Make’n’Tell Day 4: A Little Something Different

February 5, 2014 § 1 Comment

As you might have guessed from the title, this post deviates slightly from the normal Make’n’Tell. Instead of something crafty or delicious, yesterday, my “make” was working on making myself a happier person. A while ago, I followed a bunch of links from Tara Swiger’s Starship blog (which I am totally going to do when I am in the right place to really launch my design business…I’m not there yet, but I will be!), and I found this amazing blog Effervescence: the art of liking yourself, full of caring and gentle and nurturing posts. If you know me, you know that I am SO not a self-help person. It’s just not my bag. I always feel preached at and judged and uncomfortable and like I’m doing it wrong, and this blog is sort of the complete opposite of that. It is a welcoming, comforting, peaceful place. I’ve been moved to tears more than once reading it, not even necessarily by the content, but because I feel so good when I am there.

So when Kylie (she runs the place) offered Unencumbered, a free week “that will teach you how to break free from self-loathing and live a fuller, more fulfilling life”, I jumped at it. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I hemmed and hawed and spent a lot of time reminding myself of all the times I signed up for something like this and didn’t follow through because I was too scared/anxious/whatever, and then I realized that, unlike most of those other times, I was actually trying to talk myself into this rather than out of it. So I signed up for it, and committed to it. Last night I spent doing the homework, which felt really good. So that was my make for the day.

Unencumbered

It’s actually already paid off…this  happened last week, and I think a lot of the credit goes to the fact that I was already thinking about and excited about how I can take better care of me:

This is the second year Becky has done her school play, and the parents are required to volunteer for a committee. Last year, I was assigned to costumes, which was perfect for me. This year…well, I got an email Friday night that I had been assigned to be a room monitor. A wave of dread washed over me, and I could immediately feel a panic attack starting. See, I have social anxiety. I’m pretty good at covering it up and/or avoiding situations that would trigger it, but a room full of kids would be nearly impossible for me. Plus, even when I am successfully covering, my anxiety tends to come out as anger and irritation: not fun for me, and not fun for the kids. I really didn’t know what to do…just the thought of being in a room with 10 strange kids (maybe more!) was making my gut clench and head hurt…but on the other hand, it’s for Becky, so she can be in the play, and I never want my issues to get in the way of her doing things she wants to do.

And then it occurred to me to do something I’d never done with a stranger: just say, “I can’t do this, because I have severe social anxiety.” So I did. I wrote back, and said exactly that. I offered to do just about anything else, as long as it didn’t involved prolonged interactions with people. I waited to send it, because my one remaining fear was that the other moms would talk, and a kid would overhear, and then Becky would be the girl with the crazy mom. So I waited until she got up the next morning and explained the situation and my concerns to her, and she said I should definitely send the email. I heard back a couple of hours later from the committee chair, who thanked me for letting her know and put me on poster duty.

I suppose it’s still possible that there will be repercussions for Becky (and Zack), but right now, I’m feeling pretty good about speaking up for myself and my needs (and showing my kids that’s an okay thing to do!).

P.S. It’s not too late to sign up for Unencumbered, if this sounds like something that would be good for you. Also, free. Also also, very no pressure.

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