You Gotta Get Real to Empower Yourself

photo of woman looking at the mirror
Photo by bruce mars on

We Are All Nervous Weirdos

I, like seemingly a billion other Americans, experience anxiety to a certain extent on a pretty regular basis.  No, I have never been professionally diagnosed with a disorder, nor I have never been medicated to deal with the hours or days when I feel my anxiety settling in.  It is there, however.  Take my fingers for example.  Yea, my fingers.  Actually my cuticles to be more precise.  I have this bizarre and, if I’m being honest, very destructive habit of picking at my cuticles until they are ragged and bleeding.  It isn’t cute, but then again, I’m not exactly here to be cute.  I find that I engage in this nasty habit whenever I experience any type of nervousness or anxiety.  Take this Buzzfeed quiz to see how prone you are to anxiety.

Sometimes I get anxious about people.  It is so weird to type that because I adore people.  Truly.  I love to talk and I love to listen and learn from those around me.  But I have a really big confession to make.  Are you ready?  The truth is… I want everyone I talk to, everyone that I come into contact with, everyone who sees me walking down the street… to like me.  Yea.  I want everyone to freaking like me.  That’s so embarrassing to have to admit.  But honestly, I do want to be the funniest, the most charming, the most open, receptive individual for all people I come into contact with.  I think this is SUCH a common problem for women.  Society tells us that we have to be everything for everyone, all the time.  We have to be great moms, and career driven, but not too career driven or else your children will be screwed up.  And be sexy, but not too sexy because you don’t want to be perceived as a slut.  But wait,  you don’t want everyone to think you’re prude!  It.  Is.  Exhausting.

And sometimes, what do you know, the pressure I put on myself to try to be all things to all people totally and completely backfires.  I feel like I’m constantly falling short.  I should be exercising more, but then I should be more accepting of my body, or I should dedicate more time for myself, but then I should be more present for my children.  As all of these feelings swirl around inside of me, I find myself coping in a couple of gnarly unhealthy ways.

And sometimes, what do you know, the pressure I put on myself to try to be all things to all people totally and completely backfires.

See if you can identify with any of these:

I waver on my values.  “Oh, YES I do see where you’re coming from in a way.  Global warming may just be a governmental hoax.  Yes, the twisted media would come up with something like that, huh?”  Meanwhile, in my head I’m actually screaming inside, “OH MY GOD, THE POLAR ICE CAPS ARE LEGIT MELTING, THE RAIN FORESTS ARE BEING CHOPPED DOWN, AND THERE’S LIKE A BAJILLION TONS OF PLASTIC JUST FLOATING IN THE OCEAN. WE ARE ALL DOOMED.”  But inside I hold back my true feelings, instead of sharing my thoughts because I’m worried about offending others.  How lame is that?  And instead of making someone else feel slightly miffed that I don’t see something from their perspective, I end up feeling like shit because I don’t stand up for what I really feel.  My anxiety spikes.  Not cool.

I avoid people. One of my kids went to Vacation Bible School this summer.  Hundreddddds of kids there.  It was such a good opportunity for him to socialize and play.  The only problem was, the parents wanted to socialize and talk as well.  When I’m not in my talkative mood, where I totally have it in me to be the most charming and the funniest and blah blah blah, it’s like I don’t want to talk to anyone.  I would rather avoid everyone and slip away versus engage.  It’s almost like an all or nothing thing for me.  Case in point: As soon as I dropped off my son on morning, I saw this other mom that I knew would want to gab with me, and I just didn’t feeeeeel like it. So what did my mature self do?  I literally stood under a tree in one of the parking lot planters, pulled out my phone, and started adding shit to my To-Do list on my Google Keep app.  Just because I didn’t want to make contact with this amazing other mom that just wanted to say hi for a minute.  And do you know what ended up happening any way?  As I was sitting there like a freaking 13 year old immature loser (instead of a grown ass woman) ANOTHER mom pulled up and started chatting with me any way.  I truly feel it was a sign from a higher power saying, “Quit hiding you doofus.  You just need to be REAL.”

I put on a show.  Instead of showing people my real emotions, or how I’m truly feeling, or what is really going on, I put on a show for the people I’m around.  Even if I’m miserable inside, I’ll try to keep things light and funny to make myself look as unbothered as possible.  I know we all have a tendency to do this from time to time, but what would happen if we had the ability to look someone in the eye and say, “Man, it’s been a rough day.”?

I’m Going to Empower the Hell Out of Myself to be REAL

So why do I tell you all of this soul baring stuff?  Because I want you to know I am so far from perfect, it isn’t even funny.  Because I, like every other woman on this planet, is screwed up in some way or another, too. Because I am working on empowering myself to be the best woman I can be, while I help to empower others around me as well.

I’ve made a decision that I’m going to stop this bullshit.  I’m going to stop trying to be perfect and funny and everything to everyone.  When someone says something I don’t agree with, I’m not going to hold my tongue and nod my head like an idiot.  I’m going to be brave, and speak my truth.  When I see that mom that wants to chat but I’m not feeling it, I’m not going to avoid her like a 13-year-old with no social skills.  Instead I’ll wave, say hello, and explain the reason I haven’t set up that playdate we have been talking about is because things have been chaotic in my life lately.  I’m not going to smile and laugh if that isn’t what I feel on the inside.

My entire hope with this goal is to empower myself and hopefully empower the women around me.  How many times in your life has someone asked you, “How are you?” and you automatically respond with, “I’m good!”, when that couldn’t be further from the truth?  What if we bit by bit showed each other our true selves?  And I’m not saying you need to break down in tears when you’re picking up your prescriptions or when the pizza delivery man comes by.  But what if we could be a little more honest with one another?

I challenge you to join me on this journey of getting real with yourself and with others. There is no way we can empower ourselves or other women if we hide behind this facade that everything is always perfect.  Shit. Isn’t. Perfect.  If we all try to be more real and honest with ourselves, then maybe the people around us will be more willing to be open and honest as well.  Maybe you will be able to learn something new about someone who you didn’t know before this journey.

Please comment and let me know how you are getting real with yourself and with others!

If you like it, share it, mama!

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