Challenge 2 Complete

I crafted! I made a cute little stenciled bicycle frame. It’s currently on the wall in my front room.

My new friend Tucker

I’ll admit, I got pretty nervous before going to the party. Thank goodness, I had a friend there. I met some really amazing women that were ready to celebrate their friend’s birthday in style. They had some delicious tacos and margaritas that really got the party started. The party was also mermaid themed. It was nice to meet some new folks in a relatively tame environment.

Also my anxiety prayers were answered. There was a dog there so I was A-OK to pet him every now and then when my anxiety hit the roof. This cute little guy Tucker was just as nervous and shy as me. I think he understood that, and he hung out with me a lot. He actually kept scooting closer to me and put his head in my lap eventually. Talk about feeling chosen. Guam’s boonie dogs are so sweet. I wish I could adopt one!

Step 1: Get them air bubbles out!

Anyway, I love the little bike that I made. We put on some aprons and got to work! The party runner started a business named Kraftibee doing craft parties. I was amazed at how easy it was. It was incredibly fun. I didn’t have any of the frustration that I usually get while trying to bumble my way through a Pinterest tutorial by myself. I loved that we all were laughing and having a good time. I heard some great stories and shared some of my own.

I was all nervous for no reason, as it often turns out with anxiety. Sometimes I just want to sit my brain down and say, “Honey… shhhhhhh. Stop thinking so much! You’re doing too much.”

Step 4: Dab your color choices.

I picked my two favorite colors. Teal and coral are so bright and happy. I attempted to do and ombre pattern on the flowers. We were instructed to dab the paints gently on the stencils. Then we waited for them to dry, which actually didn’t take too long. Peeling off the stencils was not difficult at all. I got the same oddly satisfying feeling I get from pulling the plastic off of a new TV.

The hard part for me was getting all the little individual pieces out from the bike spokes with an X-acto knife. I call my anxious shaky hands my jazz hands. They’re not advantageous to any task that requires fine motor skills. They’re always shaky so that’s fun. I’m okay with having permanent spirit fingers.

Finished product: Ta-Da!

There’s just something great about being in a room full of women, bonding over drinks and experiences. I wish I had gotten more pictures of the other creations, because all of them turned out amazing. Many there were also not good at art, but make beautiful things.

I’m really happy with the colors I chose! They popped beautifully against the dark wood.

It’s such a nice, bright addition to our home. I’m really looking forward to the next party.


Challenge 2

I was invited to a crafting party on base this weekend!

I’m the artist currently known as… challenged. I can’t draw, paint, or “craft” very well. It keeps my money going to home improvement and decoration stores. I have countless pins saved of crafts that I would like to do someday. There’s flower filled lightbulbs, DIY centerpieces, and spray paint reupholstered furniture ideas. I would absolutely love to do these.

However, a lack of patience and know-how keep my pins on Pinterest from ever seeing the light of day. I would like to be artistic, but it never looks good to me. I’m a harsh self-critic for someone that has no experience.

Anyhoo, the party is a birthday party. It’s gonna be tacos and margaritas and military spouses oh my! I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone in my home.

Let’s get crafty!

Challenge 1 Complete

I did it! I went to Electric Island Festival with two friends, and had a great time!

I finally got an ombre high ponytail after 8 tries.

We danced, drank, and I managed my anxiety pretty well. It was extremely packed for such a small venue. I’m glad we took the shuttle bus. It made getting there and getting home so much easier. I enjoyed myself so much! I haven’t put on festival makeup, a funky outfit, and danced to some good EDM music in such a long time. It felt good doing something that was both challenging fun for myself!

Fortunately, there were only two things that got the old anxiety going.

The first thing that got me was the fireworks. I didn’t know they were coming. Sudden loud pops over my head freaked me out. Yay, instant panic mode. I had to run away and calm myself down. That’s just something for me to work on in the future. Fireworks are cool, though. It’s just veteran problems.

Shuttle bus gang!

The second was getting continuously rubbed up against and groped by men. That was disgusting. I have been to at least 5 different music festivals in the past, wearing practically nothing. No one touched me. Why? Music festivals pride themselves on a central set of principles. PLUR. Peace. Love. Unity. Respect. At festivals I’ve been to in the past, I could get totally lost and know that anyone I turned to, no matter how messed up they were, would try to help me. I’ve been lent hoodies, phones, and been taken in until I found my group again. No one ever made me feel uncomfortable the way I had felt last night. I didn’t worry about being drugged or groped no matter was I was doing or wearing. Sure, people would check you out, but that’s where it stopped.

At EIF, I knew immediately that it was not the same spirit. The major difference between my previous festival experiences and this one? The vast majority of the patrons were military guys. I’m not sure if a ship is in, but unfortunately that does make a difference. It doesn’t excuse it, but it sure explains it. For some reason, keeping their hands to themselves and not being creeps hasn’t sunk in outside of the work place. I lost count of hands I swatted away. I also don’t know how many guys grabbed me by my waist and tried to grind on me before I pushed them off of me. I had to surround myself with girls that were fending off the same kind of people the whole time. That was pretty disappointing.

Mr. and Mrs. Mello

Otherwise, I saw some amazing costumes. People really got into the glitter. I ran into the Miles Morales version of SpiderMan. I danced with a couple dressed like Marshmello and invited some festival princesses dressed like butterflies up to the front to dance. It was really fun!

Honestly, I’m glad I did this challenge! I had some quick ups and downs, but I am ultimately satisfied with how I handled it. I didn’t freeze up when I was uncomfortable. I was pretty clear in my boundaries. I met some new people in line for the bathroom. Nothing brings people closer than having to pee. I ate some amazing octopus kelaguen. I would definitely go again, and maybe bring some ear plugs for any unexpected fireworks.

Challenge 1

Let’s dive right in to my first challenge.

I’m not shy about discussing my mental health. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, coupled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a few other things that we’ll get into another time. I have a fixation on feeling safe and un-stressed at all times. If I don’t, I have panic attacks. We’re talking the sweating buckets, racing heart, unable to breathe, feeling like the world is closing in on me kind. I end up staying home a lot and sometimes missing big events in other’s lives because I simply can’t handle the stress of being in a loud or crowded environment. Quite frankly, the panic attacks are both exhausting and embarrassing. I know numerous people around the world suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder, but in the moment it feels like I’m the only one who has ever felt that way.

You know the feeling when you have to stand in front of the class to give a speech in middle school? That sense of impending doom? You might crap your pants? You might cry? You know the one. Imagine living in that state constantly.

When I do go to house parties, restaurants, or bars, I know I come off a bit standoffish. I am that person that asks where the bathroom is within five minutes of arrival. It’s not because I have to pee, but because I need to know where I can go to panic if necessary. I also don’t really talk to anyone outside of saying hello. This is because I can’t get the words out correctly. Somewhere between my brain and mouth, the words become this jumbled nonsensical mess. I typically find a quieter corner and watch everyone have a good time. My iPhone and I get some quality time. I make a concerted effort to keep my armpits hidden, because they’re usually soaked with nervous sweat.

If a house party has a dog, I am saved. Thank goodness for dogs, they are too pure for this world. They usually know that I am scared and sit patiently with me for the duration of the party. I have closer dog friends than people friends, and that’s okay. I used to be a social butterfly. Now I’m more of a social rollie-pollie.

My fiancĂ© knows that I have a pretty difficult time with crowds, so he doesn’t push me to go out too often. We have get togethers every now and then at home. We’ll do small game nights or his friends will drop in to play video games or barbecue. I’m completely in my comfort zone there and excited to see and talk to everyone. The difference is noticeable. Once people get to know me, they realize I’m just a big sweetheart that’s a little shy. Most are pretty understanding once they know what’s going on with me and for that, I’m grateful.

So this weekend, I’m challenging myself to go to a local music festival. It’s called Electric Island Festival. I’m a huge fan of EDM and music festivals, so why not? It’ll be a little easier in some aspects. It’s going to be outdoors and in an open field. That means I can do my own thing in plenty of space. The main drawback? Strangers. Lots and lots of strangers. It’ll also be very loud. It’s my first time going, and I don’t know what to expect.

I’m already nervous, but that’s why it’s a challenge!