Anxiety sucks. We know. So many of us are crippled by it–ESPECIALLY when trying to create the projects of our heart. Anxiety does a pretty awesome job of stifling every aspect of our creative process. It’s that little voice inside our heads that we just can’t seem to shut up. But Felicia Day is here to say, “Stifle no more!”
In her newest book, Embrace Your Weird, Day will help you explore your passions and enjoy more self-expression–despite the pressures of the world weighing you down. With revelatory exercises and practices designed to help readers stand up to their fears, this read will leave you feeling empowered.
Felicia Day has gone from popular actress and web series creator extraordinaire to influential self-help author. Find out why by reading an exclusive excerpt from her book Embrace Your Weird below!
Hey, you know what’s awesome?! Feeling like we’re drowning in the panicked emotions of our own out-of-control body after the slightest stressful encounter with the outside world! It’s SO fun to lie in bed afterward, sleepless and sweating, as we brood over what happened, positive that a ton of people now despise us! SUCH A FAN OF THIS STATE OF BEING!
Real talk. Anxiety is the great enemy of my life. My Sauron. (Scratch that. Make it my White Witch. At least she had some fashion sense.) It has silenced my voice in so many ways, and sabotaged my dreams over and over again. At a certain point, I assumed, Oh, I’m just broken! At least I know myself now! and I surrendered to the fact that I would never be able to represent my creative work in public as well as I’m able to in the privacy of my own home. (Guys, I sing Boston’s “More than a Feeling” so well in the shower, you can’t EVEN.) In part, I am writing this book to tell you: I was wrong to give up on myself. There is always hope. There is always a solution. And there is NEVER a good reason to give up on YOU.
Awkward group hug.
Like powerlessness, anxiety is a larger umbrella issue that can encompass way more of our lives than just creativity. But it’s able to encompass ALL aspects of our creativity. What a douche of an overachiever, right? It can attack us at the beginning, middle, or end of the creative process. Prevent us from starting. Cause crippling doubt in the middle that makes us want to abandon ship. And strike us with terror after we finish as we think, What I made is so very very terrible. It’s an underlying cause of a lot of the issues discussed later in the book. Have a creative block? Anxiety is DEFINITELY behind it somewhere, ten layers deep, lurking in a fancy conference room, wearing a very expensive suit, muhahahaing its little heart out. It’s like the Illuminati of Enemies! Why does it torment us this way?
In order to be creative, we need vivid imaginations—to imagine the impossible, to invent new ways of seeing the world. The flip side of it is that when we’re anxious, we’re able to use that creativity to imagine all the BAD things that could happen too! Yay! Every bad consequence, terrible rejection, and awful outcome. The more creative we are, the more awful fodder we can come up with to trigger our anxiousness. Awesome/awful, right?
Ironically, the fear that anxiety activates in our brains is also its fuel too. “Oh no. My anxiety is here. I’m afraid. Crap, that just made me more anxious. Which mademe more afraid. HELP! I’m caught in a recursive tornado of feelings that I’ll never escape and there’s nothing I can do about it! TOTO! TOTO!”
The truth is, there are plenty of things we can do about anxiety. We just have to figure out what works for us, individually. And everyone can start with the knowledge that . . .
WE ARE NOT OUR ANXIETY.
It’s easy to accept anxiety as a part of who we are instead of separate from ourselves. I did for a long time. “My name is Felicia. I start to hyperventilate every time I’m in large crowds. It’s just part of my adorable quirkiness!” Nope. We need to believe firmly and state with a slightly badass edge: “Anxiety is wholly separate from who I am! We are not together. Not dating. Not even hooking up. End of story!”
The “believing anxiety is part of who we are” trap is one reason we’ve spent so much time building a new, authentic Hero-Self. To establish a baseline of what we TRULY want and what we TRULY feel when we create. When we have a solid, authentic creative identity, we have a much better chance of separating ourselves from our anxiety when it pops up. “Why am I feeling this sense of doom as I try to write a sonnet to my parrot? This definitely doesn’t feel like it’s coming from my true Hero-Self!” It isn’t! Parrot sonnets are universally joyful! By making ourselves understand this fact, deep in our guts, we get on the road to extracting anxiety from our lives. (The fact that anxiety is not who we are, not that parrot sonnets are joyful.)
Excerpted from Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day. Copyright © 2019 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.