A Year of Growth

When I first met Shay he told me I'd change one day. I was twenty when we met and in reality up until the moment we met, I'd never been myself with anyone before. This year has been a constant internal struggle with myself and a lot of it has involved my job and the people and lifestyle that comes with it. I was always really good at pretending to be happy. I've never enjoyed social activities and have always found it easier to be miserable going to them then to have to deal with saying no. A huge part of living in LA and working in the blogging community/influencer market involves going out and networking. I don't go out. I don't network. The idea of coffee with someone to just talk about things they are half listening to is terrible to me. I don't eat normal foods and I like to be home. It's not a quirky little attribute about me that's supposed to make me seem relatable - it's real and it's honest. 
I know that social media has had this big craze this year regarding anxiety and being awkward. It's been romanticized and now suddenly everyone has it. What we all seem to forget though is there is a spectrum and it's so immense on how severe and how specifically it affects every person individually. I get uncomfortable going to crowded places. I get quiet once I'm around more than two people. I hate pointless conversation and I feel like I'm broken because I can't function the way everyone else is. 
My job has given me some really great opportunities. Opportunities are something everyone waits around for and when you're in this field and everyone is raving about specific chances and their benefits and their glamour; you feel obligated to agree and just exist. Am I able to be good at photography even though I'm not good with being around people?? 
I got invited to shoot in Vegas next week for this reward show that every blogger is yearning to go to. If I were to tell anyone I shoot that I'm going, they'd immediately find me "cooler" and think of how "lucky" I am to have this "opportunity." I genuinely get invited to these things with the notion that it is a gift to me to be invited because it's such a spectacle and everyone in the industry wants to go. 
I don't want to go. I've never been to Vegas. There's millions of humans in Vegas. Vegas is the stomping grounds for everything I don't do. There's strippers and gambling and partying and drinking and dressing in something that doesn't look like gym clothes. Shay would never go to Vegas and I would have a panic attack around people who wouldn't understand what the big deal is. It's clear to me and to anyone who knows me; which to be frank is only Shay; that Vegas would never be an option for me yet, here I am. I'm more anxious about saying no to something that everyone would call me crazy for then to go to a horrible anxiety filled universe of miserable happenings and work through it.
I'd be miserable if I went. I'd show it. I wouldn't be able to do my job well because I'd be that uncomfortable and there's no way to explain this rationally to another human being. So I feel bad about who I am and what I don't want and how I can't just be normal for a few days or hours. And so the process goes; the inner turmoil, the constant wishing to be something I'm not. I spent all of my life faking it; faking the idea that I'm this type of person or that and knowing that I could mold into whatever anyone wanted me to be. It's easier for me to do that miserably than it is for me to say no and to just choose happiness. 
This year has been scattered with these same decisions. These choices of what to do; be normal and unhappy or be myself and truly exist? It's been a process of trying, failing, giving up, trying again, failing, saying no, feeling sorry for saying no, giving up. It's endless and it's exhausting. I'm exhausted and I'm frustrated and I'm learning to change and grow up. I'm not going to Vegas. I know I'm not going and I know I have to tell my client no. I know it'll set me back a few steps and make me feel bad for being myself. I know that even though I know the answer, I'm still questioning it. I'm still trying to be someone to make others happy and it's hard choosing your own happiness over just calm waters and content lives. 
I'm fighting with myself and I lose myself so often. Shay fights for the me he knows and most times I'm so blinded by these fears I fight him on the facts. There's no real end to this thought. There's no real way I'm meant to conclude these paragraphs. There's a solution but it has so many variables and hurtles and I'm not done jumping over them yet. I'm just in the middle of it right now. I'm in limbo with who I was and who I am now and who I'm going to be. I'm constantly scared of who I'm going to be and if I'll make the right decisions to get there. I'm constantly tired and sad and scared and angry. 
I'm in limbo; in my mid twenties; growing into the adult I'm meant to be. 


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