Real Feels: The Overwhelming Pressure of 'Adulting'
Welcome to Real Feels, the series where the Shine community talks feelings—in all their good, tough, and “ugh, this again?” glory.
Today: writer Lyneisha Watson, 24, goes deep on feeling overwhelmed.
Feeling overwhelmed like:
What ignited your sense of overwhelm?
It’s been two years since I graduated from college, and things have not gone as I planned. I’ve battled depression, anxiety, and insecurity because the way I chose to move through the world didn’t match the roadmap I was fed throughout my childhood—graduate, get a job, master adulting immediately.
Nothing about my life post-graduation has met the status quo. For the past two years, I’ve lived behind my computer just trying to prove I am worthy. My college friends are becoming doctors, finding soulmates, and living their best lives, and I have chosen to become the narrative I’ve been working tirelessly to dismantle—the one of someone questioning their role in the world.
Nothing about my life post-graduation has met the status quo.
I call my journey after college my “Lynn Years.” If you’re familiar with Lynn from the show girlfriends, then you know she is the epitome of a #carefreeblackgirl who let’s her intuition lead her life. To be honest, I haven’t been as carefree as I would like because I thought overworking, overwhelming, and over worrying myself would make me worthy of the title “adult.”
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I saw my overwhelm for what it was: fear. I don’t want to be told “no” or disappoint my family, my friends, or my culture.
If your feeling was a movie character, who would it be?
It would be the Lucky Cricket from Mulan. In the movie, the Lucky Cricket is probably the most stressed out character. He has to deal with Mulan and Mushu’s antics plus carry expectations of actually being a “lucky” cricket like the grandmother suggested he was. That’s a lot of pressure.
How did you think you were supposed to respond to that feeling?
Typically, when you feel overwhelmed with fear, you become full of stress and worry. Sometimes we amplify the feeling more by overplanning and overworking ourselves to prove that we can handle the stress.
Initially, I thought accomplishing my neverending to-do list was the only remedy to conquering the fear I was carrying.
How did you cope with it?
Once I accepted that I was feeling overwhelmed with fear, I talked to my best friend about what I was feeling. I told her about how depressed I had become and how disconnected I felt from life and the people around me. She asked me what I was going to do—and it got me thinking.
I realized I needed to be more appreciative of myself and my journey. No, I haven’t been to Paris or worked with Beyonce, but I am building a company that teaches women about the importance of self-love and mindfulness.
What did you learn?
Too many of us are so worried about keeping up with others that we forget to celebrate ourselves. I gave into fear because I didn’t think who I was or what I was doing was worthy because I wasn’t constantly being validated.
“Your worth is not measured by your productivity.” - Unknown
Instead of looking for outside validation, I’m now choosing to celebrate myself out loud and in silence. I affirm my worth every day, and I don’t overwhelm myself with unnecessary work. I'm focusing on what matters most.