Dear Anxiety, I wish *we* had surrendered sooner

I refer to my experience of anxiety as “we”: my anxiety is not solely due to me, and I am not solely due to my anxiety. I am accountable to myself and deserve to operate at the highest level of productivity and service to others. That’s why I’ve done the work on my own and with my clinical counsellor & coach to manage my anxiety.

It’s been exactly 2 months since I arrived in Chiang Mai and it’s taken me this long to realize this day, like all other days, is a perfect day: wake up, morning training, hustle at cafe, afternoon training, and evening Thai massage. I am living my dream: Travel Train Create.

I reflect bittersweetly on how I wish I had realized this sooner; this is an exceptional life and I’ve been missing out on appreciating it

I write this with the type of blood flow that rushes between your eyes and nose to create tears — the happiest kind.

Dear Anxiety,

I wish experiencing you wasn’t so distracting. We tend to distract me from appreciating life’s little, beautiful, and precious moments. We tend to make a thing a thing when it isn’t a thing, and any given thing harder than it needs to be.

I wish we didn’t make me question myself all the time, even when I genuinely felt happy and confident being vulnerable to others. As an artist, you and I spiralled a little bit when I read an article written by someone in my field criticizing people in our field. The dude doesn’t even know I exist and he wasn’t even talking about me, but somehow we connected it to me, as we often make things all about me or make a thing a thing when it isn’t even a thing.

I wish we didn’t paralyze me with financial insecurity and blow up the mere backup plan of asking my family for support into “being a failure”.
Note: I’ve got a lot of Leo and pent-up-Asian-child pride which makes it hard for me to ask for help. I have another essay coming soon that offers a sound argument and perspective as to why a young/first-time entrepreneur or artist should be willing to ask their parents for financial support if necessary.

We’d make my body respond with insomnia and chest tightness at bedtime, and I’d wake up feeling exhausted. With my eyes barely open, deep down I knew that despite the sleepiness, I could easily get up, go to training, and perform just fine, as I’ve done many times before.

But you and I would create fear and imagine the worst kind of suffering one can experience through practicing a sport. On top of my exhaustion, those imaginations were enough to make me fall back asleep and I missed a few morning sessions last week.

I wish you didn’t take the form of what I call “gym anxiety”. Basically, we’d create “performance anxiety”, causing me to take myself too seriously before and during training. My muscles and breathing would be too tense, my senses too aroused and over-stimulated, and we’d make executing the movements than they needed to be.

Today, I had the best training session ever despite only 4 hours of sleep last night.
My sparring partner, who has been sparring with me since I got here and has had two professional fights told me that today was the best she’s seen from me. On the pads, my muscles and breathing have never felt so relaxed and my technique never more on point. I could feel and hear from the sound of the smack the technique sinking into my body. I attribute this to:

(1) The lack of sleep (disclaimer: I strongly advise against deprivation and rarely get fewer than 7 hours/night) lowered my arousal – translation: I didn’t give many f*cks because I was busy getting out the door and walking to the gym half-asleep instead of imagining or overthinking what I expected today’s session to be like. I didn’t take training too seriously; I let it happen.

(2) Realizing & accepting yesterday that with my financial situation, productivity, and upcoming fight, whatever will be, will be.

Today I realized that I’m only 24 & I want to enjoy being a girl in her 20s instead of constantly worrying with #anxiety about the future. While I’m young I want to enjoy solo travel, taking sexy photos, hanging out with girlfriends, dishing about boys, making stupid mistakes & regrets, sleepless nights, and looking dumb/silly.

I have everything I need, here & now, and I’ll keep getting wiser &  stronger.

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Sexy vs. bloopers 😜 Girl-with-anxiety talk: Today I realized that I'm only 24 & I want to enjoy being a girl in her 20s instead of constantly worrying with #anxiety about the future. While I'm young I want to enioy solotravel, taking sexy photos, hanging out with girlfriends, dishing about boys, making stupid mistakes & regrets, sleepless nights, and looking dumb/silly. I have everything I need, here & now, and I'll keep getting wiser & 💖 stronger. S/o #realone @jennmdubbss who suggested I share bloopers which is what I've been wanting to do foreva! We met 4 summers ago when I interned in Palo Alto & bonded over the makeup 💋💄counters. Fang knows how to blow it out of the water with her gaze #intended. – 📸@herlifeinpixels #singlegirladventures #asianappreciation #swimsuitmodel #sportsillustratedswimsuit #bts #photoshoot #poolside #digitalnomad #digitalnomadgirls #solotravel #mentalhealth #girltalk #womenempowerwomen

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I’ve made peace with you and what you’re trying to tell me

As a fiery Leo, I frequently get annoyed at myself. I got annoyed at how it took me awhile to appreciate this adventure. I could have started my fight camp sooner if I wanted to. Why did I let you make me think I couldn’t?

Anxiety, thanks to the work I’ve done to heal us, I forgave myself and forgave you. Like my binge eating disorder, all you are is a survival instinct and protective impulse. I understand that you’re constantly operating from a place a fear, because that’s literally what you’ve been designed to do since that time my species would casually see tigers on the daily.

You will always have a home in me. But listen, let’s make a deal: let me live; live life to the fullest. while you’re busy protecting me from anything that can threaten my existence, we need to let me actually live, which is the whole point of why you’re even here in the first place. If you stop working so hard at your job and let me do my job, you’ll get what you want.

We’re going to crush it out here. And while we’re at it, we’re not just going to survive, we’re going to f*cking thrive.

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