Fake it ’til you make it. The mantra is repeated by therapists, self-help gurus, your mom, and your friend who shops exclusively a fair trade boutiques. And if you’ve ever been through adversity, trauma, uncertainty, etc., you know the mantra well and you also know that it is true. Without going into detail (I’ll save that for another day), I had a triggering event a few days ago that left me a bit out of sorts (which is a phrase I absolutely love). I began feeling that shaky uncertainty and anxiety that I was all too familiar with. I like to call that feeling “Anxious Mc-Shakerton”.
It is all consuming and manifests itself in many ways both mentally and physically: insomnia, irritability, anxiousness and shaking (delightful!) I felt A-McShakes creeping around the margins of my self-consciousness over the past week. But I was able to hold him off (Oh yes. Anxious Mc-Shakerton is most definitely a man. Because…of course, he is.) A.M. does not show up for professional issues or challenges. If I do say so myself, I’m very adept at handling those. Oh no, A-McShakes is a tricky bastard who likes to seek out a latent personal trauma or insecurity and on a random Sunday pounce on me. For example, A-Mac will say things like: “So you know how you were sexually assaulted? You know that makes you a broken person, right? No wonder guys aren’t interested in you.” Thanks, McShakes. Ya bastard.
McShakes has been an inconsistent bedfellow but when he shows up, he goes “hard”. Kinda like Kobe in his prime. (RIP Kobe’s knees). He had a starring role in the 2013-2014 season of my life. By mid-summer 2014, McShakes had toned it down a bit and I felt him leaving the area to go on vacation. A few months ago, he started texting again. He would hit me up every couple weeks with a “You Up?” and I successfully responded with “New phone. Who dis?” and kept moving. And I had been great. McShakes wouldn’t get me this time. I had mastered the art of “faking it ’til I make it.” I was trying new things, making new friends, and working out regularly. Take that, A-Mac! I got this!
And then over the past week A.M. came in “hot” and knocked me out while I had my guard down. I had been feeling good, confident and strong and then I started writing a post that will eventually become a freelance piece (fingers crossed, y’all). The more I wrote, the more I realized that I hadn’t properly dealt with a traumatic event from college. At the time I didn’t have the language to explain what had happened. I laughed it off. I ignored it. And I moved on. Or so I thought. Just when I thought I’d get out of 2015 feeling generally happy with my life. Turns out Anxious Mc-Shakerton wasn’t prepared to miss an opportunity to jump all over my self-conscious and bring a few fun physical and emotional manifestations with him. Thanks, McShakes!
Here’s what I’ve realized about Mr. McShakes. He doesn’t go away. He’s always there. I can only hope to contain him and live my life as the best, most well adjusted version of myself I can. How do I do that? First, faking it until I make it. And second, taking care of myself. There is no magic formula. There is no silver bullet. There is no cure. Much like Beyonce and Jay-Z, I’ve got Anxious McShakerton. He’s not exactly my boo (or”bae” for the under 25 crowd). He’s more like an annoying cousin who you’d rather not deal with but you have to because he’s family. He’s not going anywhere so I need to work hard to control him. And once I’ve calmed him down, he can grab a magazine, shut his mouth and have a seat in my self-conscious next to Body Issues-nia and Worry Warty. (I know. Those names are trash. I tried, okay?)