BUILD A HEALTHIER FOUNDATION FOR YOURSELF
CREATOR OF STABILITY
MARKETER + ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR
I met Rebecca through work at a marketing agency. She’s an account person extraordinaire who moved to New York from San Antonio. She always had a voice in her head that told her she should be in New York one day and she's never looked back. I sat down with Rebecca to talk about anxiety and learned that the key to dealing with it is giving yourself a foundation of stability.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TEXAS AND NEW YORK?
My grandmother and I would call it “Yankee Bullshit.” It’s like the snow, the cold, the lack of manners and superficial things really. In any city I’ve ever been to everybody is doing the same thing. They’re all living, they’re all working, they’re all going to dinner, and they’re all paying bills. It’s not vastly different in any city. Like the scenery is different like when you’re walking around New York and you’re having a bad day, suddenly you look up and you’re looking at some amazing building. You get that in New York, not everywhere else. In Texas you’re driving 80 mph on the highway because no one else is on the road. You’re paying significantly less in rent and you’re family is there. It’s not vastly different.
I FEEL LIKE PEOPLE WHO COME FROM THE SOUTH ARE MUCH NICER. DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BECOMING MORE OF A NEW YORKER?
Yes. I use “proper manners” because that’s how I was raised but it comes across at condescending. Sometimes it is but when you’re from the south you use your manners even when you’re upset. So I get that a lot and people don’t understand it. There is a truth to that though. Southern manners are kind of fake sometimes. Like when you say “bless her heart” it doesn’t really mean something nice. In New York the people aren’t necessarily rude, they just don’t have the same vernacular when it comes to what they’re speaking about or their feelings. As far as becoming a New Yorker, I’m quicker. I say exactly what I mean, like if I don’t have time for you, I will tell you.
DID YOU EVER GET ANXIETY FROM MOVING TO NEW YORK?
Yea absolutely. I left San Antonio in 2010 so I was just this downtown kid. Then I traveled. I traveled for so long that I didn’t know how to be in one place and form relationships again. I didn’t have an apartment for two years; I didn’t have a closet, so things like that. So when I moved to New York, it was like learning to be stationary again in this big city. So I didn’t have a chance for New York to overwhelm me because my lifestyle change was enough. But I do remember six months into it is when it caught up with me. I would go to work in the morning and watch the train go by and then I’d watch another one go by, and another one and I just couldn’t physically get myself on this train. By the end of it I was sweating and telling myself “you’re going to be late to work. You need to go!” So I just shoved myself on the train.
“I think that you’re given exactly what you need when you need it.”
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF ANXIETY?
It’s that feeling of your chest caving in around itself like you can’t even pull your shoulder straight to correct your posture. That is the base definition of it for me. As far as a working definition, mental health is a sliding scale. Everybody starts in a different place so you’ll find yourself in a different place everyday. I don’t think that it’s a debilitating issue. I think that if you have a debilitating issue that there’s probably something else that’s going wrong. But it’s that sense of agitation or attrition. It’s that.
SO WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST ANXIETY ON A DAILY BASIS?
People chattering or people being anxious or panicky in other situations. I don’t respond that way. If somebody is like that I level out, I keep it monotone. If I’m the first one popping off and being the annoying like Chicken Little then there’s something absolutely wrong with the situation. Usually it’s everyone else first. So it’s when somebody else is acting out too much in that capacity. That gets to me. I don’t confuse annoyance with anxiety. They’re not the same thing.
SO DOES IT MATTER WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT?
If it’s not like useful stuff. Say like we’re having this conversation and someone else is wanting to be part of it but nothing that they’re saying is contributing to it. Like they don’t have a place their. That’s them being anxious to be included in a situation that they may not need to be included in. I’m in my head a lot so if I’m not being careful and I’m not managing the time I spend alone with the time I need attention or need to be social, it’s going to happen. If I’m not taking care of my health or if I’m not eating enough or drinking too much it’s going to happen because I haven’t done something to maintain my level, my cool. So then you get that feeling that rises up from you.
“you’re the only person in the world that you can remotely control so why are you going to talk shit about yourself. Plenty of other people are going to do that for you. Don’t do that yourself."
WHAT DO YOU DO TO OVERCOME ANXIETY?
You use the whole gamut. You pray to god of whatever works. I’ve gone on medication before and I’ll do a 4-6 weeks but that’s it. Use the smallest period of time and during that time I do things like make sure that my house is clean. I make sure that my laundry is folded. I give my self any ounce of preparation I can to make my life a little bit easier. Sometimes it’s withdrawing from any social circle I’ve committed myself to. So I’ve done things like that for long periods of just not being cool with the world around you.
SO IS IT ABOUT HAVING MORE “ME TIME?”
Yes and structure. Like giving yourself the foundation and stability. Spend that 4-6 weeks creating your own stability so when you’re ready to step back out and resume all your normal responsibilities, you’ve given yourself a leg up in preparation.
DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF?
Yea I do. I’m real proud of myself. One thing and I don’t know where I learned it from but I know that I learned it very young is that you’re the only person in the world that you can remotely control so why are you going to talk shit about yourself. Plenty of other people are going to do that for you. Don’t do that yourself. I don’t say mean things about myself. I say honest things about myself and if I’m wrong in a situation I’m going to own it. But I don’t feel this feeling of “I’m not worth enough” or “I’m not good enough.” If anything I’m arrogant and a little conceded and I think that’s what’s gotten me by. I’m that way because I didn’t ever start putting myself down.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO PEOPLE ON HOW TO LIVE A MORE CREATIVE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE?
I have an easier time with meaningful because it’s purpose based and my purpose in life is to be this solid person. Someone who gives back – a whole person. That’s meaningful to me. I think people confuse creative and artistic. Artistic is you have a talent, you have a skill. Creative is that you let your mind work. You can solve your own problems. I think that’s an important one to realize. I can write and I can read very well and I can probably add some artistic talent into that but if I didn’t have that artistic talent, it wouldn’t mean that I’m not creative.
Watch the full interview here: