Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An open and shut case.

I have a dress on today. It’s just a straight cotton blue shift dress. Gold headband, long gold necklace, gold earrings and gold flip flops. It ain’t nothing spectactular friends…but you’d think it was. People keep asking why I’m so dressed up and I, being the ass that I am….reply with, “I have an interview later.” It throws them off. You either get a stammered “good luck” or a jaw dropped in horror. It makes for a fun day.

What I wish they knew was that I feel super uncomfortable in this dress. It’s as casual as shorts and a tank but it is in fact a dress. And a dress around here where we all dress very casual (jeans every day) takes a little balls to pull off. A certain attitude you know?

Which brings me to the point of my post today – attitude.

Either I’ve become hyper-aware of my surroundings or my facing my social anxiety fears is showing itself in real life. It’s all about perception. I mean – the dress – I’ll walk around today and not a single soul here will know I’d rather be in pajamas. No one will know I want to crawl under a rock rather than be looked at or noticed. No one will know that I feel limited because the underneath slip thingy feels too tight. No one will know that with every step I take I’m pissed beyond belief because my thighs rub together when one year ago they didn’t. No one will know that I picked this dress specifically to hide the fact that I am 15 pounds heavier than I was a year ago. No one will know that under this dress lies a self image I probably wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

They will only know what I project. Confidence. Sex appeal. And worthiness. With my little courageous balls squeezed tightly in my hands.

I will force myself to remain open to being noticed and being complimented. I will not cringe. I will be open to – just plain people. It’s what I’ve been doing all week. Like a little game I’ve been playing just to see how life will unfold. If indeed life is different if I dare to let people in.

For example, I went to my eye appt last night – without Rambo. I rarely go anywhere alone – without Rambo. I don’t believe in myself enough to do so and I’m scared of people. I even went shopping afterwards – alone. Again – something I don’t usually do. But I went. In five inch wedges and my aviator sunglasses….and a smile. Instead of projecting a “leave me the hell alone or I’ll come at you like a rabid raccoon” vibe – I decided to not stare at the floor, notice people and make myself open.

Funny things happen. People talk back. They smile at me. They say they love my shoes. The lady at the craft store wanted to know what I was making. In Old Navy, 4 sales girls approached me. People in the stores strike up random conversations with me – about nothing and everything – and I talk back. My nail lady called my cell – GASP – and I freaking answered. Like a normal person does. Without even thinking about it.

What the holy hell?

It just proves me to how closed off I usually am. I smile – but it’s not an inviting, talk to me, I’ll talk back to you smile. I have an invisible wall up that most people can’t penetrate. Why would they want to? Life is hard enough without being responsible for breaking down other people’s walls.

Life can be a whole different ball of wax based on your open-ness and attitude and the perception you give off. I might not believe I look and feel like a million bucks but dammit I can project that I feel that way. It helps. It’s not pretending…because it’s where I factually want to feel and be some day. It’s faking it until I make it.

How do people perceive you? Do you attract smiles, people, conversations – life? Or do you walk around in walls?

Is your door open....or shut?


Dazee Dreamer said...

I am so proud of you. As hard as it must be for you, I am just impressed. I've forced myself to smile at others when I walk into places. They are usually caught offguard and then their face brightens up and they smile back.

I know how funny it is to wear a dress at work. We are very casual here too, so when I've worn a dress it freaks them out too.

Catherine55 said...

Wow!! That is major progress!! And, it sounds like you enjoyed it (and looked fab all the while). I love it!

Cat's Chic Chat said...

Hi you! Those are amazing strides. And truly - fake it 'till you make it is not a bad thing. It helps to project the person you want to be until you are able to make it part of who you are. Also - congrats on going without Rambo. I often feel the same way going somewhere without hubby or my friend or something. Good for you!

Tori said... inspire me. :) I know those feelings. I have come out of my shell over the last two years and it started much the same as the strides you are taking. Beleiving in yourself is the best thing you can do it will help you get over the social anxiety...when you can say to yourself and really beleive it "I don't care what anyone else things about me because I LOVE ME" then you will have shattered that anxiety deamon into a thousand pieces....I dare say you can be as open as they come after that.
I work a customer service job at a water company now and many many times a day get to talk to many people that I don't know. And I smile at them and look them in the eyes and I really mean it when I tell them to have a great day. :) Rocovery is possible and you are doing all the right things. :) WAY TO GO!

Dinnerland said...

Good for you, Miss thing. I am glad you are enjoying your dressy day-- and I lol'd about 'I have an interview.'
As for me: because I am the boss of a number of people, and I exude a fair bit of confidence-- a fair few think I'm bitchy. I try to give an approachable vibe, but there is only so much one can do!

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I think my door is about halfway open. I can interact well with people but I don't look open or approachable. I don't hand high stress situation well, such as dinner with my in laws. I feel pressured to make conversation and it never works out right. I feel open to talking to other but my face has always been a bit of a poker face. I was taught from a young age to wear a bit of a mask for protection.

Jess said...

I attract people's attention too....unwanted attention. I have the same wall of "please don't talk to me" but it's because I don't really like people very much. I am not scared or afraid of it I just want to be left the hell alone by strangers in a room.

Gosh, I am a mega bitch.

congrats on opening up and coming out of that shell a little. I'm sure there's more to come.

MandaPanda said...

Good for you!

My door swings open and shut constantly. Sometimes I try to be open but others, I just give up. Saturday afternoon, I went to a bbq at my hubby's friend's house. I was friendly and charming and no problem. After that, my daughter had a birthday party. I bailed and made hubby take her because I just couldn't face trying to make chit chat with all those parents for 2 hours. *sigh* I'm working on it.

Stephanie said...

Your outfit sound adorable! I'm trying to be much more open and as i lose weight, I do feel more confident, so it has become easier for me. I just hope i don't have anxiety again in chicago!!

Beth Ann said...

My goodness, you are becoming a whole new person!! It is amazing to face your fears in such a brazen way. I love it!!

PS_Iloveyou said...

Awesome! You should post a pictures of your getup so we can see how awesome you look! (and of those wedge shoes, sweet!)

You're doing great! I'm a huge believer in fake-it-till-ya-make-it. Soon you'll be strutting your stuff and not thinking about thighs and slips, and pjs.

Have FUN!!

Ice Queen said...

Girl, you rule. And your outfit sounded completely adorable. Except for the flip flops. I am one of those people who think that flip flops have no place at work. *is stogy* lol

I walk around with my nose in the air and a wall six feet thick around me. It is far easier to be unapproachable, to be called a cold, stuck up bitch than to risk allowing anyone to get close and possibly hurt me. If they only knew that the cold, stuck up bitch is filled with marshmallow and fears rejection more than just about anything else on Earth. lol