Do you remember in school when you went around the room, saying your name and a fun fact about yourself? I’ll start there: my name is Summer and I was born on the first day of winter. This isn’t a joke; it’s the real deal. Twenty-some years ago, my parents thought it would be a splendid idea to name their first born child after a season, since she was born on a solstice. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but little did they know I would go through my entire life being made fun of for it.

“Is your favorite season summer?” “Is your sister’s name Winter/Autumn/Spring?” “Hey, I really wish it was summer now.” “It’s always summer when you’re around.”

The jokes are always the same, and to this day, they still aren’t funny. To be self-conscious about one’s name seems like a silly thing to do, but when it’s part of your daily life, it’s one of the things you think about frequently.

Maybe you can’t relate to my name-angst. But maybe the things that you constantly can’t get out of your head may include the anxiety, depression, depersonalization, and just general stress of your daily life. (Nice little transition I did there, eh?) That’s where we meet. That’s our common ground.

Like I’ve said, my name is Summer. I have anxiety, depersonalization, depression, and a plethora of other fun things running around in my head. It stresses me out. It cripples me. And some days, I let it define me.

It shouldn’t define me, it should just be a part of me. I’m not ashamed. I’m not trying to hide it anymore. But it shouldn’t be the only part of me people see. I want them to see that I’m creative, passionate, and driven. I want them to see that I have goals I want to achieve, and dreams I want to make true. Some days, it feels like all people see is this nervous, wide-eyed, red-faced young woman, who can’t say five words without stumbling over them.

The fun part of all this? I’m the marketing and design coordinator for an ice cream shop. Marketing, by definition, means communicating with other people – something I have such a hard time doing, unless it’s behind a screen. I started this job in January 2017, and have been thrown into networking groups and events, forced to make decisions by myself, and expected to have a voice through it all. It’s terrifying, and exhilarating at the same time.

Some days, I come home and pat myself on the back for making a phone call. Other days, I’m exhausted and drained from having to meet with someone face-to-face. It’s all a part of the joys from the different mental and social disorders I deal with on a day-to-day basis.

If you know me in the real world, outside of the screen, you’d probably never guess. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve lived my life by the last few years has been, “Fake it ’til you make it.” And really, that’s what I’ve been doing. I pretend, fake that I’m this marketing powerhouse with a strong voice, so that I may one day become that. It’s what gets me through the day, knowing that I’ve tricked people into thinking I’m not scared, when I really am.

Who I am as a person, more in depth, is a novel itself, but I’ll keep it to the footnotes: I’m from the Chicago suburbs; I graduated with a degree in Publishing, and minors in Anthropology and German; I self-taught myself a lot of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign techniques and skills; I have the INFJ personality type; I’ve spoken at school conferences (terrifying!); I lived in New York City for 4 months; and I’m a fish mom. I have three fish whom I regard as my children, and frequently panic about their well-being. I’m sure if you stick around for the ride, you’ll hear more about them.

This blog is meant to be an expression and a look into what causes all my panic attacks and freak outs. It’s here to show you that you’re not alone in your thinking, that you can carry out a “normal job”, if you give yourself the chance and persevere. You don’t ever have to be afraid to live out your life – you just have to fear not living it at all.

Pull up a chair, curl up in bed, get comfy on that subway seat. It’s here I hope to elaborate on my thoughts, share my fears and accomplishments, and just be a part of your weekly routine.

Thank you.

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