Perfectionist and Imposter Syndrome Walk Into A Bar...
7/18/21 The Perfectionist orders that perfect, overpriced glass of refreshing Chardonnay. It’s predictable and safe. It comes across like she has her shit together. She laughs at everything everyone says, yet makes sure to continue to people-please everyone at the same time. She’s highly critical of herself, sets unrealistic standards and seeks happiness within “things” rather than herself.
Imposter Syndrome is a whole different ball-park. She orders something new, an Old Fashion. But she feels like a phony; she’s not a bourbon drinker. She knows NOTHING about bourbon. Who does she think she is stepping outside of what she knows, outside of her… comfort zone!? She shames herself, doubts herself and doesn’t believe she deserves greatness.
We all have guards that try to stop us from fulfilling our dreams. They say things like “You’re not ready”, “You can’t do that”, “You’re not smart enough”, “It’s already been done by someone”, “That sounds risky, try something safer.” For me, it’s usually my Perfectionist and Imposter Syndrome who like to sneak up on me, normally right before I’m about to start something new. I’ve learned that I needed to stop letting these thoughts live rent free in my head, it was time to hand them the eviction notice.
Perfectionist and Imposter Syndrome have always tried to stop me from sharing my gifts from the world, always making sure to warn me of what could come from being vulnerable. Perfectionist told me nothing was good enough. Imposter syndrome told me to stick to what I know. Don't rock the boat in fear of being seen, or even worse, seen and then criticized! Some days I feel like I’m conquering the world and other days I feel like I’m hiding from it. It’s a constant push and pull when it comes to writing and creating. On a Monday I could feel confident about my writing, myself and who I’m becoming. On a Thursday, I could feel like a fraud who doesn’t want to step outside of the perfect, safe box I have created for myself.
It doesn’t always feel like magic when I’m writing. There are days when my perfectionist makes me feel like my writing isn’t good enough. I pick apart my writing before I even give it a chance to come alive on paper. I declare myself a failure before I even give myself time to think about what success means. There are days when my imposter syndrome makes me think “Who am I to start a blog? What makes me worthy? Or intelligent enough? Or deserving?”
Yet here I am, so vulnerable I feel as if I could be butt-ass naked, but sharing my writing with the world nonetheless. Not everyday is easy, but everyday I am growing.
I’m learning that my inner perfectionist and imposter syndrome go hand in hand, sometimes feeling like they’re doing a little salsa dance around me. I’m starting to work with them instead of against them. The perfectionist just wants to know that everything is going to be ok. The imposter syndrome just wants to feel worthy of starting something new. My Perfectionist and Imposter Syndrome had created a safe box for me to stay in. The more I outgrow that box, the louder they scream for me to not step outside of it. I’m constantly needing to remind them to *kindly* calm the fuck down. There’s no fun that comes from staying inside your comfort zone.
So when you give your inner guards, perfectionist, imposter syndrome, busy bee, comparer, whatever that may be, a chance to talk instead of running from them, you’ll learn they just want to be heard. They just want to know the risk they’re taking is going to be worth it. This is when they go from guards to guides.
Now, whether you’re inviting them in for a cup of coffee or a shot of tequila…. that’s up to you.
From FOMO to JOMO
7/5/2021 For a long time I suffered from something. It made me exhausted. It made me anxious. It made me say yes to things I wanted to say no to. It made me compare myself to others.
Maybe you suffer from this now or have in the past. It’s that dreaded thing called, FOMO.
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Social media can pull us into the trap of comparing and competing. We compare ourselves to the next person and then see how we can one-up them.
FOMO turns toxic when the fear of missing out with friends turns into the fear of not having something to post on Instagram. It’s no longer about missing out on quality time with loved ones, but the fear of someone doing better than you. I’ve had those moments; those moments where everyone on social media is doing something fun and I’m not, therefore I feel less than.
I used to get the worst FOMO. I would say yes to everything because saying yes to something I didn’t want to do seemed better than staying home alone. I said yes to every weekend trip and every night out at the bar, only really wanting to go to half of them. I’d spend my Sundays miserably hungover, lying horizontal on the couch, begging my Mom to get me blue gatorade. Then I’d torture myself by doing it all again the following weekend.
I couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on something fun; a joke that made everyone laugh or a memory that would be constantly re-told for years to come. Or even worse, those next-day-hungover hangouts when you reminisced about everything that happened the night before.
Don’t get me wrong, I had fun at a lot of these events that I went to. But, there also were a lot that I could have skipped and would have been just as happy staying home with a glass of wine and a face mask.
I’m starting to realize that sometimes less is more.
I spent this 4th of July weekend at my parents house, binge-watching Too Hot To Handle and I’m not mad about it. In fact, it may have been one of my favorite 4 of July weekends by far! *GASP!* I could have done something with friends, but after a long week of vacationing with family, my body was craving rest. I decided it was better to say no than to push myself and in return feel burnt out.
No crippling hangovers, no need to post what I was doing on Instagram, no urge to force myself somewhere because it was a holiday weekend. I recharged my batteries in preparation for what will be a very busy summer for me.
When we begin to realize who we are, where we’re going and who we are becoming, the FOMO starts to lessen.
It’s not easy, but when you get that validation from yourself, there's no need to seek it elsewhere. You won’t need to share what you’re doing because you’ll be having so much fun actually doing it in the present moment.
Imagine that, what a concept!
When you start to feel like life is turning into a competition, remember there is no need to compete because we’re all running our own race and going towards our own finish line.
Curing our FOMO will be a work in progress, just like many other things in our life. I am constantly reminding myself of that on the days I’m swiping through Instagram feeling like everyone is having more fun at their boozy brunch.
Haven’t you heard? Word on the street is that JOMO, Joy Of Missing Out, is the new FOMO.
Anxiety Is Normal
6/18/2021 I sat down for my first therapy session in October 2019. Sitting crisscross on my bed, I opened up my computer and logged on to my tele-therapy appointment. My therapist was there waiting for me. After we were done making small talk, she asked what was bringing me to therapy. In which I responded, “I feel like I’m malfunctioning.”
My anxiety always made me feel like I was malfunctioning. As if someone had spilt water on me and I needed to bathe in a bowl of brown rice like a soaked envy touch in 2008.
Up until recently, that’s how I always treated my anxiety, like it was something I could find a quick fix for.
I tried a lot of things to distract myself from the anxiety that built up inside of me. An extra glass of wine on a Wednesday. Partying on the weekends. Mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. Really bad reality TV (Jersey Shore is NOT included in that statement).
Eventually those distractions wore off and I realized I could no longer run from my anxiety. I mean, I didn’t even own a decent pair of running sneakers. I decided that the only way I could deal with this was through it. For a long time I looked at my anxiety as the enemy, when in reality it’s a friend that’s been misunderstood. My anxiety was not something I had to run from, but something that had to be invited in.
I found a lot of common patterns with my anxiety attacks, even going all the way back to when I was 16. It was never about being scared of throwing up in public or fainting while public speaking. It was deeper than that, a root issue I didn’t know existed until I was finally in therapy.
It was about being seen as weak. It was about not seeming like I was perfect. It was about feeling unlovable. It was about letting my anxiety define me as unworthy. It was feeling like I could never let someone see me struggle, because then they would judge me. It was feeling like I was different from others.
Ten years ago, I felt like that was the stigma around mental health. If you had anxiety you were looked at as crazy. Or sensitive. Or both. So it was better to not talk about it, to pretend it didn’t exist, then to seek help.
What I’ve learned through those ten years is that anxiety is one thing: Normal. Everyone has experienced it in some way. The more we talk about it, the more we erase the label around it. The more we erase the stigma around it, the more we take back the power we have given it.
Our anxiety wants to trick us to believe the worst things about ourselves. Don’t buy into it. You can think a thought, even feel a thought, without becoming that thought.
I’ve learned that the goal was never to overcome my anxiety, it was to manage it. Meditation, journaling, therapy, exercise and grounding are all things that work for me. The list goes on when it comes to anxiety remedies; essential oils, grounding, medication, CBD, weighted blankets, etc. Find what works for you.
Fast forward to now, my anxiety is still present in my life but it’s not overpowering like it once felt like. When I feel my anxiety setting in, I use it as a reminder to check in with myself and see how I’m feeling instead of going into fight or flight mode.
Always remember, your anxiety does not define you.
6/09/2021 Change is inevitable. And sometimes that change is exciting; Beginning a job. Moving to a different city. Starting a new relationship. Traveling the world. Pursuing thatthing that has been your dream for what feels like forever.
And other times that change is unexpected. Getting fired. Getting your heart broken. Losing a loved one. Both kinds of change, whether it’s good or bad, have one thing in common: it forces us to step into the unknown. So many of us resist the idea of uncertainty. We’d rather continue to live a life we no longer like as long as that means we’re comfortable, instead of risking starting something that has no guarantee, starting something that could push us outside of our comfort zone and require us to be seen.
What I’ve learned about change is that it’s really fucking scary. Whether it’s good or bad. I’ve had the same feeling of “What the fuck am I doing with my life” time and time again. But the more I resisted the feeling, the larger it grew. And change is not something we can hide from. It’s something that needs to be embraced.
When I moved out of my parents house for the first time, I was excited, but I also had the thought of “I want nothing to change.” I didn’t want to find my new go-to coffee shop, I didn’t want to actually start grocery shopping (let’s get real, that was my Dads job), I didn’t want to learn how to use a drill to hang things up on my wall (which in all honesty I still barely know how to use.)
And when someone close to me died recently, I also had the same thoughts of “I want nothing to change.” I didn’t want to think of a life without him.
But change doesn’t wait until you’re ready. Change won’t wait until you’re confident enough. Or happy enough. Or successful enough. Because if it did, you wouldn’t be growing. How many times have you tried something new, and it’s felt uncomfortable, so you assumed you were doing it wrong? When in reality, you were doing it right. Doing something new, something uncertain, is supposed to feel messy.
Daring to be messy, to show your vulnerable side to the world, is being brave. It’s starting your first blog post (HI THERE). It’s starting your book. It’s starting your podcast. It’s the beginning of a new job. It’s going on a first date after your heart’s been shattered. It’s starting therapy for the first time. It’s facing death when you want to run from it.
“The unknown is actually the place of growth.”, is what Dr. Joe Dispenza said on a podcast I listened to recently. Personally, growth is something I’m always striving for. Everyday, I want to be better than the woman I was yesterday. And majority of the time that means stepping into the unknown and allowing myself to be seen. Allowing myself to risk failure, to risk judgement, to risk embarrassing myself. Whenever I feel an uncomfortable feeling arise, whether that’s change, anxiety, doubt, etc, I always remind myself that there’s a better version of me on the horizon. When it feels like you’re getting buried, just remember you’re being planted. Change, the unknown, uncertainty, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t have to be looked at as this big, scary thing. It can be new possibilities. A blank canvas. Choosing to take up space. Stop thinking you’ll take the leap and fall. Start believing you’ll take the leap and fly.