I knew this tour was going to be the biggest journey of my life.
For years, I’ve come up with reasons not to be alone with myself. If I structured my time, I could be alone no problem; a 10-minute meditation written into my morning routine? Great! A two and a half hour drive home from a gig? No problem.
But anytime I ended up with space to rest, with time I hadn’t carefully manicured into my schedule - I panicked. I found anything and everything to fill my time, from eating a bowl of chips to going to see a show: It didn’t matter what it was, I just couldn’t be alone.
On tour, you can’t structure your time. You can’t plan. I’ve ended up staying in different houses than I’d planned on. I’ve meandered into cities I never knew existed and spent time with people who have changed my life. These aren’t things you can put on your agenda.
The lack of control, the new faces, the sporadic sleep and unpredictable food, the adrenaline of performance, and the hours alone I’ve experienced could easily have turned into an abrupt shattering of my stability. Instead, I chose to hold this experience as a platform to catapult me into the version of myself I’ve always dreamed of.
HOW TO CONQUER ANXIETY:
As a teenager, my anxiety, depression and paranoia were so severe that I isolated myself and often couldn’t engage in day-to-day interactions. Heading into my 20s, I hardly went to my own gigs by myself; would stay home rather than risk someone seeing me parallel park terribly in the city; and only tried new things when someone else would go with me.
The more I took people along for the ride, the more I developed a sense of co-dependence; I reinforced the idea that I couldn’t do these tasks on my own. This past year has held a lot of transformation in this area, but with more room still to grow, I didn’t know how I would handle this tour: Would I curl up under blankets on my friends’ couches? Or would I adventure into new cities for the experience of a lifetime?
I am so happy to say I’ve stepped up: I’m driving into busy cities, parallel parking like a boss, asking for directions, and meeting some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met by striking up conversation in a bar. With each of these experiences, I’ve stepped even more fully into my power.
1. SIT ALONGSIDE YOUR FEAR - NOT INSIDE IT.
Being WITH your emotions and being IN your emotions are two very different experiences. When we say, “I am anxious,” versus “I feel anxious,” we’re identifying ourselves as that state of being, as though it’s a part of who we are.
The reality is, emotions ebb and flow, and our being does not. Separating from our emotions is such a powerful tool: It reminds us that while we can’t control the external circumstances of our lives, we get to control how we feel and react.
Our emotions all serve a purpose. When we're in the throes of anxiety, it can be hard to remember that fear is here to serve us. The fear center of our brains is a part of our evolution, and sometimes that fear center doesn't realize we're safe without it, that the threat it perceives isn't really a threat at all.
Instead of fighting that fear, we're going to do something radical: We're going to thank it, and send it LOVE.
The goal of sitting alongside your emotions in this way isn't to relieve yourself of them: It's to bring down the intensity of them so you can work through your experience from a space of feeling centered, empowered, and connected.
Try it out, and let me know how it works for you by sending me a direct message on Instagram!
2. MAKE A DEAL WITH YOURSELF.
If you're trying something that bring up anxiety, not all parts of you are going to be on board - that's why the anxiety comes up!
Make a deal with yourself so all parts of you feel nurtured, i.e.:
"I’m going to challenge myself to drive into the city, and if after 10 minutes I still feel panicked, I’ll leave."
"I'm going to commit to walking one mile on the treadmill, and if after that I still want to leave the gym, I'll go home."
What agreements leave you feeling aligned?
BOUNDARIES ARE SEXY:
Let’s be real about it: I have had some pretty f’ed up interactions in the past, and I attracted those into my life. The more negative interactions I had, the more I reinforced the belief that I deserved this style of treatment, that this is what love looks like.
Before beginning the tour, I was excited by, intrigued by, and anxious about the boundaries I would need to set. On the tour, I've learned what my boundaries are and what I'm looking for in the people I hold in my life - and it has been LIBERATING! Let's talk about the hows:
1. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
I had to take a long, hard look at why I continued attracting those toxic connections into my life for so long, and here's what I came to: I didn't believe I was enough.
Not only did I draw in people who reinforced that idea, but ultimately, I wanted a distraction. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't sit alone with myself. The underlying cause of that was the belief that I fundamentally was not enough. The idea of sitting with that belief, with that truth, felt so unbearable that I would rather have experienced the pain of external relationships than experienced the pain internally.
Once I came to that, I brainstormed what boundaries I would need to hold to create that space to be with myself. For me, important boundaries have been: Keeping designated work hours on my phone (I'm not reachable between 8pm-10am y'all!); turning my phone on airplane mode at night; reserving one night a week for zero social interaction; etc.
2. ATTRACT THE PEOPLE YOU WANT
Start with a brainstorm: What do your dream relationships (platonic, romantic or otherwise) look like? What qualities do your people hold? What are their values? What do they NOT like? What do they look like? What do you want to experience out of these interactions? Give yourself the space to daydream without judgment.
From there, navigate how you feel with these relationships in your life. Write this out in the present tense; really picture yourself holding that experience.
"When I'm with my friends, I feel invigorated."
"My friends bring out the best version of me."
This will give you clarity on both what you ARE looking for, and what you AREN'T. When you're not sure if someone is a good fit in your life, think about this list: Is this person invoking the experiences you're attracting? If not, see ya later, alligator! Let that person go to make space for the amazing connections you deserve.
HAPPY CONNECTING, BEAUTIFUL!
[Please note that I am NOT a licensed practitioner. Consult a licensed professional before implementing any of these tips to your self-care routine. If you have any concerns for your safety, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255]