I'm shocked by how much time we all spend on small talk, when we could instead be getting to know each other on a deeper level. I like starting conversations about real issues. People have trouble opening up, so my tactic is to start: I'll tell you my secrets and struggles, and maybe you'll be motivated to share as well. I want to show that we're all struggling and we're all imperfect, so even if you don't open up about your own experiences, I hope you feel a little less alone. I also have some videos on this topic.
Real talk time, friends. For 1.5 years I've been doing electrolysis to get rid of unwanted hair. The first session was the strongest overlap of physical and emotional pain that I've ever felt. I cried for hours after, and almost canceled evening plans with friends because I was ashamed of the puffy red evidence after (spoiler: friends didn't notice). Now, I've gotten over much of the shame I had about it. My gene code for excess hair in places that our society doesn't approve of; that doesn't affect my worth as an individual. It also hurts much less than it used to, and I've found a good combination of factors that help make electrolysis less painful and more relaxing. I'm grateful that the regrowth rates of the hair are already way slower, and even more so that along the way I was forced to shed more of my shame.
I was terrified when I confessed my unwanted-hair secret, but the response was so comforting that I'm not scared anymore. I look a lot more confident in the post-electrolysis photo taken two weeks later, huh? I told my students about my electrolysis, as an example of a hidden struggle I deal with, and then those who were interested participated in a Sharing Stories activity so they could share their struggles as well.
We at Quirks Who Care encouraged people to share their mental health stories in honor of the National Alliance on Mental Illness StigmaFree campaign in May. Here's mine and here is my cousin and close friend Alina's and ours together debriefing. I invite you to share your story, in your own places or on the Quirks Who Care Facebook!
I love hearing what people do to boost their confidence. I used thinkypoint opportunities in my class to gamify learning and sharing, and I'd love to find a way to do so with my online community as well. Feel free to share your answer by contacting me!
Imposter syndrome can strike out of nowhere! I didn't get into UCSD for undergrad and my students--who did!--are so full of passion, smarts, and drive. So sometimes, my insecurities would creep up. But I've practiced fighting my imposter syndrome, so mostly my feelings are pride in them :)
I recorded this video of myself dancing to my pump-up jam Uptown Funk. It's partly pure silliness and partly a representation of what I've learned this year about how to manage anxiety and confidence issues. If anyone is inspired to make anything similar PLEASE do and send it to me :)
I have a poor memory (or maybe just too many things to remember) so I write myself a lot of notes. But sometimes I end up with duplicates due to.....wait I forgot what was I talking about? Real talk though, I think my anxiety is part of my poor memory! Too many distracting thoughts.
I don't focus as much on calories these days and instead try to chew slowly to eat more mindfully. I've been struggling with it recently. There wasn't a lot of food left on my plate but I'm glad I didn't finish it. Each successful time putting my fork down provides evidence that I can do it the next time too.
I stopped by the store after a tiring day of grad school. Extra tired means extra inability to control myself around food. I was going to get a single dessert (which would have been fine), but after glancing at the desserts, I left. Not like (the old) me to turn down food! I feel pretty in control these days. Talking about it is helping! I came home and remembered I had yummy cake from my grandma Ada. Even better than store bought. :) I reminded myself halfway through to chew slowly.
I spent the night in my childhood bedroom. It was a trip looking in my bedroom mirror and seeing a thin person, since I haven't lived in this house much since losing weight. My brain keeps going: "wait what....?" I've also gained back about 20% of the weight I lost, which further complicates the emotions.
I've always found everything relating to eye contact awkward. When I was in middle school I couldn't look teachers in the eyes much of the time. I worry about: How much eye contact is appropriate, where else to look, when to make eye contact when walking past an acquaintance in public, etc. Here's a blog post about how eye contact fuels my social anxiety.
I dream big! And hope to achieve at least a few of my big-dream goals. If anyone ever ends up having any connections that can help make this happen, help a gal out! It's one of my favorite topics and I would love to hear his experiences and insights. Please share your big dream goals with me!
For the first time in my life, I identify as a creative person. Now, I feel confident that I have unique contributions to make, so I give myself time to be creative and I have confidence that overall I'm making good stuff. I'm constantly practicing creative expression, and getting better as a result! Gaining confidence has truly enriched my life.