If you guys are true LushDolls then you’re hip to my instastory and you know that this past weekend I was able to attend the TCF Style Expo put on by TheCurvyFashionista! This was a great event for curvy content creators that allowed us the opportunity to learn through panels, grow through networking, and just have fun enjoying the fashion shows, the camaraderie and even a Pajama Party! My blog mentor APYoungBlog has been getting on me for years about getting out to more events and while truth is I’ve wanted too, my social anxiety holds me back from putting myself out there. I hope you guys will enjoy this photo overview of my trip to TCFStyle Expo while reading a little bit more about my experience as a black girl with social anxiety.
So before I actually jump into my TCFStyle expo experience, I do want to provide a little background on my struggles with anxiety. Up until college, the amount of worries and anxiety I felt in unknown situations was relatively normal. However, around my junior year I experienced some traumatic losses and fell into a deep depression. In my brain, my entire life had become an unknown situation. And even as I began to gain control of my depression, I was still left high levels of anxiety which affected the way I function - and still do. I think that my social anxiety (which up until adult hood, I had never had) is largely based on the stress of not being in control of my surrounding which leads me to have irrational fears of what will happen to me in these situations.
The TCFStyle Expo Event it is by far the largest Blogger event that I have attended even though there were friends there that I already knew, going into the event I had a very high level of anxiety with being exposed to people that I did not know. Due to various experiences in my lifetime I have a hard time trusting people that I know let alone trusting the people that I don’t. In large social gathering this always causes me large amounts of grief. These type of events include, but is not limited to, going to church, concerts, conferences, football games etc. etc.
To me this fear is completely irrational as I have never had any negative experience in a large crowd or around unknown people however my anxiety trickles over into the situations - and as well all know anxiety is a serious condition that does not just "go away".
So literally, walking into the expo with my boyfriend Phillip, my first utterance is “I’m nervous, I want to go back [home]”. And while I am saying this is a sing-songy voice, internally, in my shondo, I could not be more serious. Going into the banquet room for the Blogger Brunch, I am immediately awestruck as I spot some of my idol bloggers and I am overwhelmed with the amount of gorgeous women - seemingly social butterflies - surrounding me..
So how bad is it really?
As a blogger, being noticed is getting paid - literally. So having adverse physical reactions to interacting with new people - including but not limited to:
-Having a Panic attack
is highly inconvenient and directly effects my blogger journey. However, as my journey as a public figures grows, I recognize my need to work through this anxiety and the TCFStyle Expo was a great way to test out my sea legs!
So how do i work through social anxiety?
The first step to overcoming my social anxiety has been to recognize my limits FIRST, before I push past them.
1. Know my limits
As a blogger, a public figure, and an internet persona, I have this idea in my head of going to an event, being front and center, being photographed by the paparazzi, and basically commanding the room like Suge Avery. And every time i’ve gone into an event with that expectations i’ve ended crying in the car like a bitch baby. A part of not becoming overwhelmed so quickly is recognizing I’m not yet that person and don’t try to be. Just focus on being myself, connecting with 1 person at a time and building confidence through those smaller scale connections without becoming overwhelmed.
2. Surround myself with people who know my limits
I think that if you have (social) anxiety, its important to have someone around you in these situations who knows you have social anxiety. In this case, my love, Phillip was there to serve as a buffer for me in situations where I was uncomfortable. He hyped me up and prepped me to go out and speak to people, and most importantly he pushed me to go out of my comfort zone to make connections BUT he knew when was the appropriate time to a call time out, take a break and regroup. You want to have someone by your side who is comfortable enough to help you put yourself out there, but who knows you well enough that they don’t push you too far and force you to retreat into your shell.
3. research my surroundings before hand
If you have anxiety then you already know this is a must, BUT even if you don't you can still use this tip to help you become more fluid in social situations: Know your surroundings ahead of time. Touring the venue, being well versed in scheduled events and the key figures will help you avoid suprises that could throw off your mojo and keep you 1 step ahead of the game.
4. Set goals - and keep them!
One thing that I started doing many many years ago subconsciensly is setting goals in my head for social interaction. When I first started my business, I got a table at the flea market and I would make goals in my head like 'Okay, every third woman who walks by i'm going to say hello to her and give her my card". This is a technique I now take with me into every social situation. Once I reach my goal, I can be done, I can breath and relax and revel in the fact that I have accomplished something for the day. If I go over my goal then I can really get jiggy with it. Either way its a win win. For every social gathering that I attend I try to increase my goal a little more than the last. For the TCF Style Expo I made it a goal to give out a stack of business cards and X amount of lash samples, and by the time I did I was pooped and it was time to dip - but I had also accomplished what I came to do!
5. Attend more social events
Before I became a blogger, there was no need to put myself out there and attend social events or gatherings for the purpose of self advertisement. So, I didnt. As someone with social anxiety I simply avoided places with large crowds or unknown people and I lived happily every after. Except now, i'm a real life blogger and its meeting people and selling my brand that pays the bills - so theirs no choice. The only way I can improve my management of these situations is to put myself in them more! I'm so glad that I did have the opportunity to attend this expo because know I feel confident enough to navigate an event of this magnitude without feeling the urge to shrink away!
Despite what my online persona may display, Kayla (me) is an anxious black girl. I’m a black girl who has struggled with mental illness, and inside, i’m an awkward black girl. The first step to overcoming my social anxiety has been to recognize that, not as a flaw but as a reality, and to respect it, and continue to push myself out into the public realm.
let me know about your experiences with (social) anxiety below! Thank you always for reading!
Just an awkward black girl trying to put some RESPEK on my name. I'll be covering your anti-typical "I'm really cheap but I still want to look decent" fashion topics, and your " I only buy make-up less than 10$" beauty topics. As a business owner read about my entrepreneurial journey, and as a hopeless romantic, read about my struggles to find love . If you really real, share, comment and subscribe!
You are bold. You are beautiful. You are EVERYTHING. But sometimes our society doesn't take the time to recognize the beauty that is uniquely you. It is my personal mission as well as the mission of my business to help you and ladies everywhere maximize their self confidence through affordable fashion and beauty. Not only do I have StudioLush that provides affordable products to you, I also created this entire site and my blog so that you can grow with me through exploring the best beauty products, techniques, and your own personal styles. Please make yourself at home and be sure to use the contact form is you ever need to reach me. I look forward to our glow and growth together!