Updated 2019. 

Two years ago one of my old high school friends got married. It was beautiful. I’ve never seen her look so full of joy in all of my knowing her. It was a magical night to witness…

Only, you know what I was thinking about almost the entire time? I remember this so clearly.

I was thinking about how “gross” I felt phsyically. Isn’t that sad? I was unable to be completely in the moment because I was trapped in my own head being hard on myself for no other reason than I didn’t feel I “looked my best.”

I remember feeling like I had gained weight. Like my hair looked horrible. Like my skin wasn’t glowing like I wanted it too. And I was single- and everyone had dates.

 Anyone else struggle with confidence issues before big events or vacations or milestones?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and trying to find the right words to describe this circumstantial phenomenon in Girl World. I wanted to talk about it because we are fast approaching wedding and festival season.

A big thing I always think about is women going to Coachella- or any music festival really.

I imagine how many women stress hard while packing for this festival (something they should just be looking forward to as an experience) and think to themselves… ugh I’m so fat.

Or, I wish I would have worked out more before this.

Or, I’m too _______ to wear this.

I can’t pull this off.

I look fat.

I look ugly.

You KNOW this is common. So much skin is shown at Coachella. So much documentation going on. This can give a girl some serious anxiety and take some joy out of the experience. Same goes for bachelorette parties.

It sucks. And we can say we don’t care but I think everyone cares… at least a little bit. And it’s during these big events when our insecurities are really heightened!

Although we don’t have to conform to society, we can’t escape the constant pressure. And society puts the CRAZIEST pressure on us to look a certain way. Twenty-four-seven baby. Oh yes. We get NO breaks.

It’s f*cked up. It makes me sad. For women and for myself because I feel these things too.

There’s pressure to not age. Pressure to keep a certain weight. (I used to struggle with this big time.) Pressure to be in shape. Pressure to dress cool, look cool. Be cool. IT’S EXHAUSTING.

I think going to events (weddings, bridal/baby showers, vacations, etc) magnify our insecurities and force us to search for things to feel bad about. Because we know think people are watching.

We worry and worry and worry instead of just looking forward to the experience. Instead of just enjoying the moment.

A whole other beast besides the way we look is pressure to be in love. (Baby and bridal showers I’m thinking of you!) Like…if not married, are you engaged? If you’re not engaged, do you have a boyfriend? If no boyfriend, SURELY YOU ARE LOOKING RIGHT?! It’s ridiculous. What about the joys and positives of being single? Hell, I’m taken now and it still doesn’t stop!

Another beast after that: pressure to have your shit together. Both professionally and personally. Feeling like a failure if you’re not where you think you should be. Or want to be. We cut ourselves little to no slack, whatsoever. We dread people asking us what’s going on in our life. We rarely feel like it’s enough. It’s always at weddings, bridal and baby showers, etc… that we get those “life questions.”

Let’s go back to the wedding I attended. I literally hated myself for how I looked that night. Hated. Myself.

Any other regular night I may have let it go. Not cared so much. But because it was this big event, I was extra hard on myself. When I should have just been focused on the beautiful moment.

I thought of the girls who I had not seen in a long time, who would see me and judge me for not looking my best. (<—I realize this is more in my head.)

I thought of how everyone there would have a plus one, but me.

But mostly, I just felt gross. I felt like I almost wasn’t worthy enough to be there. (This room was FULL of beautiful, beautiful people. Successful people.) What was UP with me? The anxiety leading up to this wedding was so sad. I mean I can be socially awkward at times, but I do think I have a lot of confidence. Moments like this wedding, I wonder how much of this “confidence” is an act, as deep down I am just hating myself a lot of the time.

This is not a pity party. That’d be a RIDICULOUS thing to give further energy to. And I don’t want it. It’s more of a posing of the question, “Why do big events often make women feel like crap instead of completely enjoying the moment?”

Also, “why don’t we put a higher premium on ourselves as a person and on what we’ve accomplished or love passionately?”

Why does so much of it come down to looks? Or money? Or relationship status?

I’ve worked so hard to build something like The Violet Fog. I am good to the people in my life. I’m smart and well researched. I care, really care, about others. I live a fulfilling life in Austin.

So WHY do I give a shit if I ever find myself 5 pounds heavier than I normally am and my skin is acting up?

Or if my outfit isn’t “omg so cute.” ?

Or if I ever find myself single again.

Why should I care? And why does a big event heighten stupid insecurities more than they do on just your average Tuesday?

I know I can’t be alone in this. I just wonder what we as women can do to alleviate this pressure. Are we bringing this upon ourselves? Are we partially to blame?

Let’s strategize. I for one have always said that we need to stop talking about women’s bodies to other people because (1) it’s cheap talk. (2) it highlights our own insecurities, and (3) we’re making it harder for girl world by not allowing us or our fellow women to be imperfect. WE ARE ALL IMPERFECT.

For instance: Did you see a picture of Britney Spears and she looks like she gained a little weight? SO WHAT. Did you see _______’s last Instagram and her hair looks weird, she looks bad, etc etc… SHUT UP. Let’s give each other a break for NOT BEING PERFECT. Let’s not talk about how other women’s bodies in a negative OR envious light. There are more important topics.

Look, I’ve done it. (Commented on stupid things.) But since that wedding two years ago, I’ve really made a conscious effort to not speak about women’s bodies out loud in a way that isn’t productive. Not even about celebrities. I don’t want to contribute to societal expectations. I want to see Girl World get easier, not harder.

We need to let people be imperfect and NOT comment on it. We’re not ALWAYS going to be looking our VERY best. We’re not always going to be at that dream point in our career. Or be totally smooth sailing in our personal lives. So when we see “imperfection” aka real life– perhaps we should keep our mouths shut. Seriously. Even to our friends.

If people constantly talk about something, we’re going to worry more about it. We’re constantly talking about our bodies and money and relationship status’s- so let’s not. Let’s flip the script and give us some room to breathe and enjoy life.

We can do it.

Would love to hear your thoughts regarding confidence issues before big events and also what we can do to care less about certain pressures in society. Stay powerful!

Photo by the supremely talented: Katie Weinholt (based in San Francisco!)