Monday, October 29, 2012

When you hit a wall

I've been thinking a lot about growing up and navigating life lately. 

Life really is like a maze. One minute you can be navigating your way through it like a boss, and then the next minute you find yourself backed into a corner and desperately trying to figure out how to get back on track. 

I hit walls a lot, as I suspect many of us do. I've been trying to work on the way I react when this happens.

I've realized that you have four choices when you hit a wall in life. You can either...

A) Panic
B) Should all over yourself until you feel as worthy as a pile of pencil shavings
C) Curl up into a fetal position and do nothing
D) Step back, dust yourself off, and think of a positive/productive way to tear down or remove yourself from the wall 

I have a history of doing A, B and C, but I think I'm going to actually give D a try this time. 

We hit walls for a reason. I think it's a lesson in slowing down, taking a step back and being forced to take a closer look at certain aspects of our lives.  

Maybe something needs to change. Maybe something needs more attention or more work. Maybe you just need to slow down and give yourself a break instead of constantly pushing yourself to be on top of everything. Maybe it's all of the above. 

So I am determined to NOT choose A, B or C this time. 

I am going to re-connect with the things that matter most to me. I am going to start being more patient with myself. I am going to start letting people help me instead of assuming that it's me against the world. I am going to start making monthly goal sheets.  

And I am going to be just fine.

<3 Madison   


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You shouldn't care what people think (Because no one is thinking about you)

I have a confession to make. I can be really really really self-conscious sometimes. There aren't enough "really's" to describe how self-conscious I can get. It's like this crippling obsession over what everybody really thinks of me. I've struggled with it my whole life. 

Ever since I got epically rejected by one of my friends in fifth grade, I've carried around this belief that very few people will actually like me. I've gotten better over the years and have started opening up a little more, but I still care way too much about what other people think. 

I can just be walking down the street, and as cars and people pass me by, my inner dialogue goes a little something like this:

I look so awkward right now. I'm just shuffling along with my head down and my shoulders hunched, avoiding eye contact and trying to look casual. I'm not casual. I look stupid. I look insecure. I bet everybody is noticing how insecure I look right now. I can practically feel their eyes burning into me. I can practically hear them laughing and saying, "Look at that awkward girl over there. She looks like a vagrant. Look at her just walking along the side of the road like she's homeless or something. I should hit her with my car."  

And every time a car or another human being passes me or looks at me for even a split second, I'll just clench up until they've passed. It's ridiculous and completely irrational. The anxiety of coming into contact with other people gets so bad sometimes that I can barely even leave my home. 

While a large part of this has to do with my history of rejection, ostracization and social anxiety, it IS something that I'm working hard to be more consciously aware of. It's an insecurity that I've been trying to pay more attention to and not blame on other people or ancient circumstances.  

People have told me that other people care about me way less than I think they do. And they're so absolutely right.

Random strangers who drive or walk past me on the street more than likely don't give two shits about me or how I look. They're just going about their business, thinking about where they're headed and what's in store for the day. They're not breaking their necks to take a closer look at me so they can laugh at how awkward and out of place I look. It's all in my head.

It's also in my head that people I know are constantly judging and analyzing my personal life decisions. Although negative offhand comments have been made in the past, most of the things I believe are beliefs that I just pulled out of thin air. I have a habit of taking the slightest little comment and blowing it up times a thousand in my head. 

Someone could say, "Sears is hiring. You should look into it," and all I will hear is, "I don't approve of what you're trying to do for a living. You should get a real job like everyone else."

And then I'll form a belief in my head that my face is the first face that pops into people's minds when they see a "now hiring" sign in the window of an establishment. And then I'll get angry about it. 

All this because someone innocently and casually let me know that Sears was hiring.

So yeah. That is what I've most recently been trying to be more aware of---the fact that people care way less than I think they do. The assumption that everyone is judging and analyzing me is entirely in my head. The real problem is that I judge and analyze MYSELF. I need to stop doing that.

Stop worrying about what people are thinking of you. Chances are, no one is thinking a single thing.

<3 Madison



Friday, October 12, 2012

A random update

Hello friends.

It's been way too long since my last post (shame on me), so I decided to just pop in and let you all know what I've been up to and what's been on my mind.

Truth is, I haven't really been up to much. Sometimes I go weeks without inspiration for a new post. I think it's because my life is too routine and I don't get out much. I feel like I should plan to do something I've never done before---you know, be spontaneous or take some kind of big risk. I'm open to ideas...

Also, I was letting my mind wander yesterday and trying to figure out why I'm so resistant to change.

You see, Taylor Swift is coming out with a new album this month. I've been a huge fan of Taylor (still am) since I was fifteen. She got me through all of my high school relationship monstrosities, and I really feel like I've grown up with her. I have all her albums and know the words to all her songs. I love her simple storytelling, guitar strumming way of singing songs.

So if any of you are Taylor Swift fans and have been listening to the new songs she has been releasing in the weeks leading up to her album release, you know that she's going for a different sound on this one. She's going more pop. She's playing with auto-tune a little bit. So I've basically been walking around feeling like a giant part of my life has been snatched away from me. Because the storytelling, guitar strumming Taylor Swift is all I've ever known.

I obviously have no way of knowing if the entire album is going to be like that or if she's going to have a delicate balance between her old sound and her new sound. Either way, I'm still excited.

But the point of the story is that I realized that I'm resistant to change because I look at every change as a loss. And that is a terrible way to look at change. If I continue to feel a gaping sense of loss every time something I'm accustomed to changes, I'm going to walk around my entire life feeling pain and loss. I don't want to live that way anymore. I want to be able to bend and evolve and suck it up. As long as I'm alive, things are going to change. People are going to change. EVERYTHING is going to change.

So that's the most recent thing I've been pondering over. Taylor Swift is still Taylor Swift. I know that I will eventually grow to love her new sound because I'm too loyal of a fan not to. She is evolving. I shall evolve with her.

And I will do my best to evolve with any other changes that take place in my life. Change is inevitable, and I'm trying really hard to grasp that concept once and for all. I really think I will feel happier and freer if I do. (Freer is a weird word, by the way. It doesn't look the way it sounds.)

And lastly, I just want you all to know that I love getting emails from you. Every time someone emails me and I email them back, they seem surprised by the fact that I actually emailed them back---like they weren't expecting me to or something.

They're all like, "Whoa, thanks for responding!" or "Whoa, I wasn't expecting to hear back from you!" or "Whoa, you got back to me so quickly! Thanks!"

And I'm just thinking, "Why wouldn't I get back to you? You just poured your heart out to me and gave me the nicest compliments ever!"

I read every email I get. I respond to every email I get. (Unless it's hate mail, but I've never gotten hate mail. PLEASE DON'T SEND ME HATE MAIL.)

Interacting with the people who actually care about what I have to say is important to me. I would never read a heart wrenching or super nice email and just be like, "Eh. Okay. Moving on to the next."

So don't hesitate to email me if you need someone to talk to or whatever. I can't promise to fix your problems or give you mind-blowing, life-changing advice, but I WILL respond.

Happy Friday!

<3 Madison