Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: Your Insecurities Aren’t A Running Joke. (6/16/18)


Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.

Let’s get straight into the post: your insecurities are not a running joke. You shouldn’t let other people take your insecurities as a joke, and you shouldn’t present them as a joke either.

Oh, you thought this was a basic post about bullying, huh? Lemme explain.

Many of us, especially those who have a hard time fitting in, don’t realize that once we “try to fit in” by joking about something we’re actually insecure about, you are opening that door for those around you to do the same.

When I was in middle school, I was constantly bullied for my weight. I was called a whale, a pig, a fatass, a fat bitch, an elephant, and pretty much every other typical name in the book that describes a fat person. A lot of these people who did that were actually my friends at the time, and many of them didn’t understand why a year later, they all got called down to the guidance counselors office with me and my parents.

“I thought it didn’t bother her? She was never bothered by it before!”

That’s because I allowed my insecurities to be a running joke.

When you’re a pre-teen in a middle school that only wanted to fit in, you tend to do whatever it takes to fit in. I was always considered overweight, and when boys and other girls used to tease me for being that, I engaged in it. I made it seem like it didn’t bother me and at times would join in making fun of myself. But after a while, the lines get blurred. People take things too far and before you know it, you’re replacing most of your meals with water; just water.

I tell this story because there are still people in their 20’s who tend to joke about their insecurities just so that they appear to be unbothered by it. They tend to joke around to show others that they are “strong” and “confident” in themselves, but really you’re just hurting yourself. And getting others to think differently about you, or make them stop treating you a certain way, is even more frustrating.

And this goes far beyond just a couple of “fat” jokes.

This is about people who are insecure about many things in their life. Maybe it is about their weight. Maybe it’s the way they sweat on a really hot summer day. Maybe it’s their body odor they can’t control, no matter how much deodorant and body spray they have on them. Maybe it’s the labels you get for having an uncontrollable mental illness. Maybe it’s the way they are programmed due to their own personal experiences, trauma, mantras, mentality, etc.

Whatever the case may be, you shouldn’t be your own bully.

Instead, take your insecurities seriously. Yeah, insecurities are sometimes just all in your head and it really is you that may be thinking too much, but you should own up to your insecurities and make it known that certain things are off-limits.

Personally, for me, my weight is off limits. My anxiety disorder is off-limits. Anything that personally triggers me is off-limits. No, you’re not being hypersensitive, you’re sticking up for yourself. You’re showing others you respect yourself and you demand to be respected in the same way you will respect them. There shouldn’t be any question about that, especially being at the age we are currently in.

So 12-year-old Liz, I wish you didn’t have to feel like you had to put yourself down in order to fit in. I wish you were able to see that you were much better than that. I wish you were able to stick up for yourself without engaging in stupid activities like chasing those boys around and hitting them whenever they teased you. But you taught me a lot on how I should be handling myself and how I should be treated by others. You taught me that those insecurities would find ways to diminish on their own instead of putting them front and center for the world to see. You taught me that my insecurities don’t define me, but they are a working process into finding out who I am.

Be nice to yourself, guys.


-Liz (:


What Grad School Taught Me: The Masters Grad Edition.

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!

A year ago, I published a quite negative post regarding how the first year of my grad studies treated me. You can read that here if you’d like.

This time around, I am a recent Master’s Graduate and my perspective on it has changed for the better.

Liz, “Master in English”.

Yesterday, I attended my departmental ceremony and officially graduated grad school. 130 undergrads graduated with their Bachelors in English, and 7 grads graduated with their Masters in English. Within the ceremony, our MA Director did something that was quite touching; she acknowledged all 7 of its graduates and shared to the English Class of 2018 all of our MA Theses titles to acknowledge our hard work during our journey in grad school. For my moment, I felt like my hard work paid off, and it felt great to just have the title of my thesis read because it’s such a body of work I am immensely proud of. I honestly wouldn’t have had the passion and drive for it if it wasn’t for my thesis advisor, Professor Carlo.

Professor Carlo & I.

Professor Carlo’s class was one of two courses I took during my first semester as a grad student. I was 22, I was naïve, and I was extremely timid and shy to even speak in class. In the duration of her course, I began to see writing in such a different perspective, and I began to express myself in a classroom in a way I haven’t been able to do so since the acting courses I took during undergrad. I felt a sense of freedom and began to get a sense of what my voice was, and I honestly believe I wouldn’t have known this without Professor Carlo’s class. I knew since the moment she said “if you’d like have your final paper become a thesis”, I instantly knew she was the professor I wanted to guide me to the end. And she did, and as a thank you for her dedication, time (and ears whenever I rambled on and on in our meetings), I gave her a bouquet of flowers. I cried giving them to her, she cried as I cried. And that’s the thing: the last time I truly cried at a graduation was in middle school, a time where I was at the happiest in my life and that I knew I was truly going to miss being there with my friends. I cried at my Masters’ Graduation because I was sad it was over and that the journey that I once felt was going to last a lifetime, was now over.

Grad school taught me more than how to research and analyze text on a scholarly level. It taught me the lessons in life I was too afraid to learn on my own.

Bachelors in English.

Prior to grad school, I graduated college not really knowing what the real world was like, and I wasn’t ready to face it because let’s be honest, I didn’t have a hard time completing my bachelor’s degree. At first, I accepted CSI’s “fast-track” into the Master’s program because I felt like I wasn’t done. I felt like I wasn’t done learning, growing, and getting degrees in all honesty. My aunt is the only other person in the family with a Masters Degree, and it was about time that a millennial in the family got one as well. But to be even more honest with myself, I started the program because I was scared of not having a plan, and going to grad school felt like the security blanket that I thought was going to protect me a bit as I got my own shit together.

In a sense, it worsened me.

With every journey comes with some hardships and particularly, grad school gave me a lot of them. I lost most of my friends (old and newish), I lost a lot of my social abilities which created this comfortable bubble of just me writing and getting work done, and it became a reason why I am now seeking out therapy.

It’s how I found out I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

But even with all of this, I’ve learned how to look at it through a positive lens. For instance, I would’ve never gone to seek therapy in the past because I never allowed myself to believe that I was sad/unhappy enough to the point where I needed outside help. Grad school, without a doubt, made me more responsible and more willing to manage things, and with that came this ability to become self-aware of my behavior, actions, and my fears. It made me see myself in a way that made me feel very exposed, and I didn’t have any help trying to get “comfortable” again.

Grad school taught me how to be self-aware of myself & how to acknowledge even the most uncomfortable things in my life. Whether it was me having to wait near the bridge for my bus at 10:30 at night, or writing two 12-page papers in 3 weeks, I was very uncomfortable during my journey. Half of those things caused my anxiety to worsen; half of those things taught me how to cope and make this a temporary “new norm”. There was no compromise in the middle; it was either go for it or let it get you. And I think that’s something so important to know when dealing with an anxiety disorder and/or dealing with life in general.

The future for me is unplanned, and I am learning to be okay with that for the time being. I made it this far, to see this day, to see yesterday, and I know I’ll make it see the future. Grad school taught me there’s no room to be afraid to do something; you’ll never truly know what could be in store if you don’t explore outside of your comfort zone.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable teaches you more about yourself than being comfortable.

Here’s to life as a Master in English.


Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: Not Sharing Your Feelings is Selfish. (5/26/18)

Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH!

Man, I really don’t mean for these titles to be so clickbait like, but I swear: hear me out on this one.

I am one to avoid confrontation with a 10-foot pole. For the past couple of years, I never tried to bring up things or how I feel in situations because I’m always worried about how a person will respond to it. Instead, I try to just ignore my feelings and carry on with my day. While I thought doing so was a selfless act (I mean, I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings by doing so; I’m actually doing the other person a favor of letting it go), I slowly realized just how backward my logic was.

I went to see my therapist for my weekly appointment, and we discussed this concept of being avoidant. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been the type of person to think before they speak (or at least try to). I will always think how the other person would feel if I brought up something that was random and serious all of a sudden. Many of the time, I see myself continuously doing this because I am simply afraid that my feelings or my thoughts will create an even worse situation than I intended to do.

While it is always right to consider how a person might feel when deciding to talk about how you may feel, keeping how you really feel to spare the other person’s feelings isn’t as great of a deed you think it is.

It’s actually worse in retrospect.

Now, I’m not saying tell your friend that her dress is ugly after she told you she feels really good wearing it. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that the more you bottle up your emotions for the sake of avoiding conflict and/or discussion, you’re hurting not only yourself, but the person you are interacting with.

Personally, I find it hard to bring up my feelings about conflicting issues because the second I decide I want to bring it up, I constantly think “well, what happens if that person doesn’t take it well and it results in you guys fighting?” Instantly after that, I’m back at keeping it in and ignoring it. Doing so is such a temporary feeling to a long-term issue, and in all honesty, you’re not allowing the other person to have a say, hindering their opportunity to express themselves.

Not every situation will have a good turnout. There will be times where the other person will not agree with what you have to say, and that’s completely fine. Communication in social/personal/romantic relationships is such an important device when hashing out issues you may overall have. Plus, you never know: the other person might feel the same way you do as well.

You never know if you don’t talk.

Talking about your feelings and letting them be known to whoever is around you isn’t an act of being self-centered. Talking about how we are feeling creates honesty and compassion, and it makes you extremely self-aware of who you are and what makes you happy, sad, mad, etc. I’ve learned that anyone who is willing to call you self-centered or selfish because you share how you feel without a filter isn’t really interested in who you are as a person; they are typically just people who want to be around for a good time.

Be unapologetic for what you are feeling. Allow your thoughts to open up a conversation that might be needed in order to move forward with something. Give back what you want from people and listen to what they have to say; you would want the same thing in return.

And the same thought goes with hiding your feelings; you wouldn’t want someone who you care about just hiding how they are feeling when they are clearly upset over something. Also, you would want a chance to talk things out and move forward with whatever you and the other person are going through.

The next time you feel like hiding your true feelings about a situation for the sake of the other person involved, remember that you’re just showing them that it’s okay to shove things under the rug without resolving it, which will only come back up whenever you guys are in another sticky situation.

So start the conversation.

-Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (7/22/17)


There will be toxic people at some point in your life. No matter where you go, you will encounter someone who is toxic to your well-being. These people are disguised as anyone: friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives; you name it. Sadly, we can’t avoid these people in our lives.

I was lucky enough to cut the people who were toxic in my life when the relationship between me and the toxic people were just friends. Toxic friends damage you, but when you have the strength to put yourself first, letting go of friends is easy; you stop talking to them. But there are situations where the toxic people live in your own home, or when you’re related to them, or when you’re married or in a relationship. These type of toxic people are a different type of toxic; you care for them and worry about them even when it hurts you and your well-being. Dysfunctionality in romantic and family relationships are sadly one of the man norms in our society, but not all are toxic. But when these relationships turn toxic and stay toxic for periods of time, it could really do damage on a person’s emotions and mentality.

The sad reality about being in this situation is that there aren’t that many options on the table when it comes to taking care of yourself. No matter what route you go down on, you have some potential loss. Whether you decide to do when dealing with toxic people that you can’t necessarily escape, make sure that you don’t make moves with an angry mindset. In other words, make sure what you’re doing is rational and beneficial; don’t do anything just to do anything.

  • If you’re dealing with a toxic person in the household, make sure to find a safe space. It’s not the easiest trying to escape from a household member while they’re under the same roof as you. If you’re finding it difficult to get away from the person while they’re being “toxic”, go to an area where you can close a door. Sometimes, that barrier of a door eases your mind a bit; knowing that person is on the other side of the door. If you still hear them being toxic and whatnot, put some headphones on and try to distract yourself. Finding your safe space to go to will help you not get too indulged in the toxic person’s activities and actions.
  • Stop making excuses for the toxic person. When someone around you is toxic to you, you begin to make excuses for their behavior; some that you would usually be appalled of if it were anyone else. Toxic people make you believe and think that they are the victim in the situation. “Oh, they’re going through a rough tie in their life.” “They aren’t thinking straight.” “They don’t know what they are talking about.” Simple excuses like that will make the toxic person have power over you and instead of trying to be there for them, you’re hurting yourself. The true reality is that if a person is being toxic and they don’t do anything to help stop the toxicity spreading in their surroundings, they most likely don’t care about how you feel or what they do to you. What more do you need to stop making excuses for their behavior?
  • It’s not your fault that that toxic person is toxic. Toxic people love to blame other people for their behavior and constantly say that other people are the reason why they are the way they are. You have to realize that no one is responsible for your own actions; you make the decisions for your own life. Toxic people don’t see it like that. It’s easy to get sucked in and ask yourself “why are they acting like this towards me? What did I do? You have to remember that people live their own lives and go through their own shit, and sometimes it’s easy for them to blame their actions on other people. It’s never a person’s fault when someone is toxic.
  • Love from afar. If you’re dealing with a toxic family relative or someone in that nature, it’s hard to stop caring or loving them because of their toxicity. Although that person may be family, toxic people are a downer and they affect your decisions and outlook on life. Sometimes, your only option is to love someone from a distance. Sometimes, you have to distance your emotions from someone for the sake of your own mentality and perspective on life. There’s nothing more to it.
  • Move forward with your life. When a toxic person is in your life, sometimes it could feel like you’re stuck in one spot without any guidance or direction out of it. When you don’t have that control over your life, you feel like you have no control of the other things in your life. When dealing with toxic people, your best bet is to just completely cut them out of your life. If you’re in a situation where you can’t cut a toxic person out of your life, following any of the points above will help you move forward with your life. Take care of yourself, be your own support group. DO things that make you happy and feel like you’re progressing forward.

No matter who it is, dealing with toxic people is possibly one of the hardest things to go to, especially if it’s family or close relatives. No matter what, your life matters and your happiness should always be your number one priority. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t treat the ones around you poorly; you know how it feels to be on the other end of that line.


-Liz (:

Voiceless Rant: The Series

A Voiceless Rant: July 2017 Edition.

I promised I’d be honest with myself.


I promised that I was going to live my life acknowledging every single emotion I was feeling and make it a priority because I lived in the dark for too long regarding them. I always believed that showing your emotions and putting them on the back burner was the “adult” thing to do. I realized it was not. I realized that in order to handle the good and bad in your life, you have to prioritize emotions from both sides of the spectrum. That’s right, no more showcasing only the good emotions and ignoring the bad ones. That’s not who I am and I refuse to conform to those “social norms” where communication is slowly dying. I refuse to play make-believe and pretend that the easiest way to a better life is simply just smiling in everyone’s face.

This isn’t a negative perspective, it’s a realistic one.

Continue reading “A Voiceless Rant: July 2017 Edition.”


Metanoia: Why I’ve Been Gone.

Hey, guys. After a long hiatus, welcome back to TNTH.

I’ve spent these last few weeks trying to write this post and having it reflect on the process I’ve been going through as I’ve been going through it, and every time I’ve tried explaining myself, it still doesn’t fully explain why. So excuse me if this sounds confusing, or cheesy, or down-right crazy. I promised myself that TNTH is a safe place of honesty and self-expression, so here I am doing just that.

I left for many reasons. I’ve written the list over and over again and I’ve finally come to terms with those reasons. Those reasons, or causes perhaps, made me live a lie for the last 5 months, I’ve been indulging in this life that was not my own, and eventually, I started to break down. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.

Long story short, the pressure builds up inside of you and everything that you held back for months on end began to pour out. My honest, raw, and purest-self showed and when I look back at it, I remember how vulnerable I truly was. How desperate I wanted everything to end; the self-hate thoughts that circled through my head would not leave me alone. I realized things needed to desperately change before I was back to where I was years ago when the pain caused me to then become suicidal. I needed to find myself again.

During my time away from the world, I’ve listened to a lot of music. Specifically, I listened to Camila Cabello’s “I Have Questions” on repeat. It was the type of song that took you to a place you never knew existed in you. Every time that song plays on my phone, I feel like I fall down this trap door of every issue, problem, and insecurity of mine and I’m forced to come in contact with them all. Long story short, the song comes from her forthcoming debut album, The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. She shares that the album is a “journey from darkness to light; [how she lost herself and then found herself again through three stages: the hurting, the healing, and the loving.]”

I’ve taken these three stages of self-discovery and applied it to my own life. It’s when I realized that I have the power to fix what I want to fix, find what I want to find, change what I want to change, and to simply heal the hurt so that I can love again.

This is who I was, who I am, and what I’m working to become.

Continue reading “Metanoia: Why I’ve Been Gone.”

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (5/13/17)

It’s been a rough couple of weeks due to the stress and anxiety of the semester coming to an end and I’ve been trying my best to keep my mind happy. In an attempt to be okay and calm, I came up with a list of things to do when you’re feeling down or anxious about life:

  1. Try to wake up early. Sleeping too late makes you feel like you wasted a good day. Make sure to wake up in the morning and get things done!
  2. Go for a walk. Put on your walking shoes and take a nice walk around your neighborhood. You never know where your feet might take you and see what new things you discover.
  3. Seek change if necessary. Maybe there’s something you want to need to change in order to start anew. Cut your hair, revamp your wardrobe, pick up a new hobby!
  4. No drinking or smoking for awhile. I realized during my time of anxiety, I was beginning to enjoy handling it with drinking and the occasional smoking and after awhile, I realized this wasn’t something I wanted to keep doing. Saying no to any substances, whether in a safe environment or a party setting, helps you gain back some control you weren’t having.
  5. Keep a journal. Keeping track of the things you’re feeling or going through on a day-to-day basis helps you not keep those things bottled up for an extended period of time.
  6. Eat/drink healthier foods. Personally, I feel better whenever I’m eating something good for me like fruits and vegetables and definitely when I’m drinking smoothies during a warm day. Knowing that I’m putting good things into my body helps me think of positive things.
  7. Have a support system. Having people in your circle who genuinely care about your well-being makes the bad feelings go away because sometimes, all you need to do is have someone who matters listen to you. Sometimes in cases with anxiety, people who have it feel worried that when expressing their anxiety to other people feel as if they are annoying them. Just having one or two people sit down with you to talk about it will help you out.
  8. Never leave school work to the last minute. With two 15-page papers being in the process of being finalized and handed in, it’s not ideal to leave them for the last minute. Make time for yourself to finish all your work so that you can finally start your little break away from school.
  9. Laugh often. Laughter is truly the best medicine; don’t deprive yourself of it.
  10. Do what makes you happy. Read a book, draw, exercise, sing, write; whatever puts your spirit in a good place, do it.
  11. Stop waiting for life to happen. Make sure you are doing something every single day that it’s helping you move forward so that the “waiting” doesn’t feel like waiting at all.
  12. Be kind to yourself. Remember, you are not perfect, no matter how badly your mind wants you to be. You are only human, and humans are definitely not capable of perfection, so stop trying to explain to yourself why you feel a certain way or why you’re behaving out. Accept that you are going through a rough time, but never let it take over your life.

if they can do it, you can do it. remember that. focus, determination, passion. invincible.:

-Liz (:

Self-Appreciation Saturdays

Self-Appreciation Saturday. (5/6/17)

Image result for yourself quotes

I’ve always lived by this mantra that the most important thing to be in life is being yourself. When you’re showing your authentic self to the world, people will classify you as being “real”. Now, I’m not saying that’s the only reason why you should be yourself, I mean there are many other reasons, but the most important factor of it all is that when you know who you are and what you represent, everything else in your life becomes more clear. You know the important things to worry about in life, the relationships you have with people will be more real, and there just isn’t error for you to make mistakes because you just know better. 

But it’s not easy to get to that point in life. My reinvention of myself was 2 years in the making, and even when life came crashing down on me, I had to start from scratch and reevaluate the new things that impacted my life.

But reinventing yourself isn’t impossible.

  • First things first, throw out any unnecessary things that you feel like are weighing you down. A week ago, I had gone through a big box of old notebooks and journals and found a ton of things in there that I forgot I even had. Most of the things got thrown away because not only were they taking up so much space but some of those things were things I didn’t want to sit and look back on. Like, why would I want to remember all the times I was bullied in 6th grade in my 6th-grade journal? Why would I want to read about the things my own best friend made fun of me for having epilepsy in my 4th-grade journal? I just threw out anything that I knew that I didn’t want to see years in the future when I stumble upon it while going up to the attic of my house. After throwing out all these things that I kept for years, I couldn’t help but feel mentally “lighter” than before. There’s something about throwing old things away to make room for new things that feels like hope. It’s weird, but it makes sense.
  • Revamp your hairstyle or fashion style. So, when I first met Obie, he rocked an afro. In a school where buzz cuts or waves or whatever that was in for guys, he had a little fro that made him stand out. At the end of 2013, he decided that with the little hair he had, he was going to grow out dreads. Officially in 2014, his hair finally locked, and three years later, he has long, almost mid-back length dreads. He always mentions the fact that getting dreads was the best decision he made because it changed something in him and being around him during this transition, I could sense the change in him too. People don’t realize that there’s some psychological reason in why people dye or cut their hair and somehow feel different. I know when I went blonde a couple of times, I felt like a completely different person; even when I went black I felt the same thing. There’s something about a new look in hair or wardrobe that gives you that extra boost to help you reinvent yourself completely.
  • Go over what matters to you. If you were to ask me 5 years ago what matters the most to me, I would say how people perceive me and my friend’s judgment about me. 5 years later, I’m nothing like that anymore. When I was in the early stages of reinventing myself, I had a couple of people in my life who were dead weight to me. But because of my need to be there for people no matter how they treated me, it took longer than expected to completely eliminate those people out of my life. Instead of wanting approval from my friends, respect and support from my friends became what really mattered to me. Instead of worrying about what people thought of me, authenticity and honesty became what really mattered to me. As you grow older, you soon realize the things that you thought were so important in your life as a teenager was actually immature, baby shit that has no real impact on the world.
  • Identity isn’t always positive things; embrace your negatives. There will be a time in your life where you don’t know where you fit in and that’s okay because it’s a learning experience. For awhile, I thought I was an extrovert because in my younger years I was one. Once I became a teenager, I realized just how much I was actually an introvert because I was always in my head. To this day, I’m very much always in my head, and I’m timid and shy in certain settings. These things are far from being positive things to identify with, but after I stopped trying to change that part of myself, I felt better. Being shy and quiet is something that will always be with me, but I’m also trying to not let it hinder my social experiences and interactions with people. Identity isn’t always positive things because no one is perfect. I think the want to be perfect is a negative identification within itself, to be honest.
  • After reinventing yourself, don’t forget where you came from. In the midst of cleaning out my things last week, I stumbled upon my high-school yearbook. I looked through it for a few seconds and really thought about tossing it out because it represented a part of my life where I was severely depressed, suicidal, and lost with no hope in life. I saw all the people who were my “friends” at the time, I saw all the people who fucked me over, and all-in-all, I just had to ask myself if I’m just keeping this piece of shit just to be normal and say that I have my high-school yearbook. I took to Facebook to express myself, and the overwhelming responses that I got to keep it surprised me, actually.

Screenshot 2017-04-14 at 12.19.08 PM.png

The fact of the matter is that no matter how bad an experience was, it is always good to know where you came from, and how far you’ve come. The difference between my high-school yearbook and the other books I threw out is because my elementary school years didn’t make me the person I am today. My bad experience from high school made me want to reinvent myself into a better, kinder, smarter, wiser, and honest person. People who completely reinvent themselves usually do it so that they can forget the person that they once were. Sometimes, your bad experiences humble you. They remind you why it’s essential to be kind to others, why you are the way you are. Long story short, I decided to keep it. Maybe in the future, if I ever have kids of my own, I’ll show them that if I could overcome it, they can do.

-Liz (:



Self-Appreciation Saturdays

SAS: My Social Anxiety Story. (4/22/17)

Over the years, I’ve realized just how bad my shyness can be, especially at social events and gatherings. I always wondered why it scared me whenever I was invited to a party, and why I decided to never go. I’ve always enjoyed having a good time, so why did I never allow myself to by just saying yes to the invitations I get? I realized that as I got older, the anxiety got worse, and when I tried to take control of it one time, I realized that this wasn’t just a little episode of anxiety, but that I have some sort of social anxiety.

When I was younger, I was extremely outgoing. I had tons of friends in my neighborhood, school, and going to parties and to friend’s houses weren’t so nerve-wracking. I would classify myself as a leader when I was younger; I never followed anyone and I was always fearless to do the things that no one else wanted to do. I guess after I graduated middle school and moved on to a school in a neighborhood that none of my friends lived in, I became very timid and shy. Even though my high-school experience didn’t make me introverted since I had tons of friends in high-school, the fact that I felt like I couldn’t fit into most groups made me fall into the category of “quiet, smart people”.

The earliest memory I have of feeling anxious at a social gathering was when I was invited to a friend’s “Sweet 15” back in 2009. I went with a couple of my guy friends from middle school, and when I got to the party and they started to talk and dance with the other girls there, I was left at the table by myself. I left at midnight, crying because none of my friends were there hanging out with me, and I felt super awkward being there. After that whole thing happened, I declined Sweet 16 invitations and decided that my best bet was to stay home and be comfortable in my own setting.

When I graduated high school and started college, I realized that because the school was so big and filled with thousands of people, I knew it was impossible to be “popular”. It was also going to be impossible to make friends and actually keep them because most of these people lived in Staten Island, and me in Brooklyn. For four years, my only friend was Obie, my high-school best friend since 2009. I didn’t have a group of college friends until I was in my senior year of college when I decided to take acting classes for my drama minor requirements.

When I made this group of friends in acting, I was very anxious in interacting with them outside the classroom setting. The first time my friend, Tori, drove me home after class, I was definitely a different person than the one I was in that classroom. Tori was like my other half in that class, and everyone knew it. But something changed in me once we both left that classroom; I was nervous, I was quiet, I was wondrously looking around to keep myself from focusing in on the situation itself. I remember sharing this during a “human behavior” session in Acting the following class, and she admitted that she saw that happening to me. It was embarrassing, to say the least.

Because I was determined to keep this new group of friends, I wanted to put myself out there more. Not only did I have this new-found group of friends, but my best friend is Obie, aka “Mr. Social Butterfly”. No matter what day it is, he constantly has someone to hang out with because he’s just so sociable and outgoing. He’s been that way since as long as I’ve known him, and I realized that if I wanted to be a part of his friend circle and interact with everyone in it like a normal fucking human being, that I needed to fight this battle I have with social anxiety. For years, Obie has known my struggle with my social anxiety, and I appreciate that he doesn’t try to put me into situations where it could be overwhelming. At the time though, I felt left out in that part of his life. I wanted to be cordial and on a talking basis with his friends and family, I wanted to be invited to his gatherings or to the bar whenever he went with his friends; I just wanted to feel like I was able to fit in with him and his friend group. After the many failed attempts in trying to be sociable with the people who came over to his place while I was there, I told him I wanted to be formally invited to his 24th birthday party. He warned me, and after not listening to him, I realized I should’ve.

Over the years, Obie has cut down his “turn-ups” and parties a lot, but the only big bash he really throws his one for his birthday. His birthday is usually during the “unofficial start of the summer” weekend, aka Memorial Day weekend. Of course, he was throwing another party at his house, and I finally wanted to be a part of his birthday celebration. We went back and forth on whether or not it was going to be okay for me to go, yet I told him I needed to do this for myself. So, I went.

That Saturday night, I got to his place two hours before the party was supposed to start. (Red Flag #1: people who tend to show signs of anxiety usually make it their mission to be one of the first people at a social gathering so that they don’t walk into something that’s already crowded.) When I got there, I was one of 6 other people there, and these other six people were friends and family that I see whenever I’m at his place, so I felt comfortable. As more people came and the more crowded his apartment was getting, I was getting a little anxious. From the time I got there to the time I left at midnight, I stayed in one spot of the entirety of the night. (Red flag #2: people who tend to show signs of anxiety usually stay in one particular spot at social gatherings, making it hard for them to mingle and socialize with other people, and even feeling anxious to get up from their spot to use the bathroom because you’re afraid someone is going to look at you when you do get up.) The people who I was first there with were now all over the apartment talking to people, playing Uno (which I wanted to join in but was too scared to get up which is Red flag #3: people who show signs of anxiety don’t create opportunities to join into something, they wait until someone who is doing the activity ask them if they want to join, which in that case you say yes.) Of course, no one asked me to play, and I sat in my spot, just watching those around me, feeling awkward.

Every once and awhile, Obie came to ask me how I was doing, and when it became too transparent on my face to continue saying I was fine, I told him “I feel weird.” In his attempts to keep me company and to help me feel better, I knew he couldn’t cater to me all night; it was his birthday and his party and those who came to his party wanted to see him. He had to be the host that night, not my only friend at the party. After awhile, there was no room to get by and my anxiety began to skyrocket. By 11 o’clock, I was ready for my father to come and pick me up because I started to get really hot in the face and every person that came up to try to talk to me, I responded in jibberish. I was a mess, to put it kindly, and when my father finally texted me that he was downstairs of Obie’s building, I pulled Obie to the side and told him I was leaving.

In my attempt to remain calm and content, Obie saw right through me. He knew that something was wrong, and after trying to play it off all night, I finally told him that I was having a really bad anxiety attack. I saw him through blurry, panicky eyes. I was hot, I couldn’t breathe, and I don’t remember if I actually heard anyone or anything around me besides Obie. He handed me a glass of water and walked me downstairs. He hugged me bye and I cried all the way home.

Image result for anxiety quotes

Most people will never understand the severity of social anxiety, and that’s just a straight up fact. Every now and then, anxiety can go away and be prevented, but it takes more than “just start talking to people” or “just be yourself, silly.” It’s when you feel stuck in your seat and no matter how badly you need to use the bathroom, you hold it in because you don’t want anyone to see you get up. It’s when you rather let someone else answer the question that a professor asks because you’re too afraid of answering and being told that it’s wrong. It’s the awkward jibberish that comes out of your mouth when trying to socialize with people and then feel embarrassed when you sound dumb because your mind is too nervous to function right. It’s when you unintentionally make yourself the oddball in a group of people but at the same time screaming in your head “please talk to me first!”

It’s all these things and more, and it’s something that people will write off as being rude or “not being friendly”. Some of my old friends don’t even talk to me anymore because they think that I don’t care about them anymore because I never reach out when really, being the first to text someone scares the shit out of me because I’m afraid of annoying them. The truth of the matter is is that’s the last thing I’m trying to do.

I usually keep my anxiety to myself because it’s definitely one of those things that people will easily write off as being weak because everyone has anxiety in one way or another. I also keep it to myself because no matter how bad I’m feeling, I always feel like my little episodes of anxiety bother people when I express them. The fact of the matter is that yeah, I tend to make the littlest things and think about them all damn day, not realizing that it wasn’t that big, to begin with.

I don’t know.

I guess I’m just trying to be okay with myself and sometimes, it’s just not enough.

 -Liz. (:
Throwback Thursdays

#TBT: All About 2014.

2014 was an amazing year for personal growth. The year before was a rough one; I was very much still dealing with lingering depression from high school, my freshman year of college wasn’t the greatest experience ever, and I was holding on to toxic friendships that were ruining the friendships that meant something real to me. Starting my sophomore year of college, I had a better head on my shoulders, and 2014 is still a year I very much look back at and hope to have another year like it.

20-year-old Liz on her 20th Birthday.

Continue reading “#TBT: All About 2014.”