Today I’m writing in my rarely used ‘You’re Welcome’ category. I thought it up over a year ago when there was a lot of discussion happening about social media envy – you know, that time everyone was bummed because their lives weren’t as perfect as everyone else’s seem to be when viewed through proverbial (and literal) Instagram filters. I have never assumed that the image I put out there comes off as perfect to anyone, all the same I thought I could help alleviate some feels by sharing a few non-glamorous aspects of my reality. I envisioned ‘You’re Welcome’ as a parody via tongue-in-cheek photo shoots of, like, me vacuuming my house in curlers – something I never do. Obviously it never materialized and it’s probably for the better. Anyway, I finally have something on my mind that falls under this category, so here we go …
Last night was the first half, or Winter installment, of the third annual Fade to Light fashion show here in Portland. I’ve never gone to a FTL before but last night’s line up was pretty great: Michelle Lesniak, Rogue Minx, Altar Houseline, Veil & Valor (a new collab project from the ladies behind Primal Haunt), Bryce Black, and more. I was into it! So many rad people were going too, I knew I’d have lots of friendly faces greeting me throughout the night. I emailed the producer and she graciously put me on the press list. I was all set.
Guys, I did not go.
Instead, I threw on leggings and a sweatshirt and watched the Blazer game from my couch. I love the Blazers but sports are not even a blip on my radar. So much so that I was on Instagram the whole while. After a while my feed started showing friends at the venue looking happy and excited and the regret set in. I should have gone! Why didn’t I go?? I held myself back, that’s why. An unfortunate effect of my anxiety disorder, I have a bad habit of holding myself back out of fear.
Once the producer (again, very graciously) put me on the list, I started freaking out: I’ve never gone to a fashion show by myself before! It will be so awkward! OMG, I have to take pictures! The lighting will be tricky! What if all my pictures suck and I can’t use any of them? Where am I going to stand? What if someone stands in front of me (which always seems to happen)? I can’t possibly ask them to move! I could get there as soon as the doors open and get a front row balcony seat … but then I’ll have to sit there for well over an hour before the show starts and if I move to walk around and mingle, I’ll lose my seat! What if the balcony is too far away to get decent pics from anyway? Shit, what is the runway set up like? Ugh, where will I park? What the hell will I wear?? Shit, it’s going to be a late night! I’ll get home way after my bedtime! I have to work in the morning! (Seriously though, why are fashion shows almost always on weeknights?!)
You get the picture. This is my every day life and you can be sure that at any given time that sort of dialogue is running through my head regarding just about anything I have to do. I’ve made huge strides over the last two years in overcoming this sort of thing – I used to never, ever, ever leave the house if I didn’t have to! – but the truth is, it never goes away. If there’s something to worry about, I’m already on it. If there’s nothing to worry about, rest assured – I’ll find something to worry about. It’s pretty f’ing exhausting.
So to all my lovely friends and friendly acquaintances that I missed last night: I’m sorry I missed you. Truly. To that producer: I’m so sorry I wasted your time with my press request. I hope you’ll continue to take me seriously for future requests. To all the designers who presented: I’m so sorry I missed your big night! I should have been there! To all my readers: I’m sorry I have no coverage of this event for you, I shoud have sucked it up and gone.
One of my biggest goals with the blog this year is to provide coverage of events just like this one. I was able to take my first step in realizing that goal with the recent Unmentionable show and I just can’t even express how bummed I am that I dropped the ball here. The difference? I had four friends at Unmentionable with me, one of whom drove us there, I had a front row press seat and professional photogs to send me pics. Guess what? I was still worrying about that event beforehand but things like making plans to go with someone and knowing photography will be handled for you make it much harder to flake. Still, I’m a big girl and I need to be able to go somewhere by myself and take pictures if I want to. I can’t promise anything but I do sincerely hope this is the last time I allow myself to miss something I’m genuinely excited about because my dumb brain won’t shut up.
Bottom line: I decided to share this today because dealing with anxiety is something that can be very isolating. When I confide in new friends about my social anxiety and struggle with not becoming a full-on agoraphobic they always seem surprised to hear I deal with these issues. I like to think it’s because I have come so far in my ability to cope and move past them but I’m realizing that no matter how good I get at coping, it’s still coping. I don’t think I will ever get to a point where anxiety isn’t niggling at me but despite hiccups like last night, maybe I’m proof that you can learn ways to deal and move past it more often than not.
So there you go. I am not perfect and the struggle is real.