Overthinking. We all do it and we all hate it. If you could give me a big red badge to put on my t-shirt that reads WORLDS BIGGEST OVER THINKER it’d be quite fitting, because sometimes I really believe that is what I am. For a while now I’ve been questioning myself, thinking into my own habits, wondering: Do I care too much about what other people think about me?
It all started when I noticed somebody who I follow and regularly engage with on Instagram decided to unfollow me – I wondered what the last straw was, what made her hit unfollow? In hindsight, she unfollowed me in November which is definitely when I was going through a weaker phase and she probably just didn’t want to stick around to see my boring content (which it was, lets not kid ourselves), and the reason really wasn’t that deep. But oh it was. To me anyway. As I sat scrolling through my own feed trying to pinpoint where it was all going wrong, and well, it didn’t take me long to notice that I stopped pushing myself at some point last year and accepted the middle ground I’d settled into. Basic backdrops and headshots galore is what my feed had become, and when I came on my blog and noticed the same pattern – I was utterly disappointed in myself.
This is the thing though, it took me caring a lot about what someone else thought of me, of my content, for me to take a minute to self evaluate, to try to realise what it was even I didn’t like about my own content, there was something wrong and I knew it for a while.
Then I stumbled across a YouTube channel with a woman who is fiercely independent, she started the #AdvancedSelfie trend and shared her tips and advice on photography and self portraits, her name is Sorelle Amore, and she also inspired one of my most liked Instagram photos of 2018.
As I watched her being carefree and completely herself, it hit me that the problem wasn’t necessarily the fact that I was looking for an excuse to self critique and give myself a push to buy a new camera and a better set up, but the fact that I was just caring too much about what people think about me. I won’t say strangers on the internet because as much as that is true, this boils into my daily life as well. I think I’m a bit of a chameleon you see, I don’t like disagreeing with people and I don’t like debate. I don’t like someone thinking I’m this or that, and it’s been making me miserable.
I think I’m a very opinionated person, and I’m also born in the latter end of the 90’s which kinda? makes me a millennial – which means I’m more forward thinking than the people I work with who are approaching 50 or have even passed that point, and it also means that to a point, I vastly share the same opinions as those who read my blog and follow me on social media.
I often listen in on conversations around my workplace simply because it’s hard not to and I realise that the bubble that I’m sitting in on my own is quite lonely. You see, I’m no longer the youngest in my work place but I am the only female in her 20s in my workplace. I don’t get to sit and have a gossip, talk about pop culture and why I think Angelina Jolie is amazing with a like-minded twenty-something. I don’t get to talk about how I think it’s a good thing that people are more body positive nowadays and that getting your cellulite out is empowerment. Because those who aren’t in my age bracket, generally, they don’t get it. Not where I am anyway.
So I’ve become a chameleon. People will strongly voice their opinions and what they think about my generation, and then ask me what I think. I’m a lazy person and debate isn’t something I can be bothered with. Whilst I don’t care about Megan Fox raising her sons to be gender neutral, because they’re not my sons and as much as I wish I was, I’m not Megan Fox, I think it’s a good thing that little boys nowadays are more likely to be raised without being forced to be emotionless bricks, but if I stated that as an opinion, that I think it’s a nice thing to do – I fear the worst. I’ll get a) shut up and b) dismissed as just another millennial.
I’ll then spend all night wishing that I’d just said, yes I think it’s ridiculous. I’ll spend all night thinking about the look on the person who asked for my opinions face. I’ll try my best to make it up to them by making snotty comments that I don’t mean for the next three weeks and hate myself for it.
But as much as I’m talking down on myself: This has become a thing of the past recently. Aha! Yes. I gotcha. I’m not being whiny for the sake of it, because I’ve begun to make changes to this mentality. To quit it. To be myself. To disagree when I want to and to take action when I need to.
The first thing that I did to open this fresh book, this new chapter in my life, was to remind myself that the people that matter the most to me in this world, the most valuable people in my life, are those who are within my head space. Those who I can have conversations with on a similar wave-length whether we agree with each other or not. The people who I care the most about won’t dismiss me as just another millennial – and I don’t care about other peoples lives that don’t affect me whatsoever. I obviously mean that in the nicest possible way. If something tragic happens I can offer my sympathies and whatnot, but in the grand scheme of things, a lot of the people I know in the real world aren’t people I’m living for.
So, with this revelation in mind and sudden urge to make a change to everything about myself, it hit me that I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about the look someone gives me when I give a younger opinion, I don’t care about the old men and staring at me in the street as I set up my tripod and DSLR to shoot some selfies (true story: when I was shooting the photos for this blog post, an old man stopped in his tracks, got off his bike and watched me for a good five minutes. awks), because I’m not doing this, blogging or living, for other people.
What I write, what I say, how I dress, the opinions I pick up and the people that I associate myself with – it’s all unapologetically me. This has resulted in a somewhat accidental new years resolution, I suppose. It’s unexpected but I’ve become so sick and tired of feeling small, that I’ve started to take it out on my content a little bit – and it’s actually working out for me better than I expected.
So here’s to a new me. I’ve set myself some personal goals that I want to reach this year, and to carry on pursuing for hopefully the rest of my life. I want to do things because I can, because the only person for all of this time stopping me from expressing myself to my true, full potential, was the insecure goblin inside my head!
The first steps to overcoming my insecurities was actually to start self shooting in public. After I began taking my photos in public, getting used to awkwardly posing in front of a bunch of strangers, I realised quite quickly that if I can not care about people watching me, a twenty-something doing the most typical twenty-something act of all: taking selfies, then I can act my age.
You see, when it comes down to my confidence and my body, I feel like I’m there. I’m willing to go and get waxed and take photos of myself wearing period-panties for goodness sakes, which to me is quite funny to see the contrast between my body-confidence and my mental confidence. The next step is to start expressing my opinions when the time comes. To say when I honestly, really don’t care about what some celebrity is doing or to express my political opinions, whether they’re social or government related, without the fear of someone older than me thinking their opinion is above mine, because they’ve literally lived on the planet only thirty years longer than I have.
To be honest, the opportunity hasn’t crossed my path yet however I do find myself constantly debating with my other half about the on-goings of the planet and social changes, we disagree a lot and we agree a lot, because that’s normal.
The only person who is living my life, is me. The only person waking up inside this body every day and going to bed inside of it every night, is me. I don’t want to live a life where I’m not being completely true to myself in the most public ways. I can write and write and write about my opinions and my thoughts and takes on things, but it can only go so far. The real world needs a taste of what I’ve got to say too.