This post will be discussing insecurities. But first, I want to catch up with y’all! We are now in week eight or nine of our lockdown in Texas and I honestly feel like I am starting to lose my mind. I am a homebody, but it is getting ridiculous. I have not been inside another building beyond my own home for two months. Everyone is home ALL THE TIME.
Our dogs are even going stir crazy. We have not left them alone in the quiet in weeks. They do not know what to do with themselves because our schedule has changed so drastically during this time. To make it worse, we moved into a new house right before lockdown. So, they are in a new environment and then everyone is home all the time. I was in better spirits when I talked about lockdown before (you can read here), but I am definitely ready for things to return to normal. Thankfully, we live in Texas and we are starting to open back up again…slowly.
In My Head
What did I come here for today? Well, this lockdown has given me a lot of free time that I have not ever really had before. With that free time, I have been reading and writing a lot more. I have been taking time to just journal and reflect on things more. That has been good and bad for me at the same time. It is good because it has helped me unpack (I really hate that term but could not think of anything better) some feelings and thoughts I have been having lately. It has given me some clarity on things; things that I want and things that I need. But, I can also become obsessive when left to my own devices for too long. I can just keep thinking and thinking about things until it puts me in a bad head space.
Circumstances like this lockdown are a perfect storm for me when it comes to the more available time there is to just sit and think. Now, about two months in, I cannot make myself busy enough to keep some of the more negative thoughts and feelings at bay. Now, this is not depression. It is me just scrutinizing myself for everything I am doing. My insecurities have come to the surface and wreaking a bit of havoc in my head.
I have had insecurities most of my life. I am significantly taller than most girls and physically bigger than them too. Growing up, I was also taller than most of the boys. I was also insecure for some reason for the fact that I was good at sports. It did not keep me from doing my best in sports, but when it became known that I was better than most of the boys, it was all over, and I was picked on and made me insecure about my skills.
Then, I was fat in high school. No, seriously, I was fat. My family has big people in it. But, after an injury, I was put on Gabapentin, Tramadol, and an anti-depressant…at 16. So, I blew up; I was wearing a size 28 when I graduated high school. I also went to a DOD high school in Korea. Nearly all of the kids in the school were military dependents. Staying in shape is a pillar of the military community. So, most of the people I went to school with were relatively healthy.
So, I gained the weight, and every insecurity you could think of. But then, because of the meds, I did not care at the same time. So, even if anyone was open to not friendzone me in high school, I was not very receptive of it. But, honestly there probably was not any of that going on because I was a target for ridicule for most of my time in high school.
Now, my main insecurity is just not feeling like I am enough. It can be not feeling accomplished enough; not doing enough to make my parents proud of me; not being smart enough, not pretty enough…you get the point. I have had a lot of extra time to listen to music lately. That has helped with my mood and help me deal with this new schedule we have been dealing with. But that same music I have loved listening to has also triggered some insecurities.
Girls in Songs
I listen to a lot of different types of music. I LOVE country (especially old country), and like classic rock, pop, punk, alternative, metal, R&B, Latin, dance, etc. My Spotify is rather interesting, I will not lie. But I have been listening really hard to a lot of these love songs. They are very much mood boosting and make me happy. But, I realized that not a single one of these women in these songs (especially in the music videos) are like me.
All of these women are gorgeous, and I look nothing like them. Most are petite or average height, skinny and have long straight or wavy hair. And many are blonde. I am ~6 ft, broad shoulders, gifted in the bust and rear and have very curly nearly black hair. But it is not all about their looks. It is also about the way they carry themselves. There are so many songs about women who just light up rooms, or somehow get attention of the singer just by smiling or dancing or whatever it may be.
I Could Go On
There are so many examples I could list here. Especially from the music I listened to in high school. But, the point is that so much of the music I enjoy talks about these gorgeous, amazing women or the videos have these free-spirited women in them. I have known for a while that I am not like them, but I have been thinking more about it lately, and I have to work through it.
How to Deal With These Insecurities
Now that I have identified the fact that I am insecure, I need to work through it. I know my weight is something I am insecure about. Thankfully, that is something that I have at least some control over and can address. Here are some other things I can do that should help me with my insecurities. If you have similar insecurities, this might help you too!
Start Acting Like Those Girls in the Songs
Since I want to be like the girls in those songs and music videos, I need to just start acting like them. This means that if I wish I could just not care who sees me act goofy then, I need to just be goofy and not care. I have spent so much of my time worrying about what others think of me. I might have to force myself to do it for a while to break myself out of the box I made for myself. But, I would like to think that eventually it would become second nature.
Now, I am not going to do anything I do not want to do, nor am I advocating for people to do that. But, I have lost count of the number of times I have so badly wanted to just be goofy around my hubby or friends, or want to dance around in public because a good song was playing, or even dance at a concert and stopped myself out of fear of being judged.
It is kind of a sad realization that my hubby has not even really seen all of the sides of my personality. We have been together for almost 12 years and I still struggle with letting loose and being goofy with him, especially in public where I am fearful of others judging me/us.
I know how self-centered this sounds. So many people could not care less what others are doing. They have so many other things to worry about and are going about their own lives. But, when you are ridiculed as a child where every move you made was more ammo for the bullies to use against you, you start to think that everyone else is looking at you under a microscope waiting for you to do something wrong.
I also grew up as a military brat and it was made clear to us all that our actions affected our military parent’s career and reputation, so do not mess up. So, we all literally were being watched at all times, especially while living overseas. Not all the kids took that information to heart though. So, I would do what was right to not get in trouble, then be ridiculed for that as well. I could not win in childhood.
While it has been years since I have been in those environments, I am still trying to get myself to realize that no one really cares. That is a good thing!
Take a Dance Class
I have been thinking about taking some kind of dance class again for a while. Dancing with the Stars used to be a favorite show of mine and I love the idea of trying Ballroom or Latin dancing. I think it would be fun. But our budget has not allowed for it. And I am terrified of being judged or ridiculed by others; something I need to get over.
I went to Zumba classes in college that I enjoyed very much. But, the studio I went to closed and we have not been able to afford my going to classes anymore. But, there are online Zumba classes and other dance classes that look interesting. So, I think I will give those a try again soon.
Moving my body and slimming down will help me feel better about myself. That alone should help reduce my insecurities.
Looking back, I regret that I did not continue dance lessons through puberty. One reason is because I might not have gotten injured or I might have rehabbed better with dance or strengthened up better because of it. But, it is also because of the fact that I was not full size when I was in dance. I quit dance lessons when I was 9. We lived in a tiny town in Missouri and there was only one teacher and she seemed to be doing VHS lessons herself. By 11 I was about as tall as I was going to get. I was just under 6 ft by 14. The taller I got, the more insecure I got because I was so much bigger than everyone else.
But, I think that taking dance throughout adolescence would have helped with my insecurity. Dance would have helped me feel comfortable moving my body and not feel so self-conscious about it.
My primary love language is “Words of Affirmation”. I beam when I get a complement. No, I did not write this blog to go fishing for complements. Because even though I love complements from people, I do not always take them well. When I am feeling very insecure, I will probably view the complement as someone feeling sorry for me. But, in my healthier mental health days, a kind word can make my day.
I love when my hubby gives me complements. But, I especially love when he writes me notes. For any special days he knows that all I really expect is a card with a not written in it. I love that reminder of how he feels about me. That is also when he reminds me of what it is he loves about me too.
When I feel insecure, I need to communicate that to him so that he knows what I am feeling and thinking. Again, this is not to fish for complements, but to let him know that for a little bit, I might need a little bit more attention or words of affirmation from him.
Being aware of my feelings and needs is a good thing. What makes it even better is to be able to communicate it well to my hubby. He has no way of helping make things better if I do not communicate with him well. I expect him to communicate with me, so, I need to do the same. Just talking it out can help me feel better too.
When I start to feel insecure, I find myself not just aspiring to be like the girls in the songs, but I compare myself to them and basically any other woman out there. I am embarrassed to admit that I have looked up people I went to high school with just so I can compare their lives to mine now. That so rarely has made me feel better though.
Teddy Roosevelt (one of my favorite Presidents) said, “comparison is the thief of joy”, and he is so right! I know this from experience. When I am so focused on comparing myself to others, I focus on what I do not have or what I have not accomplished. I should be focusing on what I do have and what I have accomplished.
It Isn’t Biblical
God knows each and every one of us. Jesus said, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30 NIV). We are all meant to have different callings and different skills. If we were all the same, things would be boring. To compare yourself to others is to insult God and what He has given you.
Christians are to work hard to learn new skills and earn accomplishments to better themselves. They do not do this to be able to compare to others (Galatians 6:4-5). The fact that they have accomplished something should be reward enough. Taking pride in being better than someone else is not right. This is something we are all may be guilty of though.
A Lot of Work to Do
This lockdown has probably done me a lot of favors. While my insecurities have surfaced again, it actually is a good thing. Maybe I can actually address them and get over them instead of ignoring them. Not worrying about those insecurities will be a freeing experience. Just imagine how much more time I will have by not sitting and contemplating what it is that makes me feel bad. When I let go of my own personal insecurities, I should be able to live a happier, more fulfilling life too!
Know When to Seek Help
Just like anything with mental health, each person is different. I write about topics that are important to me. I share my struggles to hopefully connect and help others. At the moment I do not feel like I need to seek professional help with my insecurities. But, if you feel like you are overwhelmed, do seek help from someone. Find a friend of family member you trust that you can reach out to. If not them, try a minister or a mental health professional. There are many different options out there to help you work through your feelings. Just know that you are not alone. It will take work, but it is worth it!
Most people struggle with insecurities in their life. It is good to be able to point them out and address them in a healthy way. Different insecurities require different ways to address them. I simply shared my experience and what I think will help with my insecurities. It might help you too! The best advice I can offer is that we all keep in tune with our thoughts and feelings, pray often, and treat ourselves and others with kindness.
What have you done to address your insecurities?