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By Andie EmersonPublished 3 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - December 2023

Am I the embodiment of fears and insecurities? Are my actions and inactions solely based on beliefs rooted in my olden days?

There are things that can make my everyday quite chaotic, but are just hardwired within the confines of my psyche and to my grave they will follow...

The endless lists and reminders spread across rooms and rooms because what if I forget to water that one plant that needs way too much liquid and it dies a slow, painful death and then people inquire about my weekend and I have to confess to whoever wants to hear it that I am a murderer?

The mishandling of priorities. Late for work again and there I was, bare feet in the bathtub cleaning up those window screens. "Hey boss, sorry I'm late, I got distracted. I'll be out the door in a few minutes," hitting send with my left thumb while my right hand is meticulously whitening the dining room's baseboards with a fresh coat of paint. I'm technically working, right?

The tendency to complexify simple tasks. But why add it to the list when you could do it now? Because making a phone call while brushing your teeth is just not efficient Andie.

The complicated relationship with stagnancy. Forever will my limbs be restless and sitting still often feels uncomfortable (who am I kidding, it feels horrible)–Chaira Sutra : 137 positions will be available soon.

Chaira Sutra : 137 positions

This is just how my brain is programmed. There is nothing wrong with me, I am not troubled, this is just who I am and how I function. And I accept that. Most of the time. Okay fine, I'm still working on it.

When social anxiety rules your life, you learn to embrace it.

The once daunting task of entering a busy shop and having to make my presence known when all the wounds wanted my being to seep through the floor cracks, then forgetting how to speak when face-to-face with an unenthused barista (or worse, a cute one)... has become an almost natural act with only a few misplaced words and a hint of faltering voice.

A few minutes of dispute between anxiety and desire for connectedness, for the latter to finally win. I find myself walking up to the bar and taking a seat right next to a stranger (because what is there to lose besides a few minutes of intense awkwardness and a few hours of dissecting every word I said?), curious to hear the story of their solo self in the midst of clustered people.

When perfectionism rules your life, you unlearn it and embrace authenticity.

Decades of scrutinizing my bones, flesh and skin. Decades of stacking up flaws, heaps and deficiencies by comparing with other physiques. Decades of demeaning self-talk. Decades of body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria are no joke. And just recently was I able to appreciate my physical host and admire the incredible strength and capabilities of our somatic selves.

The superego, assessing the unworthiness of my creative skills meant years of work not pushed forward into the public eye. And now there they were, parts of my mind scattered onto a piece of wood, hung on the wall of a busy brewery. A cheers in, and I am stepping into the unknown, making my way toward a mother and her grown-up kid, inviting them to share their thoughts on the creations of local artists.

A good chunk of my belief system has become irrelevant, yet it still lingers.

Sometimes my inner critic takes over ; it criticizes, judges, belittles me and every now and then I believe it. I still dread some public appearances. I still sabotage relationships and opportunities. I am still afraid of change and stepping out of my comfort zone. But now I trust that it does not define me.

I doubt there is a way around it all ;

it might just be the human experience.

And I am leaning into it.


About the Creator

Andie Emerson

Queer. Awkward. An anxious wreck, but firm believer in self-work.

Authenticity & progress over illusion & perfectionism.

Makes a living working in home improvement.

Can draw, write, take pictures... their brain cannot stop creating.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (12)

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  • Manisha Dhalani3 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this, Andie. Social anxiety can be tough but we have to find a way that we can work with. Take care.

  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    You will make it...and I need to learn those positions! Top Story, indeed... 🏅

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Superb work! Keep it up—congratulations!

  • DEUXQANE3 months ago

    Something I learned from a book I read called "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron about perfectionism was that perfectionism isn't about pursuing the best, but seeking the worst in us and trying to destroy it. It's a mindset of putting out fires, constantly. And when I hear you write about your body dysmorphia, I can relate strongly. I've been up and down the scale in weight, and only now have I learned to use love as the vehicle to get me where I want to, rather than self-punishment and self-deprecation. Rooting for you in the sidelines. The road is endless.

  • Kageno Hoshino3 months ago

    I adore everything written in this story.

  • Caroline Jane3 months ago

    Your openness is utterly disarming and completely endearing. So much of this reverberates with me. That's the thing with social awkwardness it hones awareness until it becomes laser-like. This is wonderfully insightful: When perfectionism rules your life, you unlearn it and embrace authenticity. Feeling that all day long. 🥰

  • Catherine Nyomenda3 months ago

    Everything written in this story sits well with me. You spoke to me, I loved how authentic you were. This is commendable work.

  • Spark to Shine3 months ago

    I adore this! I can connect to that because I battle anxiety myself. Congratulations on your story!

  • Rene Peters3 months ago

    I love this! As someone who also struggles with anxiety, I relate to it so much. Congrats on top story!

  • Natasha Collazo3 months ago

    This was very well written. And so accurate my friend. I too live with that beast. ❤️ And when you said “ unlearn” and “ lean into” those are two of the biggest healing tools my therapist gave me. We create things in our mind, and our brains have the power to uncreate it. Embracing it, not fighting it. 👏 A deserved TS

  • Melissa Ingoldsby3 months ago

    I love your idea of authenticity rather than perfect, great job

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Terrific work! Keep it going—congratulations!

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