Facing Your Inhibitions

insecurities

Insecurities . . .

Probably the biggest factor behind my anxiety. Probably the biggest factor behind my stress. Probably the biggest factor behind my bouts of depression.

There it is. All of it, out in the open. I seem to have it all together in everyone else’s eyes. I look incredibly happy, set to go, not a care in the world . . . but I have my bad days/weeks like anyone else. I hide it, like I’ve always done, because that’s the way I am. My struggles aren’t debilitating by any means, but they’re still there. Why? Sometimes I don’t even know what causes them.

My past definitely created the problems. Experiences with someone I loved continuously lying to me, about every action, eventually caused me to question everything . . . and bam! Anxiety stressor numero uno. If I question every statement, story, excuse, or reason given to me, then I have no time to rationalize the situation. My mind is too occupied creating possible scenarios in my head. My insecurities rush in and take over. One small step forward and then three giant leaps backward. Eventually the fears of being lied to take over and mild depression sets in. I’m still able to function, but it’s there, in the back of my head, to remind me that I’m not perfect.

And no one is perfect . . . obviously. But I am a perfectionist and will always strive to achieve it. I give advice to friends that experience similar circumstances, but have a hard time following that advice for myself. Overcoming the havoc that verbal abuse wreaked on my soul seems to be far more complicated than anyone really understands. The scars are so deep they may last a lifetime. You can’t just get over it, and leaving doesn’t instantaneously heal them. The toxicity of your relationship will make or break you. It will either make you stronger, or render you incapable of trusting at all. But there are ways to help understand your feelings more in depth and take charge of the downward spiral before it slips from your control.

Overthinking kills happiness. So that should be easy, right? Just don’t overthink the situation. Let bygones be bygones and walk away from it. Much easier said than done. I try to practice this habit on myself, but overthinking and anxiety go hand in hand. So instead, when I feel myself starting to play scenarios in my head, that, by the way, are almost always completely out of my control, I try to engage in activities to take my mind off of it. Exercise, writing, reading, games with my kids, cleaning . . . and usually that works temporarily. And honestly, at this point in time, temporary is better than nothing at all. Baby steps, right?

Insecurities kill self-esteem. Most often when I am feeling insecure about anything, I take to social media. I post a picture and voila, instant gratification. Not the best answer . . . this can lead to unhealthy use of these outlets and we need to live in the real world and focus on our true accomplishments. Some days, just getting out of bed can be something worth celebrating. We all have struggles, regardless of our experiences. Every single person on the planet has some type of insecurity that they struggle with. Embrace it. Know that you are not alone. Celebrate your progress and the things you like about yourself, and create goals that are attainable. This allows you to accomplish tasks and therefore feel better about yourself.

Lies kill trust. Most importantly, be honest with yourself. Don’t hide behind a facade of everything in your world is perfect. Nothing is ever perfect. Be honest to those around you. When you are no longer hiding things, no matter how small, the burden will be lifted from your shoulders, automatically making you feel better about your life. And pay attention to those around you. Put your faith in people, but keep yourself aware of red flags that indicate whether or not someone is trustworthy.

With these things, I can keep my anxiety at bay, and fight my insecurities. I will be a better, happier, healthier, me.

~Christa G.

Lorelei: Chapter One…Continued

Lorelei

Lorelei: Chapter One

Turning, I sprinted for the house. We had found the dead bird near the edge of the woods, which was normally a five minute walk from the garden. In my hurried sprint, it took me a mere minute to arrive panting on our front porch, blood now dripping from my arm, mud caking my shoes. Just as my mother burst to the scene, her scathing glance taking in the mud before the blood, Elijah pushed past me. Her attention quickly switched to his maimed face and without a word she slapped me hard across my cheek.

“You’ll have some explaining to do, young lady.” With a steady hand, she led Elijah inside.

I blinked away the urge to cry as I felt the sting of her slap. Elijah glanced over his shoulder at me, grinning sardonically. He quickly winced from the pain. I snickered, but it was poor consolation for the injustice of it all.

The rest of the evening wore on in some continuous loop of me trying to explain how awful and monstrous Elijah had been to the bird and to me. But my parents heard none of it. They shook their heads and shrugged.

“Boys will be boys,” Mama said.

“You overreacted,” Papa said.

“You’re too sensitive,” they both added.

The terrible ordeal ended with me banished to my room with no supper. That happened a lot. I always saw injustice where others saw normalcy. And it usually cost me a meal or two. Contentious brat, they called me. Just wanting to stir up trouble. Meanwhile, Lorelei floated along blindly. She never even stood up for me about the whole bird thing. I couldn’t blame her, though. Elijah frightened us both. Since that incident with the bird, we tried to avoid him and eventually he outgrew his interest in bullying us.

 

Lorelei spun her way over to my bed, playfully grabbing my arm in an attempt to pull me to my feet. I groaned more loudly.

“Rachel, come on! Wake up, sleepy head!”

“I am awake,” I moaned.

“Breakfast is almost ready and Nan made biscuits and bacon!”

I sprung up in bed. “Bacon?” We both giggled as I haphazardly dressed myself. I hated Sundays. And I hated my dress. Mama had them specially made for us. Lorelei’s silk pink dress complimented her soft, pale skin and blondish white hair. I wanted red because of my dark, raven-colored hair and deep chocolatey eyes, but Mama said red was an unholy color and so I got stuck with pale blue, which I felt went horribly with my black hair and olive complexion. So I pretended I was Lorelei’s gorgeous orphaned cousin, and that the pale blue dress was Mama’s way of telling me to remember my place in the family. It made me feel special, like a scorned heroine in a novel; Rachel, always the misunderstood, but incredibly smart girl. Even my name was drab. Not anything like Lorelei. Sometimes I could swear I was adopted.

Once I finished dressing, we chased each other down the stairs. The plush carpet beneath our feet barely hid our bounding steps. Our gangly legs brought us to the kitchen where the savory scent of frying bacon and sizzling gravy greeted our drooling faces. Nan swatted our greedy fingers away.

Her succulent cooking and flair for creating enviously elaborate entrées for Mama’s social dinner parties, made her almost a celebrity in our small town. And those who had the pleasure of tasting her culinary artistry, imagined her a rotund woman with an insatiable appetite. But Nan was quite the opposite, at least in regard to her stature. There were those who believed a hunger demon possessed her, that she could never halt her cravings because of its indelible influence over her. They said the more powerful the hunger demon, the skinnier its victim. When I asked Nan about this, she cackled.

“People are so funny about things they can’t explain or don’t understand,” she replied.

“But what if it’s true. What if you do have a hunger demon? Won’t you die?”

“If I do, I’ll die happy. And hopefully over a plate of camembert with blueberry compote, while sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.” She sighed dreamily, her gaze fixing on an imaginary spot.

I wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t like the thought of Nan dying, even if she was happy to go while munching on her favorite cheese. Nan practically raised us. And when my parents forced me to go to bed with no dinner, she always managed to sneak a snack into my room. I felt closer to her than Mama.

I obsessed over the hunger demon for weeks. I had to protect Nan from this life-sucking entity.

to be continued . . . 

~Lindsey V.