole life it feels like. And I’ve been okay with that. But lately my body has been catching up and it too has been saying

Just a little too frequently for my liking.

Example number 1 of how my body is getting too old for this shit:

I used to be able to eat anything I wanted without and consequences. It was a beautiful thing that I did not appreciate until it was too late. My metabolism basically drove off a cliff after I got pregnant. A lot of that may have been genetic as I come from a family of big beautiful women. Recently, however, it has not just been the weight gain or difficulty losing it that has been the issue.

All of my beloved sugary, fatty, deep fried favorites are literally causing me physical pain or at the very least extreme fatigue. I literally have a conversation with myself before eating any type of sugar to acknowledge the torture that will come.

And if it’s a slice of bread, just know I will be struggling not to sleep for the rest of the day. I like naps but I have to work.

The Venn diagram of all the foods I love that are bad for me and all the foods that make me feel like crap is now officially a circle.

And unlike this nifty Gif I found the circles just stop once they overlap. (Fun fact. If you spell it as vin and not venn you just get a bunch of Gifs of Vin Diesel).

Example number 2 of how my body is getting too old for this shit:

I don’t heal like I used too. Cuts, bruises, and random scrapes take for ever to heal. A hang nail can be painful for several days. My body seems to have just given up on fixing itself. It’s basically saying “well friend, it’s all down hill from here so why even try.”

Basically:

I got into a car the other day and hit my shin in the glove compartment. It bruised immediately, swelled up and it hurt to walk. It took a solid two weeks to stop being tender to the touch.

I had blood drawn 10 days ago. I immediately knew she had messed up and it was going to bruise. I looked like I was shooting heroin for a solid seven days and like someone had grabbed my arm a little too hard for the remaining two. Today is the first day without any bruising.

Here is a incomplete list of things that have caused me physical pain in the last nine months:

Walking up stairs

Exercise (but not like oh feel the burn it’s working pain. No. Injury)

Sitting for too long

Sleeping for too long

Leaning against something for too long

Resting my leg against a coffee table as I do a puzzle

Picking up my nephew

Doing my hair

So basically

And the “this” I’m referring to is daily living without injuring myself.

Part of me worries all of this is actually signs of some medical issue. I had my yearly check up. My A1C is back below pre-diabetic levels for the first time in years, my thyroid is good, my liver is good, no cervical cancer or STI’s. My cholesterol is a little high probably thanks to that month of keto I did (mmmm bacon). But for the most part all the basic tests came back with good results.

Which leads me to conclude I’m just getting old and this is what happens but no one tells you. Thanks guys!

I’m going to go sign up for life alert now just to be safe.

I Downloaded Tinder…Again…

Tinder Phone

(Dislcaimer: Some slight sexual language ahead)

After being in DC officially for a month, I’ve decided to put down the “hookup” apps (Grindr, Scruff, Jack’d, etc.) and decided to go into the more traditional “dating” app route (Tinder, Match, etc.).

I can hear the Straights already; “Wait, I thought Tinder WAS a hookup app?”.

And yes, for straight people it is, but in the gay community, Tinder is used more to actually get to know people. Well, at least that’s what I use it for. You know, try and find friends, go on dates, etc.  However, yes it can still be used to hook up, but Tinder tends to move more slowly.  So when you have apps out there like Grindr and Scuff where you can literally tell if a horny guy is standing next to you, primed and ready, why would you use Tinder to hookup when you have that?

Anywho…

I’ve been using the “hookup” apps to kind of get my feel for the type of guys who were in my area.  I mean, I was using them in Charlotte for the last three months I was there, and it worked out pretty well, so i figured why not continue.  But in DC….I was not ready.  And this is an understatement. In a phrase, these apps in DC is major sensory overload and the way my personality is set up, it became very hard for me to deal.  You see, in Charlotte, where the gay community is vastly smaller than DC’s, you would maybe have about 50 guys (if that) close by on a good day.  Which, they would still message you, but it was manageable.  In DC, there’s probably 1000s of guys (exaggeration) within a mile (maybe closer), that are spamming your inbox with “Nice”, or “Hey handsome”, or “Damn you sexy”, or “Looking?” and it gets to be a little much for this timid, anxious Southern boy who just wants to browse around and admire guys unnoticed, you know.

With apps like Grindr, anybody (that you haven’t already blocked) is able to send you a message whether you want them to or not. There isn’t any “swiping” or “matching” so you basically are like 1 meal on a grid of 100, looking like a buffet of dick and ass just waiting to be devoured.  And let me just say, if you want to be devoured, go right ahead, I’m not judging. But, to add to it, you also have a general idea of the vicinity that someone is located in, which sounds scary at first, but it’s not. It’s pretty much a normal thing.  But yes, you’re bound to get some kind of message in your inbox that leads to you having to make a choice.  That choice is either to respond to Horny McHorndog, or ignore. Being that I’m not the typical sexually frustrated man that just wants to get off, I tend to ignore, or explain that I’m not there to hook up, and a lot of times people will get the point. But I’ve had my fair share of jackasses who were determined and didn’t take no for an answer. Obviously you can block these people, but this could still seem a bit scary or frightening, but then you remember that this guy is literally begging a stranger for sex on an app and then you get over it.

So yeah, I came to the realization today that my personality can’t handle this and does not belong on these kind of apps in this city. I need to slow it down, like, A LOT. So Tinder is the solution,  for right now until I get tired of it. Maybe I’ll bring back The Tinder Experiment (lol).

Honestly, if I could stay sane without any interaction with humans I probably would ultimately just keep to myself, but even I need some kind of face to face interaction at some points. Most people reading this would probably be like, “why don’t you go out to a bar or something?”. The number one reason is MONEY! Life ain’t cheap yo. lol.  But no, going out to a bar would be fine, but I don’t take random compliments or flirting very well (I’m very aloof and oblivious to strangers), and I end up just looking at people all awkwardly (I’m a mess).  I’m most comfortable when things are planned out in advanced.  It’s a part of that slight social anxiety thing I have.

So with that said, hello Tinder….again (groans).  Maybe this go round you can help with some lasting connections; Or maybe I’ll just delete you in a month just like every other app…

There has to be an easier way…

The Anxious Case of Malcolmin Button

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So for most of you who really know me, you know that I suffer from social anxiety. I used to mask it a lot by just calling it being introverted, or shy or whatever, which I am introverted but a tad on the extroverted side (when I’m in a “safe space”) and a lot of people tend to not understand how that works. So when they see me out here on Instagram living my “best life”, they think “oh, he’s such an outgoing guy. What does he mean he’s ‘shy'”. Well, it’s a very multifaceted thing, and it has layers. So I’m going to try and outline how my brain works for you all.

Anxiety affects people in different ways. My anxiety plays on some of my biggest insecurities. Be it, how I feel about the appearance of my body, my teeth, if I actually sound like an idiot when I talk to people, if I’m talking to much, if I’m actually interesting… The list goes on and on; and the basis of my being introverted is because these thoughts run through my head consistently when talking to friends, family, people I’m meeting for the first time, etc., so it causes me to shut down, and stay in my safe space.

Well, having social anxiety in a new city is not great at all, lol. And when I moved, I knew this would be a big thing that I’d have to encounter because even though I do have associates here that I can hang with, the dynamic of those friends/associates are totally different than what I’m used to. Another anxiety fueled thought I have regarding this is “those guys have their own circles and I don’t want to intrude…”. And I’m sure that’s beyond the truth, but I just can’t help it. My anxiety causes me to feel like I’m a burden to people sometimes.

So, with that said, I made a decision a week or so ago try and be better about my anxiety. Basically, I want to try and manage it better; and for those who follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed, I’m doing a lot more than when I first got here. And I won’t lie, the first two weeks I was here, I was a hermit. So much so that I lost 5 lbs because I didn’t want to go anywhere at all. Didn’t want to eat out at restaurants (the social gathering pastime), or go to a bar to party. But that is totally different now as I’ve been getting my feet wet being social with new people.

This is how I’m working to fight my anxiety:

1. Talking about it

Be it a therapist, or a friend, or even some of the new people that I’ve met, I’ve been super open about my social anxiety. One reason, is because I don’t want people to feel rejected or dissed when I do certain things regarding social situations, and two, it lets people get a better understanding of how I operate. Talking about my anxiety with people sets the stage on how comfortable I am when it comes to making certain decisions down the road.

2. Having a pet

OK this one depends. I know that everyone is not a pet person, or can afford a pet, but I thank whatever magical being responsible for my dog Sora. She’s very outgoing and playful and loving and she just makes getting out and doing things very easy. Even if I’m not necessarily being social, Sora has to go on her long walks. She loves seeing the other dogs in the neighborhood and enjoys the people too! So walking around with her allows me to get out of the house and enjoy the world outside which, in turn allows my mind to focus on other things and not my anxiety.

3. Doing things even though I don’t want to

So I was invited to a new friend’s place for a game night over the weekend. Knowing of my anxious tendencies he was understanding if I didn’t want to go, but he was also very pushy about it. Saying that I needed to go and meet people and whatnot (which, I mean, yeah ok). However, I was invited like on Monday, and the thing wasn’t until Saturday, and my brain was already processing the “questions” about how will people react to me even being there. I did go though, and I had a good time.

4. Not being afraid to say no

OK so I know this sounds contradictory, but just as much as you should let yourself step out of your comfort zone, you should also respect it. So when I find myself trying to “do the most”, I have to realize that I am an introvert that suffers from social anxiety first, and that I need to slow it down a bit. Take it back a few notches. Because when my social battery is completely drained, paired with the anxiety of being social, I tend to blow up and it’s not pretty.

5. Having friends who respect my anxiety and help me with it

Having understanding friends is key, because they should understand what you need when you need it. I know I touched on this before, but friends should be helpful when you talk to them about it. They should help you overcome it, as well as help you when you need to slow down a bit. This will be key in forming new friendships here in DC, and I can’t wait to get out there.

So yeah, these are the main keys of how I’m trying to overcome my social anxiety, and I feel like it’s working. For now, at least. I hope to continue to not look at this as a “problem” per se, but more so as another layer to my awesome personality. I may always have anxiety, but I am not going to let it run my life.