Tag Archives: anxiety

Easier Now

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All of my life, I have struggled with the fear of becoming overweight again, because as a child, I suffered immensely from being the chubbier kid. I wasn’t confident, happy, or satisfied with my quality of life. This is not to say that if you are confident or happy at this size or any size, you shouldn’t be. I just know that, in my experience, I spent so much time, too much time, agonizing over how I could be different and how I could be better. I just couldn’t see the beauty in myself. Something destructive had stuck with me and had no intention of letting go. At such a young age, those kinds of feelings have a deep imprint on your soul. I know they did on mine. But this time around, at 21 years old, as I am not overweight but still trying to keep in shape and stay healthy, it’s easier. Everything seems….easier.

I’ve noticed the change. I’m not looking in the mirror as much, grabbing at the visible fat on my sides or tummy, or scowling at the figure that stands before me, disappointed by what I see. She’s a beautiful person and she has carried me through 21 years of life, 21 years of experience, growth, love, failure, and triumph. She is the portal in which I have navigated the plane of life and she is the woman I will be until the day I die. She will change, physically and mentally, as she moves forward, but there should be no reason why I should look upon her with judgment. Her body has been through injuries, sickness, heartache. She’s fought through loss, anxiety attacks, hurt. I no longer look upon her, the body that housed and loved me, like she is wrong and needs to be changed. I’m guiding her in the right direction, a healthier path and state of mind.

I’ve grown to adore this changed perspective towards my body. I’m not judging myself like I used to. I can look in the mirror, smile, and know that that smile is genuine. I do love myself, and I love my body. There will be times when I come down on the beautiful girl in the mirror, the one that looks back at me and reflects the life that I’ve been living and the experiences I’ve gathered, but I know that those times will be fleeting, and will not house themselves permanently within the corners of my mind, waiting for their next moment to swallow the spotlight. Self judgment is no longer welcome in my heart and I’m determined to keep it that way. From here on out, everything feels… easier.

xo Amanda Cramer

Mandirito.com

Introducing Phil Barnes: The Interview!

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Today, I was honored with the opportunity to interview a local talent, Phil Barnes, a musician that I had recently seen on the “Stripped” Tour which was launched by one of my all-time favorite bands, We the Kings. He has performed alongside some equally talented artists, including but not limited to Austin Mahone, Kelly Clarkson, and Jessie J! He has not only performed hundreds of shows in his time as a musician, but he has also managed to build his success from its very roots while still remaining humbled by his journey to stardom…. er…. more like stagedom.

If you’d like to check him out, navigate to PhilBarnesMusic.com for updates on future concerts, to access his online merch store (the shirts are pretty nifty if I do say so myself!), and much more. Without further ado, here’s our one-on-one interview.


Mandy: “What got you started on music in the first place? Was it a skill you developed from watching someone else, or was it something you pursued on your own?”

Phil: “I watched some of my friends pick up the guitar when I was around 13, and I thought, “man, this is SO cool.” So I got one soon after and started watching YouTube videos of artists I loved then taught myself the chords they were playing.”

Mandy: “At the time, which artists were you looking to for that extra push to move forward in your music career?

Was there a specific genre of music that guided you into the musical direction you’ve found yourself in, or were there several that compiled into your current style?”

Phil: “I’ve gotta tell you, I’m looking to a lot of my friends. Emily Kopp and Wes Harllee are fantastic songwriters and performers who I’m lucky enough to have in my phone book. Mainstream-wise, I look to Ed Sheeran for his grind, John Mayer for his musicality, and a ton of hip-hop acts for phrasing. I think hip-hop acts, along with jazz-cats, have incredible concepts of timing and word placement. I try to bring those elements into my side of the field.”

Mandy: “So your music is essentially a compilation of all of those elements, brought together in a single style. The fact that you’re surrounded by so many talented people must be such an incredible motivator to continue to advance your own musical career, but it can be intimidating at times, I’m sure, to be standing side by side with artists that have been established for many years prior to your own career.

How do you personally maintain your confidence in the ever-changing, growing music industry?”

Phil: “It can definitely be intimidating. But as an artist, you get the immense liberty to be yourself and I think as difficult as it may be, it can be reinforcing to know that you get a stage to be yourself on. That time on stage is my favorite part of the day. And the confidence just grows as you keep on. Being in front of a mic starts to feel like home.”

Mandy: “I commend you for having such a strong presence on stage. That was part of the reason I enjoyed your performance so immensely last night at Culture Room during the “Stripped” Tour. You manage to exhibit your personality in such a genuine way, which is difficult to do, especially if you’re someone like me who finds being on stage to be a daunting experience.

How did you overcome the initial jitters of being on stage?

What was your first experience as a musician in the spotlight like?” 

Phil: “Ah, thanks! First experience on stage… wasn’t much of a stage as much as it was the corner of a Starbucks. Haha. But I was as nervous as could be. Shaky-voice, shaky-hands and all. But I got through it and people still wanted to come out to another show. I think what builds confidence is just continually doing something that scares the hell out of you.”

Mandy: “Transitioning from a Starbucks to a venue like the Culture Room is such a massive step up. We all start somewhere though, right? It must’ve been a dream to be able to display your talent in such a large-scale way next to none other than We the Kings.

What has your experience with touring been like?

Do you have a favorite venue that you’ve performed in so far that you’d potentially want to return to?”

Phil: “Exactly! The manager, Patti, at that Starbucks was so kind to let me set up my gear and do that. Touring has been a blast – there’s nothing better than getting to see a new city or hitting a new coffee shop every day and getting to meet new fans so often. If I get a little extra time before I show, I try to visit a restaurant that the folks at the venue are raving about it hit a coffee shop for a bit. There’s a venue up in Nashville called the Listening Room that I always love to play. Great crowd. Great room. Great sound. And I’ve gotta show love for the Culture Room. Such a cool spot and I’ve seen all of my favorite artists there.”

Mandy: “I could imagine that getting to visit new cities is a major plus as a musician, especially getting to meet your fans! It must be so humbling for you.

How would you say touring has affected your personal life away from music? What are the pros and cons of being on the road?”

Phil: “It’s definitely an adjustment being on the road – but I feel very comfortable with it as of right now. I really enjoy being piled up in a van or flying solo in my Ford Focus, as odd as it sounds. Haha. Not so much a con, but sometimes it’s tough to get used to a super, super tight schedule when you travel. Every so often, we’re grabbing two hours of sleep after a gig and driving 12 hours to the next one, straight into load-in and sound check. For the pro-side, my girlfriend goes to the University of Alabama, and since the majority of my touring is currently through the South, on the off-days I’ll shoot over to Tuscaloosa and spend some time with her. That’s definitely a plus.”

Mandy: “Thank you so much, Phil, for taking some time out of your day to answer my questions! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors as a musician and look forward to hearing more music from you in the future! Keep doing what you love, and the opportunities will continue to follow! Thanks again!”


I hope you guys enjoyed my interview with Phil Barnes! If you’d like to know more about this incredible artist (I insist you get on that), go ahead and give him a follow.:

 


 

xo Amanda Cramer

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The Personality Fluctuation of an Anxiety-Ridden Student of Life

Ready, Set, Done! – A Response to the Daily Post prompt

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It’s strange.

I feel like I am a different person every day, or maybe every other day. One day, I will be confident, persuasive, extroverted, rambunctious. The next, I will be reclusive, introverted, perfectly happy surrounded by nothing more than my drawing tablet, cup of coffee, and my laptop on full-charge playing some Ingrid Michaelson as background music. How does this change? How do I transition between two completely different phases, two personalities that could essentially house two different bodies but instead cozy up to each other in this one individual: me?

Some days, I am pained by the glance of strangers, while other days, it’s perfectly easy to return a smile, strike a conversation. On the days when I don’t wish to return the favor, I can feel their eyes burning into my cheek like they’re branding me with their look. I can actually feel the blood rush to my face, rising and burning like flames under my skin. But when I smile back, there’s mutual acknowledgement, and the glance is dropped. Something about people avoiding elongated eye contact… At these points, I feel like I reversed the reaction.

There are days when I enjoy the spotlight, basking in the glow of my accomplishments. And then, on the opposing end, there are moments when I hope to god that no one mentions that I was the culprit of something, even if it were a wonderful thing. The pressure to perform on these days makes me feel like a seasoned actress.

The weirdest part of it all is that I’m never really too sure which personality will be more dominant each morning I wake up. I accept them both lovingly though. I adore my extroverted, loud-and-proud side just as equally as the less showy introverted side I possess. I believe it all really depends on the anxiety I experience on a day to day basis. When its grip isn’t as strong, I’m more outward and upfront. There’s no barricade preventing me from projecting myself. But this isn’t to say that on the days I prefer being alone, I am generally anxious. Anxiety certainly contributes though, at least to some of these days. I have to wonder if the anxiety I experience is what maintains my ambiversion, or if naturally I am comprised of elements from both sides that sometimes just separate more distinctly on specific days.

Anyone else feel like they’re housing two opposing personalities in one body sometimes?

Do you prefer one side over the other?

Collegiette Clue-Ins: 5 First-Hand Realizations About Making the Big Move to Off-Campus Housing

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Since the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was a dormy. I had the little shared room, which later turned into a little non-shared room, but still, it was a dorm. A dorm is a dorm is a dorm. This goes without saying, but dorms do not accommodate free-flowing space and the habitation of one person, let alone two. If it weren’t for the experience, I would’ve kicked the idea of living in a furnished closet to the corner, but that exhilarated Freshman inside of me begged to be confined by these bare white walls and the concrete-esque mattress of this twin-sized board they called my bed to embrace the independence, cooperation, and infamous struggle required as a newly instated collegiette. Now that I’ve gotten past that horrid phase in my college career, I’ve branched to what I had long considered the unknown: school-affiliated apartment housing that is off campus. Yes, I’ve finally done it, the big thing. So to kick off this semester of new beginnings and unexpected struggles, I would like to reiterate the realizations I have made as a campus outsider looking at the whole big picture of my housing experience.


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1. You never really understand how much space you’re missing out on until the moment when you arrive at your first real apartment. I can legitimately breathe in here, deep breaths!  I can extend my arms in both directions, stretch real hard, and not touch both walls. I can smell the freedom, and for once, it doesn’t smell like dirty carpet or an unkept common area. I think that’s exciting! Excitement is actually an understatement. It’s invigorating. And not only that. When I enter my room, I’m not already standing in front of my bed, nor do I have to kick and shove things aside to be able to close my door. I have a good amount of feet before I even come close! I could tell it was a blessing when I unpacked my belongings and the room did not induce a stress-related panic attack.

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2. I finally have a mailbox that isn’t a P.O. box. It’s an ACTUAL, real-life MAILBOX, guys. I never realized how irritating it can be to have a P.O. box when I want to order samples of products (Yep, it’s a new thing I’m trying out, and yes, I promise I’ll include all the details when I actually receive said samples!). A chunk of them won’t even let you if you’re unlucky enough to have a P.O. box, and it’s not really like I had much of a choice coming in to decide where I wanted my mail to be dropped. Having an actual mailbox gives me the freedom to be the scavenger I am for online deals. It’s a win-win. I save money and companies get another (hopefully) happy customer that may or may not consume based upon happy sampling (or sad sampling, if the product makes me break out even more so than my skin does).

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3. The walls are, in fact, still thin. Queue the “boos” and other groans of discontentment. If someone turns their head in the building next door to me, I can hear it. I guess I wasn’t really expecting thicker walls anytime soon, but it was worth the hopefulness. But now, I have the added benefit of creaking floors and creaking ceilings from my neighbors above my apartment romping around, doing what they do on a Wednesday night. However, don’t regard this as a complaint. I am madly, deeply in love with the new apartment I call my home. It really is a home. There’s not a single part about it or my residence community that makes me feel like I’m in confinement.

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4. I’m a rent-paying adult. Ew, adulthood. And I have to pay my rent on time. By a deadline. Like everything else. It’s one of those realizations that only begins to hit you when you’re filling out the check, dotting the “i”‘s, and carving in that finalizing signature. It’s not like the thought hasn’t grazed your brain before, but being the individual that the deadline addresses…it’s so odd. Dorms force you to pay basically upfront. There isn’t a monthly payment that needs to be issued, so the thought barely crossed my mind. I could fill my brain with all of my other obligations (which happily accepted and inhabited the space). I was a little overzealous this month, paying my next month’s rent 10 days before it’s actually due, but I’m an anxious person that knows for sure that I’m going to trip over myself one month and realize that I have yet to pay my rent. So here’s a toast to the overachiever in me, and although overzealous me will get over this next step up, the daunting signs of adulthood that are looming upon me will put me back into this strange little worried state. It takes time to become accustomed to backpacking my responsibilities.

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5. Shuttles are convenient. So convenient. TOO CONVENIENT. The claim is that they arrive every 15 minutes, but….I guess…..15 translates to 45 in a conversation between bus driver and the average punctual, logical, time-telling-and-comprehending student. If you don’t have a car, and you can’t find a friend with a car, and you have free time to wait for an hour before your class to ensure that you get there. And you can’t possibly walk, and it’s not urgent, and the class is optional, and it’s not an exam day, and you don’t mind sporadically rubbing up against strangers, and if you want an arm workout from holding on to the bars too tight while you’re standing in the middle aisle in the hopes that you don’t come crashing through the emergency exit when the driver makes a sudden stop. So….yeah. Shuttles are….convenient. They’re great, if any of those reasons are applicable. But don’t take my word for it. Take them for a spin. You’ll enjoy every sweaty, anxious moment that accompanies this intimate experience. 

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What did you come to realize when you moved off campus?

Leave a comment below! 

10 Things That It Would’ve Been Really Cool to Know Before I HAD to Know Them

1. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER. I can’t stress that enough! I was devastated when my computer crashed, but luckily, I was able to back some of the most important stuff before the hard drive was replaced. Please, for the love of all things, do yourself a favor and back up your important document at least. I’m surprised my hair didn’t fall out from the combination of Final’s Week, a broken computer, and online exams that I couldn’t take on my own laptop. Just no.

2. Wear sunscreen for the sake of wearing sunscreen. I know it’s sticky, uncomfortable, messy….blah blah blah. I’ve heard the excuses. But you know what else it does, besides drive you crazy? It protects your skin. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to my skin to look like a leather purse when I hit 40. It’s some good advice, especially for those of us who are lucky to live in the Sunshine state. Protect it!

3. If you like a vegetable, don’t question it. Just eat it as much of it as you can. As a kid, I never used to like vegetables, just because they were good for me. But now, for some unknown reason, not only do I like vegetables, but I’m kind of obsessed with broccoli and lima beans. I eat them like candy. I am not questioning this, and neither should you. Stay healthy, my friends.

4. If you feel pain when working out, give it the time to heal. This may sound self explanatory, but working out on a pained muscle is like expecting a computer to update when it’s shut down. It just doesn’t make sense. Like you, I always want to be instantly gratified. I want things to just magically get better, but I also know that most of the time, that gratification won’t come soon enough. Just sit on it, but please, if it’s your leg or foot or something, do not do this literally.

5. Don’t buy clothes that don’t currently fit. You see this gorgeous dress, right? But they only have the size below yours. Bummer, yes. But should you make the spontaneous purchase in the hopes of it being a good choice, and a goal piece? Hell no. Do not do that. Unless you’re already on your way to a slimmer figure, it’s best to just buy for your size. Wear and buy what feels right, not what will feel “right” in the future.

6. Coffee is the blood of the gods. In high school, or at least the beginning of high school, I kinda just laid low on the coffee front, mostly because I was afraid that it would have the same effects as red bull. Crazy right? But you can’t blame me. Red bull gives me all kinds of shakes and shudders. But see, once I discovered coffee….the sunshine of my life came crashing through my eye balls. I could finally stay awake FOREVER. Hours upon hours of applying my energy to whatever I want or whatever I need to do! It’s hard to believe that this realization wasn’t in my grasp sooner!

7. If things don’t go exactly according to plan, or they blow up in your face, learn to take a deep breath. I could’ve used this advice in the instances before in which I had no control over how I felt BECAUSE I was stressed. See, it’s easier said than done, but once you know how to keep your cool when times get tough, it’s smooth sailing. I’m learning an relearning this every single day as a sufferer of anxiety, but it’s given me perspective that allows me to move forward effectively.

8. Magazines can’t tell you what you need to look like. If you’re comfortable in your skin, good for you. Most of us aren’t, and sometimes I even struggle with this still. It’s important to realize that the images portrayed in magazines ARE NOT REAL. I repeat, THEY ARE NOT REAL. They are images that have been idealized. Look at them like they’re art, but do not look upon them like they are what you should be. Not even the MODELS of those images look like that! THEY can’t even measure up to their OWN standards. Be you, because you’re hot and fabulous. But seriously.

9. Discouragement should make you work harder. People will shoot their discouragement at you like bullets. Build a thick skin, and when they think that you can’t do something, gladly prove them wrong. They don’t know who they’re messing with, but I know you can show ’em.

10. Life gets better. I know it may not seem like it. Car broke down? Boyfriend or girlfriend decided that it was time to call it “quitsies”? Exam grades bombed? Life feels like it’s constantly taking headshots and not giving you any time to retaliate? Life does get better. It may not seem like it now, or tomorrow, or the next day. But it WILL. Inveitably, something will happen that will put the ball in your court. Get ready for it.

I hope you guys enjoyed my 10 pieces of advice! These are the little things I have accumulated throughout my own life that have given me perspective for my future endeavors, and I thought they could come to use, maybe, for someone else. I REALLY hope they do.

Do you have any of your own advice?

Daily Writing Prompt: Write about a condition you suffer from. How do you combat that condition?

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We all get nervous for monumental events in our lives, but the nervousness that I experience on a day to day basis is more than just that. It even has its own classification from general nervousness. My condition is identified as social anxiety. Sufferers of social anxiety, like myself, often get nervous in social situations, whether it be meeting a new group of people, speaking in front of a crowd, or even going to classes in which they feel like they don’t “associate well” with their peers. There are situations that I cannot control socially, and I think that is part of what keeps my anxiety alive, as well as situations where I don’t know what to expect. I think about how others perceive me, and the majority of the time, I’m thinking they’re picking me apart. It’s a normal thought process for me to feel this way, so I’ve tried to just roll with it in the past to avoid blowing it into much larger proportions. Unfortunately, though, always feeling like people are judging you isn’t a great feeling. It often leaves me feeling like I can’t hold a conversation, maintain eye contact, or meet their friends. It’s awful.

Many people think that anxiety isn’t a real issue, and that it’s an excuse for an introvert to avoid socialization. That assumption is ridiculous. I would never choose to experience uncomfortableness in social situations, and I would never in a million years choose to avoid certain social situations if I were always comfortable. If I always felt comfortable and ready to socialize with others, I would never be home. I’d always be out doing something with friends and taking on new experiences. But right now, I’m easing into new experiences one chance at a time. I’m trying to get myself more comfortable. I’m trying to overcome this anxiety before it consumes me. Many of my friends say that I’m one of the most extroverted people they know, and actually, that’s part of the way I deal with my anxiety. In order to get myself more comfortable in new social situations, I tend to bring out my more extroverted side so I don’t end up sinking through the floor. It’s something I’ve learned that I’m able to do, despite the anxiousness, so often people don’t even realize that I suffer from this condition.

Part of my personal journey battling social anxiety is combatting it through my Youtube channel that I created recently under the username, “Mandirito”. On my channel, I do tutorials, vlogs, and other videos that invite viewers to see into what I do on a day to day basis and allow others to get an inside look on my personal thoughts, experiences, hobbies, and opinions. I had been wanting to do this for a very long time, and this year I had finally worked up the courage to just do it. It’s part of my willingness to come out of my shell in a more public way.

It’s important to realize that there are so many people out there that suffer from the same condition that don’t let others in close enough to see it. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be taken seriously when confronted. Be sensitive to each person’s battle, because we’re all fighting one, one way or another.