Raise your hand if you have social anxiety? Whether your hand is raised or not, I’m sure you have experienced similar feelings. This was my reality for as long as I can remember. During my childhood, I went weeks without saying a single word to anyone because I was terrified of judgment—yes, even from my own family and close friends.
Growing Up With Social Anxiety
As you can imagine, I was severely bullied throughout elementary, middle, and high school for being the “awkward, quiet girl” who never spoke. It’s not that I didn’t know how to talk, trust me I did, but I couldn’t do it in public. It was difficult for me because I had so much to say, but was terrified to say anything. I’d call myself “Hannah Montana” because in person I was really quiet and shy, but when I’m alone I transform into a care-free, confident person. However, it wasn’t until I discovered glitter that I had the best of both worlds.
Finding My Love Of Glitter
In 2017, I attended RuPaul’s DragCon where I purchased my first ever glitter gel from Elektra Cosmetics. I wasn’t much of a makeup gal at the time, but I figured I’d try it because it looked pretty, fun, and everyone else was wearing it. Not to mention that I spent over $200 on glitter gels—I know, but here me out. When I first put it on, I felt right at home. Not one person batted an eye at me despite the chunks of star and heart shaped glitter on my face. I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in my life I felt free.
Not one person batted an eye at me despite the chunks of star and heart shaped glitter on my face. I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in my life I felt free.
What Wearing Glitter Taught Me
After that weekend ended, I took the overwhelming feelings of self-confidence and acceptance I had gained and tried to sprinkle them into other aspects of my life. In order to re-create these feelings, I decided to wear glitter gel everyday. While it might be a lot for some people, it’s exactly what I need to feel powerful, fearless and beautiful. I’m basically known as the “glitter girl” everywhere I go, as you won’t see me without some no matter the occasion. I don’t see anything wrong with that, but that’s besides the point.
As soon as I dip my finger in the glitter gel and swipe it on my cheeks, I feel like a new person. The sparkles give me this overwhelming sense of confidence that I can’t experience from anything else. In a way, the glitter acts as my ‘shield of armor.’
When people stare at me when I’m wearing glitter, I assume it’s because of the glitter and not anything I’m doing. As someone who has anxiety, usually if someone looks me in the eye, I automatically think they are judging me in a negative light.
While those might not seem like big shifts, for someone with crippling anxiety, any ounce of self-love and compassion really goes a long way.
When I walk down a crowded New York City street with my glitter and two people turn around, stare, and then whisper, I think to myself, “They must love my glitter as much as I do.” I don’t mean for that to sound arrogant in any way, but it goes more to show how I’m not as quick to put a negative judgment on myself for something I didn’t do. Glitter helps me to not perceive every stare as a personal attack of my character or intelligence, but instead as a compliment.
In addition to glitter changing how I perceive other people see me, I’m also nicer to myself. I’m more apt to have confidence in my thoughts and ideas when I’m wearing glitter compared to when I’m not. Instead of constantly putting myself down with phrases such as “that’s not good enough” or “that’s dumb,” when I wear glitter my attitude changes. I catch myself saying more positive phrases such as “that’s a really good idea, why not share it? or “the worst thing they can say is no.” While those might not seem like big shifts, for someone with crippling anxiety, any ounce of self-love and compassion really goes a long way.
Glitter has become a staple part of my makeup routine and I have had so many opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise without it. While glitter might be my favorite way to boost my confidence and decrease my anxiety, there are hundreds of ways for you to do the same. Once you find your niche, stick with it and it will get better.