the truth can be so revealing.
when I chose to write about this topic, I literally sat with myself and was just wow’d at how far I’ve come.
While some of us who experience social anxiety (we may not even know that’s what we are experiencing) choose to isolate because it’s less threatening then engagement, I was the exact opposite.
I internally isolated but I externally had extreme FOMO.
Looking the part and being the part was too important to me.
Not including how fast I was running.
Hoping that one day my reality (inside and out) would magically just change.
Looking back at my teenage years and early twenties, I was definitely a performer.
Always using my gift of articulation, listening and fast talking to push down any stress in a social situation.
I spent dinner after dinner with people who would be shocked to know what I’m talking about now.
I get curious sometimes and I ask myself, — how is it that I could write autobiographies for every single friend I’ve ever had but not one person from my past (aside from maybe a few) could tell me one true thing about me?
And aside from … we all know people love to talk about themselves, the truth is; I designed it that way.
I was the queen of turning the conversation back to you.
Outside of having negativity in common, my friendships/relationships were very much always one-sided.
Yes, maybe they wanted to spend time with me but it was never anything intimate.
I intimately knew them .. but then again, I can’t fully blame them.
Before I was secure enough with who I am and what I’ve gone through – there was no chance in hell you’d find me in a conversation talking about .. well, me.
I was great at talking shit.
I was great at listening.
I was great at giving advice.
I was great at showing up.
I had great manners.
I could be apart of any conversation.
No one ever knew anything was wrong.
But what I really struggled with was; shame, embarrassment, attention and trust.
It was this major internal conflict.
I wanted friendships, I wanted to be seen and heard but at the same time I wasn’t seeing or hearing myself.
I didn’t think telling my truth and owning my truth could result in having friendships.
It was too embarrassing. It was too much to listen too. I was saving them from it, I thought.
The built in shame from my childhood prevented me from ever being less than ‘everything’s fine.’
The embarrassment I felt for all that I ‘didn’t have’ and all that ‘I would never experience’ prevented me from admitting what was really going on.
The immense neglect I went through as a child and a teenager made me so uncomfortable with attention and care that every opportunity that was given was quickly given back – ‘thanks for asking but what about YOU?’
And my lack of trust in someone knowing anything intimate about me and not using it to hurt me later on, .. was all consuming.
I couldn’t contemplate telling anyone how badly I was suffering without the fear of it coming back at me.
Without the fear that I would look less than perfect.
Without the fear that I would become a ‘problem.’
Without the fear of, … judgement, criticism and god forbid someone else were to tell me, ‘but that’s your mom, though.’
So I hid it.
I pushed it down.
I had no idea what anxiety was.
I was so used to keeping myself busy and focusing immensely on others. So, this felt normal.
Every party, dinner, bar hop, study group, etc – that I was involved in.
I was never present.
I constantly worried that the truth would unfold.
That it would be obvious that I was lying.
That someone else would tell me something was wrong with me.
That I didn’t have the answer to solve a problem.
That my outfit was so last year.
That someone would ask me what I do for a living.
That someone would ask me an honest question and I would be put on the spot.
What if they found out? Would they be ashamed of me, too?
Going through my files of pre-thought of responses to cover up that I was fucking miserable.
Not including the day after every social function, the anxiety train hit me again;
Did I say too much?
Did I drink too much?
Was I too overwhelming?
Did I listen well enough?
It was debilitating.
But still I said yes. Still I showed up. Night after night.
Even when I would go and get coffee for myself, I was constantly strategizing and full of stress.
Should I really be spending money on this?
what I would do if I was sitting alone?
what if I ordered wrong and sounded stupid?
what if I get the ‘wrong’ thing?
It was never ending.
I also want to mention that I NEVER asked anyone to hang out, ever.
That’s no exaggeration.
I was so afraid of rejection or of ‘looking stupid,’ – that I always waited for people to ask me.
I was lucky enough to always be invited but I was so focused on what people thought of me and how I was going to navigate conversations, that it took me a very long time to learn the lesson that ultimately shifted my entire reality.
deal with your shit.
Invest in the help you need.
Your circumstances do not define you.
You are allowed to be treated well.
You do not have to be perfect to be loved.
Spend intentional time alone.
Learn to enjoy your own company. (I’m serious about this one)
Fall in love with every part of you. (less cheesy, more admiration)
Listen to your thoughts, recognize your patterns, bring your shadow (the parts of you, you choose to hide) to light.
Tell the truth.
Tell it again.
Be so comfortable with it.
Release the shame.
Do it again.
Make good choices and build self-trust. (which then helps with the trust in others)
Stop engaging with people who have no interest in getting to know you.
Stop engaging with people who drive you crazy.
Tolerance is not a spiritual act.
Figure out what you like and don’t like.
Understand that quality over quantity is a smart decision.
Once we learn to enjoy our own company and tell the truth in a way that is liberating and expansive, we can then release the focus on giving a shit what other people think.
You can try to parallel park without wondering if you look dumb or not.
You can order whatever drink you want and laugh at yourself if you end up saying it wrong.
You can admit you don’t know what a certain food item is but feel solid enough to ask for clarity.
You can show up to dinner parties to engage in friendships that know your truth and honor it.
You can show up to new places with new people and feel excited about the journey rather than being led by the fear that someone is going to call you out for not knowing something.
You can wake up in the morning next to your boyfriend with no make up on because breaks out are a human experience and it doesn’t make us any less pretty.
You can do anything.
You can be anything.
You can be apart of multiple conversations peacefully because there’s nothing to hide anymore.
Once we let the truth out and allow our bodies to start healing,
Once we start taking care of ourselves and seeing ourselves as incredible women who have strength and resiliency like no one has ever seen,
We realize …there’s nothing anyone can say to us.
We can receive love without fear.
We can receive shade without taking it personal.
We can own our current circumstances even if we aren’t where we want to be.
We can enjoy someone’s company and allow them to enjoy ours too.
We can tell the truth and not worry about how much it defines us.
We can let others be who they are and think what they want because how we think of ourselves is really all that matters.
And that’s my cure for all things social.
*PS my new program, The Scapegoat Daughter’s Guide, is launching this summer. If you’re the woman who has struggled massively with identity, security, boundaries and feeling understood — than this is the program for you. Learn more HERE and don’t forget to join the waitlist to get your guaranteed $100 off at launch time.