advice

squeaky shoes and how the small things become big things when you are dealing with anxiety

A few nights ago I had to work an overnight shift at the clothing store I work at.

There were about five of us there, spread out all across the store and our main focus of the night was to bring new clothing out onto the floor. The store was silent and we all had our own headphones in, each of us trying to bring some comfort to ourselves when it was that early and that dark out. So, I’m folding a stack of pants when I realize that I am a couple sizes short. I’m going to have to walk all the way across the store and into the back room to get more sizes. I start walking and a bit of discomfort sets in because my shoes squeak as I start to walk.

They squeak and there’s that small squish of air that makes a sound with every step I take. I feel uncomfortable and hold my head down, hurrying with my squeaking feet to head to the back room where it’s loud and I can walk alone.

I’ve dealt with anxiety my whole life, so as one part of me is embarrassed for the squeaking shoes, the other part is already trying to talk myself down.

“No one was listening to the sound of your feet, they were listening to music” I tell myself. “You were just walking, it’s not like there’s anything funny or weird about that” & “the squeaks were only loud enough for you to hear because you were paying attention to yourself”.

I start to search for the sizes I need and I begin to wonder what it is that embarrasses me so much about if my shoe makes a tiny squeak when I walk. Is there anything truly embarrassing about that?

I’ve been like this my whole life. In school I used to be embarrassed if I ever had to cough or sneeze during class. In the middle of tests I would have to work up the courage to push my chair out, walk with squeaky shoes, to deliver my test to the teacher. There are so many situations like this that have made me anxious or embarrassed and I never realized why until that night.

I have such little value for myself that sometimes I feel like it’s a crime that I even exist. 

If I cough in a public place then I am bothering someone. My shoes squeaking must have been an inconvenience to my coworkers.

I don’t own my presence and that is my problem.

Realizing this is going to help me though. I want to walk with confidence and assurance. I want to feel like I can breathe without worrying about how it might make someone else feel. I want to learn to stop saying sorry and start stomping my way around instead of taking small mouselike steps.

 

My shoes are going to squeak and I want to learn to be alright with that.

MIRRORS, MESSENGERS, monocles

jake sodaro is my classmate. though we barely know each other, there is something very pungent about him, to me

right now he wears black tennis shoes with white and silver stitching and laces, it looks like. starting with the unimportant details for no particular reason because i need to learn, by (trial and) error, that i’m better when i have a reason

 

he sits in class like an obviously distressed but pretending-unsuccessfully-to-be-polite-and-patient child. and i’ve noticed that he-

 

<fuck, i think he’s a reflection of me. through one lens. he is surely a messenger from God, planted here to teach me, without words: divine, and without my permission yet because of my own true concoction of a lens, truths about myself. but isn’t everyone? this is getting scary, but thankfully this is also only one method>

 

-is often critical of people who are happily exercising their freedoms, so critical that he gives the impression of being jealous. i wouldn’t realize that i do this too if it weren’t for this messenger

 

i feel so bad for jake sodaro right now, and for me, for knowing that he doesn’t know that the person he thinks nothing of who is sitting next to him, who he could see typing, if he chose to look, is actually typing words about him, and typing, more specifically, a pretentious, assuming analysis that is probably, and probably definitely (possible? but who cares), is so utterly untrue, but it gives her solace anyway because she is still so insecure and desperate that she will accept just about anything. i’m so, so, so incredibly sorry. you had to be the one.

 

<often times, instead of participating, i prefer to observe and gleam in amazement at the general concept of what they’re doing (anyone)>

 

<and: writing and conservation of mass: from nothing to so much of something, so quickly; only 3-and-a-half brains>

 

<i’m always getting these epiphanies about *how to be*, *next*>

 

<wow, connecting brands with people… american or what?>

 

he wears, and always, a headset: reminiscent of something i’d imagine uncle steve (…Praying For You…another messenger) wearing. like someone who’s been anticipating a message, any message, for years. with such great anticipation that they make themselves, or rather their entire lives, available for reception. kind of like me. an also-ashamed part of me. except i use not a headset but a different sort of message-reception device: i sustain myself for years and just *feel* anticipatory during that. usually-falsely anticipatory is my aura. so is jake’s, maybe. at least i acknowledge that i’m probably wrong. and apparently i receive messages from people who wait for messages by always wearing a headset, until i decide later to continue anticipating a more explicit message. >need person who wear bigger headset? stop

 

sometimes i am a little too harsh with jake sodaro. sometimes i correct him, sometimes i make fun of his candy-eating habits (of which i have my own and am exercising as i sit here writing this bullshit... binch), sometimes i cackle not just freely, but confidently, at something i find to be absurd, and, subconsciously, give and accept, myself, the permission to shrug off my crudity, unlike the me literally anywhere else, only when he is around, as if his presence gives me permission to be my worst self so that i realize what my worst self is so that i stop being my worst, even sometimes. 

 

<let’s try this new thing where we update one singular note throughout the entire day. <<and use a strategic format in each document.>>>

 

<i let myself go free range for, like, a year. thought that was the way to be but now i think (it is right to think that) i was wrong, but right, for a while, to have thought that i was right. now it’s time to pull it in, or add some shelving, but not completely, of course>

 

<whenever i see ppl running i think well what the fuk are u running from??>

 

>>>HERE WE GO WITH THE NEW FORMAT<<<

 

(1) The document shall be divided into sections on the basis of singular ideas or ‘phases of ideas’: ideas that collectively follow a particular, identifiable pattern or are exuded within temporal proximity to each other. Each section shall be labeled using a numerical schematic

Stuck in an Inspiration Rut

Random periods of time, but especially during winter, I fall into those lapses where inspiration evades me. Once I was dancing around streets, pointing out every flower and bird carrying a cake crumb and bright yellow windowsill, and now I walk down the street in a daze. When I fall into these ruts, the world looks different. Less promising, less exciting, less enticing.

One thing leads to another, and because I am not inspired to create, I find myself binge watching Dexter or Breaking Bad again or gorging myself on sugary pop culture. Keep to myself in the same four walls for more of the day, because I look outside and see the rain dripping down and think, ick, I don't want to leave the comfort of my bed. And I wonder, why aren't I getting inspired? When will I get out of this rut?

Here is a little guide- for me as well as for you- for ways to pull ourselves out of this dead ditch where nothing interesting is happening, and life is passing us by. We all fall into this from time to time, and it does take a bit of effort to pull yourself out, but once you are on the other side it's back to creating, smiling at the little things, and authentically living.

You can do one of these a day for a week, or pick and choose ones that work the best for you, or do them all today (godspeed). But here are ways we can pull ourselves out of the dreaded inspiration rut.

  1. You Are What You Eat- In general, the Creative Pep Talk podcast is GREAT whenever you need a little kick to be creative, but this one episode in particular really brings things into perspective. OBVIOUSLY my time spent watching Dexter analyze blood spatter isn't going to inspire me to write or create or want to film, it's just going to make me want to click on the next episode and see if he ends up killing the guy. This podcast breaks it down into three categories, you are what you see, you are what you smell, and you are what you taste. If you are confused- listen to the podcast!
  2. Buy Yourself a Brand New Journal- My shelves are already lined with different patterned notebooks and every color of moleskin, but it can be a bit depressing trying to continue in a journal where previous passages are charged with inspiration. Give yourself the blank slate to start, a breath of fresh air, and create or write without any expectations.
  3. Watch ANY Wes Anderson film-This works for me every time. My favorites are The Life Aquatic and Moonrise Kingdom.
  4. Find some new music- Those songs that you already know all the words to are great, but they are mindless now. Listen to something that is going to excite you in a new way. I put together a new playlist for you on The Messy Heads sound cloud.
  5. Go Vintage Shopping- Head to an antique mall or local thrift store, coffee in hand. Even if you have no money to buy anything, just poking around at old painted dishes, masks, clip on earrings, and dial telephones will spark something of visual interest.
  6. Take a Class on Coursera- Whenever I am under stimulated by life, the best way to pull myself out is to learn something new. Some catching my eye- Music of the Beatles, How To Change the World, Seeing Through Photographs, and Dog Emotion & Cognition.
  7. Plan something out of the ordinary- Instead of the typical, "I don't care what we do" plan something with a friend. Go on an adventure. Go on a bike ride out in nature, visit a museum, try baking and decorating cupcakes from scratch, drive an hour out just to go get breakfast and see the trees blur by you. Just breaking routine cracks the surface and lets inspiration pour in.

Strong & Beautiful

Strong & Beautiful

It took me a year to find comfort in my new body. Through many tears and a constant cycle of binging and restricting until I found my vice. What I lost so many years ago to become an ideal, would now lead me to be a new ideal, my ideal.

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