Outfits, Style

A Sunflower, Most Of All.

asos sunflower dress keiko lynn 6
asos sunflower dress keiko lynn 1asos sunflower dress keiko lynn 2asos sunflower dress keiko lynn 3asos sunflower dress keiko lynn 4asos sunflower dress keiko lynn 5

Outfit Details: ASOS floral dress with fluted sleeves // thrifted belt // vintage slip // Swedish Hasbeens Braided Sky High Heels // Strathberry MC Mini satchel  // Miu Miu round sunglasses // Sunbody hat

I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They’re so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?

I can’t see a sunflower (or field of daisies) without thinking of my favorite movie, Harold and Maude, and her commentary on being an individual — how a lot of sorrow comes from allowing oneself to be treated as just another nameless face in the crowd, and fading into the background, rather than standing apart. Lately, that’s been on my mind.

I’ve had social anxiety my entire life, and though moving to NYC certainly forced me to confront it, to grow and adapt and cope with it, it has never completely gone away. I’m leaps and bounds away from where I once stood, which was a) isolated in my room or b) surrounded by my closest friends and family, exclusively. As a perpetual homebody and professional invitation turner-downer, I completely floored my family by deciding to move (alone!) to a city with all of the scariness I constantly avoided. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I even realized I had that much of a problem, until I moved here…because I was so used to myself. Once I was completely outside of my comfort zone, with no one to hold my hand, I became hyper-aware of my shortcomings in socialization — and that forced me to confront it. Over the years, I became more comfortable in group settings, with new people and unfamiliar situations. I’m a far cry from the girl who used to throw up on the first day of school, fake an illness at sleepovers, and stay at home on Saturday nights. Okay, I still stay home on Saturday nights. But now, I’m engaging with new people on a daily basis; I’m often hopping on a plane to go and work with people I’ve never met, in cities where I’ve never been. I might get a pang of nervousness — but I’m functioning, not cowering and thinking of ways to squirm out of the situation, before it even happens.

Except, lately…I can feel it creeping back in. It’s really anxiety as a whole — I’m generally a pretty anxious person, always worrying about something — but the social part is tugging at my limbs and leaving me with pins and needles in my extremities, a knot in my stomach, a weight on my chest. I’ve had a few embarrassing panic attacks on the subway, one while in traffic (NOT TODAY, SATAN), and a couple of minor meltdowns before an event or a big job…and all of them, very recently. What is happening? I’ve had a lot of little snags, and each pulled thread has led to complete unraveling. It’s nothing I can’t handle or get in check, but it bothers me. More than anything, I can feel myself willingly fading into the background. I know that may sound completely antithetical to this blog and my entire identity therein, but the internet and real life are very different things.

I’m usually fine when I’m one on one, but when I’m in a group of people [whom I do not know] with big personalities, I become a little more withdrawn. I’m always afraid that my shyness / awkwardness might come across as being cold or uninterested, or that in writing myself off as forgettable, I end up acting the part. Even now, as I sit here in the dark and ponder my presence, I’m over-analyzing everything to the point of wanting to go back and delete it all, leaving you with nothing but the quote from Harold and Maude…because I’m very aware of how overwrought this stream of consciousness (and yes, even my stream of consciousness is overwrought) is, especially when so starkly juxtaposed with these happy, sunny photographs.

By the way, I was happy, in these photographs. It’s impossible not to be, when in a field of stunning sunflowers. I’ve been trying to pinpoint my reason for being so persnickety, because I want to change it. I want to calm my nerves, to be more confident, and stop backsliding.

I don’t want to be a frightful flower in a field of daisies.

I want to be a sunflower, most of all. They’re so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?

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37 comments

  1. CiCi Marie says:

    In many ways, I feel like you’ve just described me. I completely understand how you feel – and it’s actually a relief to hear that other people feel exactly the same. Especially as I’m just about to turn down an invitation to a hen do I have no excuse not to go to other than being in a group of 20 women scares the crap out of me!! I don’t know what to suggest other than keep pushing on and maybe it’s just a phase – I certainly feel worse about social stuff at some points in my life more than others. At least you know you’re not alone, there must be thousands of us out there! My social anxiety doesn’t extend to taking blog photos in public places either – but it’s still quite an isolated thig to do, even with a photographer in tow!

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      I go through waves. Sometimes, I’m totally fine and others, I’m sick to my stomach, worried about being with a bunch of people I don’t know. I think that blog events can be tough, because no matter how nice and supportive everyone is, I always have this irrational fear that I’m going to be mean girled. Like they’re all going to make fun of my shoes and talk about me behind my back…haha! And I know that’s 100% my issue, not theirs…because usually, they end up being lovely people.

  2. Debora says:

    Hi! I don’t know if this will help or not, but I just wanted to say that I get where you’re coming from. I used to be an extremely social child, but kinda grew up to be anti social and shy. I mean, I’ll be super friendly and outgoing if I have to, or when I’m used to the people around me, but in new situations I’ll only speak if spoken to. I moved to Scotland in September for a year of studying abroad, and I’m fine with moving and walking around in a new place, but I just can’t seem to make friends with my classmates. Everyone already has a click or something, and I can’t find it in myself to just waltz in and be social. I couldn’t even find the courage to join a recreational basketball team, I was so nervous about talking to people. It doesn’t help when my mother keeps asking me if I’ve made any new friends. I don’t have anything really useful to tell you, but I can understand your anxiety and I’m happy that you chose to talk about it. I’ve been reading your blog for years, and I love it! Hope you feel better!

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      This is something I struggled with, when I moved to NYC! I didn’t meet any friends in this city for over a year, because I didn’t know how to go about it. I worked from home and was no longer in school, so I didn’t have a regular place I went to, where I could meet people. I always wondered, do you just go up to someone and say, “Let’s be friends!” — no, that’s weird. But striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is a very difficult thing for me to do, and it took me making one friend to get the ball rolling. I’m so grateful for that one friend, because she introduced me to her friends, and they introduced me to people, and I basically went from having no friends to having a circle of wonderful people. That first year, though…it was lonely. But you know what? When I went away to college, I barely knew anyone, and I met a few friends through livejournal. If nothing else, there’s always the internet. It does give you a buffer, so you feel like you get to know them before you even meet them in person. You might be able to find someone who is in the same boat as you!

  3. Christine says:

    You are so beautiful and the dress suits you SO well. The pictures with all these sunflowers are amazingly beautiful and they made my day in a grey overcast really cold automn day…
    And I am so glad you shared with us about how you are feeling ❤️ I can so relate to all what you are feeling. I am also such a person having all these challenges others don’t seem to struggle with. Obviously you are also a highly sensitive person … If you like, you could check that out (HSP is the term for highly sensitive persons…there are some interesting books about these…). It helped me a lot to realize that this sensitivity in individuals is much needed … i.e. for the evolution and growth of humanity… ?
    XOXO Christine

  4. SVC says:

    Hi

    I always love your outfits and use them as an inspiration for my own day to day style (as i like to stay out of the ordinary).

    But your story of today really hit me, as I have (and I think a lot of other people with us, if they are honest with themselves) problems with social situations. What bothers me the most is that I will overstress about a situation in advance and avoid it if possible (which is ofcourse not a solution to the problem). I’m even more confronted with my problem now that I have a boyfriend and “need” to meet his friends. For exemple he’s hosting a party the 31th of octobre at his place with his roommate…and I’m thinking about possible excuses to get out of it. Whilst he hopes I can make it.

    Maybe we should focus on the love and appreciation we get from others instead of fixating on our own fears and just let go… or we will miss out on a lot and even disappoint the ones we love.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and to answer your question about the flower: a classic but very pink rose…without thorns offcourse 😉

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      Oh, do I ever relate to the boyfriend situation! Bobby is the opposite of me. He makes friends with everyone he meets; he’s a fearless, social little butterfly. He’s sympathetic to my weirdness in new social situations, so he tries to make me as comfortable as possible, which ends up making me feel so silly and bad. And when I cancel or turn down invites, it makes me just as anxious — I end up feeling guilty. It’s a weird, vicious cycle. What helped me in the past was learning to say yes. Not giving myself an out made me confront my fears and conquer them. I think I need to get back in that mindset. You should, too!

  5. Jamie says:

    I’m sending you big hugs from across the river. I hate it when I feel that way (and it happens frequently). Things will all come back together again, but that doesn’t help at the moment…..I hope you have a better day today!

  6. Alysa says:

    Start writing here. Wow. What a raw and emotionally filled post. You never cease to amaze, Keiko. So honest. The photos, of course, are lovely, but your words… I will be pondering your thoughts laid bare here for awhile.

  7. Michelle says:

    Your photos are lovely, and so is your writing! I wish I had something helpful to say about the anxiety, but I don’t have the answer myself… Just wanted to say hang in there! I admire your strength in being able to put it out there and talk it through, thats gotta be worth something on the conquering anxiety front.

  8. Kayron says:

    Totally feel you on the social anxiety front. I have found sometimes that mentioning (but not dwelling or being melodramatic about it, just acknowledging) my own shyness/awkwardness in anxiety-producing situations helps – I’m usually not the only one feeling that way and just acknowledging it helps me move on, too. As put-together and beautiful as you are, I’d guess most people wouldn’t guess at your internal struggles.

  9. Chelsea says:

    A bit of a heavy post for bright yellow sunflowers there, girl! Hope you’re doing well and have someone around you to relax, if not to talk things out. Social anxiety is a big comfy monster, especially when you’re in a setting that feels overbearing. I still pretend sick and stay in on the weekends if I’m feeling maudlin or not wanting to interact with certain people in the group I would be seeing (also, broke).

    Anyway, love the pictures! The lighting is amazeballs, and now I really want a dress with bell sleeves.

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      I thought the happy photos would balance it all out, you know? They serve as a happy distraction, for those who don’t want to read it. haha!

  10. Catherine says:

    Thank you for sharing Keiko – after developing some major anxiety after having a baby, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that is going through this. You are strong – focus on the positive, and all the leaps and bounds you have made!

  11. Andrenna says:

    That must have been hard to share. I think we all struggle with social anxiety to some extent, but few of us talk about it!

  12. Kristina says:

    Recovering from and even coping with anxiety is never easy. We all have our set backs and it becomes a vicious cycle at times. I still struggle at times even with taking my medication daily. Things can trigger us at the worst or even most random times. Don’t blame yourself! You are strong and it’s admirable how much you have opened up in this post, not many bloggers can be forward in this way.

    It’s tough living with anxiety but don’t let you hold you back. You make progress every day and sometimes you take a step back and that’s okay! Those who are your friends and loved ones will always understand and stand behind you or pick you up in the times that you have fallen. I hope that you feel better soon, stay strong <3

    -Kristina

  13. Glatsyrc says:

    Keiko,
    kudos for your bravery in talking about this. “the internet and real life are very different things” resonates so much. in a world where instagram, facebook, snapchat etc are all about displaying your “best” self… sometimes it can create a very fake perception of what one’s REALLY feeling in real life. reading posts like this makes me realize why i love reading blogs so much. while i certainly ‘oh and ah’ over the latest and greatest from this and that blogger i am reminded that behind all the glam there is a world of a difference. it’s hard to believe that the girl in these photos (STUNNING!) can have any stress/problems at all but of course that is not the case. Thank you for your honesty as i certainly relate to this post on a very personal level. wishing you lots of love & light.

    P.S. i would like to be an orchid. i’ve had one in my office for a few years and all through winter it manages to look like a stick in a pot. but come spring it blooms so unbelievably beautiful that it makes me appreciate how resilient things can really be.

  14. Erin K says:

    I really appreciate your honesty here. I do not struggle with social anxiety specifically, though I do consider myself an anxious person; the things that bother me most have also grown worse in the past few years. I have wondered if age has something to do with it, somehow. I think we are the same age.

    I don’t have an answer for your flower question, but it has given me something very interesting to consider today as I go about my work. Thanks for that. 🙂

    And as always, lovely photos. ❤️

  15. kristen shearon says:

    I can completely relate to your feelings here. Even as I was reading this post I was constantly biting my lip, one of my anxiety traits. I have the same thoughts, the same feelings when in a crowd of people that I’m not “comfortable” to be around. As opposed to when I am around the people who I love, love me, have known me for years and seen my ups and downs, I’m outgoing, loud, and constantly smiling {and I hate my smile.} It’s not an easy thing to struggle with and those who don’t get it won’t, and those who do will be supportive. You are gorgeous and I love the courage to move to a huge, bustling city like NYC. When I was at my worst, I moved to Montana, the complete opposite of NYC and it made my anxiety much worse. Best of luck with it all 🙂

  16. Tatiana Ceballos says:

    Bravo for your courage and for the beautiful way you express these dark, disabling feelings. I know exactly what it feels like to write about something so personal on your blog. I love your style of writing and I hope that sending this out into the universe helps you overcome whatever it is that you’re going through. I would love it if you could check out my blog as I feel we can relate to eachother.

    All the best!

  17. Kate says:

    Keiko, I’m a very, very longtime lurker (like four years now!), and I’ve always appreciated not only your style, but your honesty about the things you struggle with. So I’m finally commenting today! Because I feel like I could have written this. I grew up in New York City, and I love seeing it through other people’s eyes, but man, do I understand how scary it can be to be in a huge city full of people, and want to just hole up in the house and avoid all of them.

    I’ve dealt with shyness my whole life, but it never turned into a full-blown thing until I got to high school; it’s been 10 years since I started feeling actually debilitatingly socially anxious and depressed, and over a year since my formal diagnosis.

    I don’t know you personally, so I probably have no place to say this, but… If your anxiety is flaring up, and you feel like it’s holding you back, and you haven’t tried therapy yet (or maybe you have and whatever therapist you had wasn’t right for you, or whatever), maybe you can try that. I know that’s easy to say, especially to someone who’s socially anxious, but when I finally got up the nerve to do it myself, it changed my life. I’m not going to lie and say I never feel anxious, but it helped so, so much with the guilty thoughts I had about not wanting to leave the house, the feelings of shame, the feelings that I was helpless. I feel a lot more whole having done it. And I feel more myself.

    Just two cents from a random person. 🙂

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      I was going to a therapist for a little while, and I stopped before it could really do all that much. It can be hard for me, because they always want to start at the beginning, and there are certain things that I just can’t talk about, anymore. I’ve thought about going back. It helped a lot, when I was a kid. But now that I have the power to walk away, unfortunately, I sometimes end up doing just that.

  18. Katherine says:

    I was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 late in life (in the world of mental illness, 28 years old is late) and while I’m medicated and stable for the most part, I feel your pain. I’m only social when I need to be (i.e. at work). My work requires me to interact with complete strangers but – thank god – only for about 4 minutes at the most. And that’s ok. But making friends seems to be the hard part. Shortly after my diagnosis, I moved 1500 miles from my family and friends. I’ve been here for 3 years and still have no real friends. I have people I know from work that I will occasionally go to coffee with but that’s it. Ha! Now I’m feeling anxiety thinking about the fact I may be wasting my life being a hermit. *deep breath* sorry, I came here to let you know you’re not alone, there are people who are trying to overcome the same fears and maybe all of us should try and take comfort in the fact were not alone. Or maybe a meet up for all of us. At least that way we know what to expect. LOL. Lots of love, my dear. You are braver than i.

  19. Kathleen says:

    Beautiful photos and words. You look lovely!
    <3
    katsfashionfix.blogspot.com

  20. Snapshot Fashion says:

    First off, let me start by saying that these photos (and that dress!) are amazing!
    Secondly, you have nothing to me anxious about. I know that is easier said that done. I too suffer from some anxiety as well…especially in social situations…and especially when the attention is on me. Sometimes I just want to crawl into my shell and stay there forever.
    I would hardly call you forgettable or cold. Every time we have met you have been so engaging, sweet, and insanely stylish. I’m always worried that my shyness will come across as being snobbish or uppity (which people have told me on more than one occasion), that I’m weak, or unintelligent.
    When you really stop to think about it the reason we have this anxiety is that we are so worried about what everyone thinks…and know what? We are our worst critics…because nobody else is thinking these thing.
    So cheer up and hang in there. *hugs*

  21. Lauren says:

    Great post Keiko! I’m the same way. I’m introverted, shy, and socially awkward. After college I moved to Russia (alone!) and it was equally terrifying and rewarding. The move forced me to overcome fears and experience new things. Even still, I recently had a similar meltdown before a big business trip. Whenever I start to doubt myself or feel the fear creeping back in I try think about my time living in Russia and it reminds me that I am capable and strong. I doubt I’ll ever be completely free of anxiety, but I just keep moving forward. No advice here, just sharing an experience. Oh and, I’d like to be a daisy. 😉

  22. Nicole says:

    I so appreciate your stream of consciousness and your comments, thank you so much for sharing this part of yourself with us. This is the second post on anxiety I’ve read from a favorite blogger lately, and both posts have been a huge comfort to read. I’m 38 and still struggle with anxiety, and it gets worse at times and I have no idea why, as you said. For me, exercise helps, but I’m having trouble fitting it in lately. I have kids so I have no choice but to put myself out there for them, and meet their friends’ parents, and I homeschool them so I have to take them out so they can meet other kids frequently, which forces me to sit around with a group of other moms and try to be sociable while our kids play- my worst nightmare. Haha. But I’ve found that it helps in some ways, when I make myself do it and it’s not so bad after all. The more I practice, the easier it gets to make friends and manage social situations. I just wish the physical symptoms of anxiety wouldn’t keep cycling back and that it wasn’t so often something I have to actively work to overcome.

  23. sarah says:

    Well, I definitely can relate to this, and the boyfriend issue as well. What has worked for me a lot lately with all the events I need to attend due to my boyfriend is actually going but making sure all the hours prior to the event that makes me afraid are spent entirely doing something that I love, pampering me and being alone or just with my boyfiend. What gives me balance and helps me is those times spent alone painting, reading or browsing websites. Other helpful thing I have been doing is just thinking about the other people in the event but not focusing what they might think about me but rather, the issues they might be facing and how with just being nice and overcoming my fear I might help them even with a simple smile. It is definitely a challenge every time but I can tell you that not giving up and having the balance of spending time alone has worked great for me. Every now and then I also turn down events but I do it with a different mentallity, thinking that it is a luxury I can take few times to be comfortable without being judged by others and without any guilt, knowing that I have control of the situation.

    Hope this can help 😉 love your blog btw.

  24. Marina says:

    Thanks for sharing Keiko! I love that you were just open about where you are, and even though you considered not sharing it, the fact that you did just shows how you ARE overcoming fears. I applaud you for it. Lovely outfit by the way, I look forward to all your posts and have been a long time fan <3

  25. DearDeanndre says:

    This was beautifully written. I am a shy person as well and feel a lot of these same things. I just try to take small steps to improving and opening myself up more. I’m not sure what flower I am, but I love peonies and tulips! -Deanndre // http://deardeanndre.blogspot.com/

  26. Jenny says:

    Keiko, thank you so much for sharing this with me and all the rest of us. Things go up and down and I’m currently in the down slope trying to stop it from getting worse. It’s hard. I’ve learnt that I often need time at home to recalibrate and do very little to make up for having spent time out and in new settings. And when I don’t listen to myself it backlashes and that’s where I am at right now. I know it will get better but it still stinks feeling this way now. So, you are not alone, nor am I. Be kind and loving towards yourself. You are incredible. Love, Jen

  27. D. says:

    As you can see in the comments so far – you are not alone. Sometimes even the most social of us do not feel they have control of their identity in public, while the others are shy by nature. Do not be so hard on yourself, you just need time to open up and that is perfectly fine. Your words matter, you matter. You are an inspiration for so many people, remember that.

  28. lisa says:

    ugh i totally feel you on this…something that i do every year is vitamin d starting in october. it makes a HUGE difference and my husband does it too after finding out last winter that he was really low. also this year i started taking rhodiola and i cant believe how much it’s helped my anxiety. i heard about it thru doctor oz to help with sleep (along with something else) but looking more into it, it’s for anxiety! check it out. its at least worth looking into. i hate to rely on meds myself, but at least these are just vitamins. anyway, hope you start feeling better!