I’m about to do something I don’t usually do. And by “I don’t usually,” I mean never. I’m going to talk about feelings and what’s going on in my brain.
GASP. GROSS. SOMEONE STOP HER.
Calm down, okay? You don’t have to keep reading. But this is just a little insight into my mind. This is something I’ve struggled to articulate for a while, so here it goes …
(DISCLAIMER: This is not intended to be a pity party. This is just something people battle with and my way of letting them know it’s going to be OK.)
I tend to act oblivious and ignorant. If I ever seem spacey, I’m probably faking it. I’m actually hyper-aware of my surroundings. At all times. It’s so severe that I think about every move I make and every word I say to the point that I overthink everything and seem like an awkward robot. (I’m at my worst around attractive guys, in particular the models I photograph here in London).
I tend to use sarcasm and humor to mask my emotions. I know this is pretty common, so I’d be very surprised if no one could relate this. I do, however, find that I take this to the extremes. I play the funny girl card. I enjoy making others laugh, but half the time, it’s a self-defense mechanism. And thanks to my hyper-aware tendencies, I fear that I’m annoying everyone around me. I then panic internally and shut down externally.
I feel like a fraud 90 percent of my life. I’m a photojournalism student at arguably the best journalism school in the country, surrounded by extremely talented and wonderful people. I like to think that I compare, but most of the time, I feel extremely out of place. I want to be at the same level of work as my peers, but I don’t feel like I am.
I have amazing friends, but I constantly feel like an outsider in my own friend groups. The worst part is that it’s self-isolation. I wouldn’t be the outsider if I actually tried harder and didn’t focus on how painfully out of place I feel.
I constantly compare myself to others. That person is so much cooler than me, smarter, prettier, nicer, more considerate, more creative, more talented, more passionate, more sought after, more confident, etc. The list could go on for days.
I’ve struggled with this most of my life. I’ve always felt different. I thought putting a few thousand miles between Missouri and the person I am there would help. I hoped that maybe coming to London would be a way to start fresh without prior knowledge of my awkward persona. That was a silly notion, and the truth is, the effects have been completely the opposite.
Confidence has always been my vice. It’s something I lack in every aspect of my life. I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in my own skin. Regardless of kind words and encouragements, I don’t like how out of control I feel in my own body.
I rarely feel up to par. I’m in a constant state of mood swings. One moment, I’ll be singing James Bay a little too loudly through the Underground, and the next I’ll become self-conscious, abruptly ending my 15 minutes of fame.
I know this may sound a lot like PMS, but it’s so much more. This summer, after thousands of dollars spent on doctors’ visits, I was told that the nausea I constantly feel is caused by anxiety.
I’m literally so anxious and self-aware that it makes me sick. Awesome.
There is so much more: more fears, anxieties, body-image issues, etc. But there is a point to this word vomit of emotion. I want others that may be in the same boat to understand that they aren’t alone in this.
My issues are something that I’m slowly working through and honestly, 93 percent of them are all issues my mind has created based on the society we live in. I know that I’m beyond blessed to have an amazing support group, but not everyone is so lucky.
For anyone that may be reading this and thinking, “Hey! That’s me to a T,” I highly recommend talking with someone. And know that you are beautiful and loved.