Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Florida SuperCon 2018 and My Big Screw-Up

Unfortunately I had some major photography issues at SuperCon last weekend, so after we left early on Saturday I was only able to salvage a handful of photos. [sob] BUT! John did take some fun video on Friday, so here's a look around the con:


Plus I do have a few cosplay shots I managed to save, so let's take a look at those, starting with my favorite original find:


Tamotoa-inspired warrior! See how she has his crab claw for a sword, and his treasure-crusted shell for a shield? My photos don't do her justice; her makeup and coral headdress were SO COOL.

This Genji from Overwatch was rockin' light-up accents in his armor:



We've long since established I have a high tolerance for creepy dolls, so while *I* think these anime masks are pretty dang cool, your mileage may vary. 


 I'd only seen these kinds of masks online before, so it was neat spotting some in person!

 A little Hocus Pocus:


And a Beauty with her gender-swapped Beast:
 Gotta say, I'm loving this trend of lady Beasts.

 Spotted these three outside the main hall:

 I'm especially loving Poison Ivy's cape and headdress - the roses are so pretty!

This Bender and Ted I think must have been friends since they were walking the floor together, and both are INCREDIBLE foam/fur builds:

Seriously, so good! They could have stepped out of a theme park.

 A gender-swapped Pharah from Overwatch:

And my only two flash photos:

Lady Oogie Boogie is holding up a red dice. 

I'll end with my favorite family and favorite cosplay - still a bit blurry, but the best I've got:

 
 Black Panther! You guys, look at little Shuri. SHE IS PERFECTION. Yep, I'm totally fangirling over an 8-year-old, and I'm good with that. :D Really, her whole family is serious cosplay goals. GO MOM & DAD! Raising those geeklings right!


As for the convention itself, SuperCon definitely has a younger, more anime-centered crowd, but their panels and guest line-up are top notch, from Shatner to most of the voice actors from Overwatch. They even live-streamed the big celebrity panels on Facebook for folks who couldn't get in! Parking looked like a nightmare, but there were handy shuttle buses - and if you spring for a room at the Hilton across the street like we did, then it's an easy walk in. (Boy did that spoil me!) Another thing I like - although the vendors usually don't - are the later hours, with the main hall closing at 8pm most nights. There were some great vendors, too, as you saw in John's video - how about that giant video game furniture?



SO COOL. 

And everyone's going nuts for that magic Hufflepuff pillow over on Instagram:

A post shared by Jen Yates (@epbot) on

The vendor who makes them also had this giggle:


For the introverted mermaids out there. :D

(Oh, and that vendor is on Etsy! This isn't sponsored or anything, I just like her pillows.)
(But not in a dirty way.)
(heyooooo)


And finally, since I'm sure you're curious how I managed to mess up so badly with my photos: it was all me, just dumb stuff that I should know better by now. Usually when that happens I can fix my settings and keep going, but for the first time I got so discouraged and overwhelmed that I couldn't think straight, couldn't remember how to do the simplest of things. It wasn't anxiety or anything, just... a fuzzy brain? Any of you get that? Then I started second-guessing myself and froze up; couldn't ask cosplayers for photos, because what if I messed up and wasted their time? What if they asked to see the photo after and it was bad? And how did I not know this stuff after all this time?! 

Blurg.

Poor John was beside himself, having no idea how to deal with this new form of mental crisis. Again, not panic; I felt physically fine. I just couldn't take pictures anymore.

Hang on - is that what social anxiety feels like? Not the heart-racing, feeling-of-impending-doom panic attacks I'm used to, but more of a mental paralysis? Huh.

Anyway, so now I feel like a fraud who has no business ever touching a camera again, but John has ZERO patience for that, so I'll be trying again this weekend at MetroCon. That's one thing about central Florida: during con season you get LOTS of chances to screw up, ha. Send me happy thoughts for a cool head, won't you? I want to get this right and have fun behind the camera again - and of course, show you guys more great cosplay!

51 comments:

  1. I kind of wonder if like writers block you could just keep shooting anyways- fully knowing it will be bad and embracing that, and push your way through the block back to good again?

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    1. This is what I do! The first couple photos are almost always bad, so I force myself to ask someone for their photo knowing full well it probably won't turn out. It is TERRIFYING. But after that, it only gets better. I think fixing mistakes gives me confidence, so intentionally making a mistake at the beginning helps me get through the rest of the day. :)

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  2. Everyone has those days. You know, those ones when everything seems to go wrong and everything you do to fix it makes it worse. Where even a bright spot (pillows and furniture) can't get the day back on track. So, take a deep breath, accept that that day sucked, and do your best to move on. Easier said than done of course, especially if anxiety is making you overthink everything, but all you can do is keep moving. Have fun at MetroCon, and try and focus on all the possibilities.

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  3. I agree - a lot of people (including me) have days like that, where it all just goes fuzzy. Sometimes you can figure out the why, sometimes, it's just a mystery.I wonder, is it possible that you had some Con food that inadvertently had something you've eliminated from your diet? I ask because for me, that's the fastest way to a day like that. The only thing as sure as the occasional fuzz is, is the fact that you'll bounce back from it, no harm, no foul.

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  4. LOVE that mermaid pillow!

    Really sorry you had the photography issues, but what you did manage to capture looks fantastic as always! I am sure you will do fine next weekend. You know exactly what you're doing, and you're great at it, so please do not doubt yourself. Every artist has occasional bad days.

    For me, social anxiety is a lot like you are describing...second guessing everything and then freezing up. I hate that you had to experience yet another form of anxiety. I'm sure that wasn't fun at all for either of you. I'll be sending out good vibes for you next weekend! You've got this, you badass warrior!

    KW

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  5. Sounds like a case of the centipede's dilemma. You can know how to do something perfectly well, but someone or something makes you pause to think about how you do it, and suddenly you begin to doubt. Kind of like spelling a word so many times it no longer looks or sounds right. I still enjoyed the photos that you took and have shared. Conventions aren't in the budget for me, but I like to see the amazing cosplays that people can do. Next time I'm sure you're going to have a million pictures that will somehow have to be dwindled down to favorites to share.

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  6. I don't know if this will help, but it helps me some days.
    Try Again wallpaper
    I hope that even though the photography didn't work out, you still had a fun time and get to focus on that instead.

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  7. Aww, the number of times that's happened to me - photography mojo has just vanished. Don't know why things aren't working, they just aren't. Shots I can normally nail just don't work and I feel like a fraud carrying the big camera around like someone who knows what they're doing. The fun goes out of it and I don't want to take pictures anymore.

    Normally, a couple of days later I can accept that sometimes, my work is below my personal average. It has to be, right? A shoot where I get better pictures than I expected has to be balanced out by one where I get worse ones than usual - and the next shoot is a different day and I'll be back to my usual standard. The overall trend is for my pictures to get better with time,

    FWIW, I love your photos and I can't wait to see some from MetroCon, however many turn out!

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  8. Love that Black Panther family! So awesome!

    I get "fuzzy brain" and indecisiveness sometimes, but it usually due to a migraine.

    Maybe to help get over your photography slump, you can practice taking photos of John or a friend during the week? That will give you a chance to play around with your settings again gain some confidence in a less stressful setting. If you have a willing friend, you can even practice your dual flash technique. Maybe make it a fun thing by playing dress up (not actual cosplay, just trying on clothes for fun and silliness) and having snacks and music.

    Whatever you do, I hope you have fun at the Con this weekend!

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  9. Had you changed the way your eating before or after the con? I ask because I had to go on a detox diet and went through fuzzy headed, confused, brain turned off withdrawals/ detox from foods. I wonder if something like that happened.

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    1. That makes a lot of sense...plus Jen & John have been working a LOT on rehabbing that house...being tired with a change of diet can do that!

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    2. I'm sure this must be part of it; to be honest I hadn't eaten anything that morning, so even though I didn't *feel* like my sugar was down, it probably was. Add the stress of the crowds (and John looking at me like I'd grown a second head) and it all just snowballed.

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    3. The fuzzy brain happens to me whenever I forget to eat. That's one (of many) reasons I try to keep some munchies in my purse whenever possible, ESPECIALLY when I'm busy running around, at cons, shopping, what-have-you. It got even worse when I had to severely change my diet for medical reasons, and I just couldn't tell when I was getting hungry anymore.

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  10. That's what social anxiety is like...I just go brain dead.

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    1. For me, it's different - I feel really nervous, overwhelmed, or almost like I can hear everything I say in stereo and my brain is critiquing it... but I don't feel fuzzy headed.
      I think that just happens sometimes (chalk it up to a combination of diet, allergies, blood sugar, hormones, sleep, stress, etc.) - once I had it happen during a work presentation and it was awwwwwfulll. I think John's advice is great! Get back in the game!
      I love your pictures and the peek into the world of cons and Disney. As a non-photographer, I don't feel qualified to pass judgement, but they all seem great to me and I appreciate the effort you take to share these fun activities and make the pictures look beautiful!

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  11. Oh wow, I love the photos and video! I'm going to Raleigh Supercon next week AND I'm going to meet William Shatner, so your post today is like a wonderful little teaser! :)

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  12. Sometimes when my pictures are bad, I still keep them to remind me of the wonderful (costume, event, outing, people...). Thanks for sharing your experience at the con and I hope you still enjoyed seeing the costumes and art.

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  13. No matter how good you are at something, there will always be times you mess up and totally forget how to do something simple. Try not to let it derail you! You're awesome.

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  14. I consider myself a fairly skilled photographer, I've had my SLR for over 15 years and I do photoshoots a few times a year. Still, I have times where I just can't get the exposure correct, or I realize that I accidentally left the camera on manual focus, and everything came out blurry. Stupid stuff that should be no-brainers by now, and make me feel like I never want to touch my camera again. Photography is incredibly complicated, much more so than most people realize. No shame in the occasional brain fuzz!

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    1. It helps to know it's not just me. I get so intimidated by the growing number of seeming professional photogs at cons; like, surely THEY never have these issues, right? :/

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  15. Beyond what other folks have said, if you aren't taking a B12 supplement, low levels can lead to brain fog. It made a world of difference for me!

    I always love seeing all your con pics, please keep taking and sharing!

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    1. I just started with a liquid one a few weeks ago, but so far I haven't noticed any improvement - I'm seeing a new doctor next week, so I'll be sure to ask about it!

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    2. Came here to say this ^^ I have severe brain fog due to having no thyroid (removed because of cancer) and it was exacerbated by a creeping B12 deficiency, plus low vitamin D. It's been about 6 months now and I still blank on things and can't find words, but my energy has been better...which improves my mood which helps with sense of humor which reduces the stress of not finding the words.... Soooo, not fixed but still better.

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    3. Yes! Brain fog is a major symptom of a thyroid still being hypo. I'm reading the book Stop the Thyroid Madness, which is basically the hypothyroid-ist's (?) bible, and realized I need an increase in my NDT meds.

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  16. Awwww! Sounds like you needed a hug from one of my superhero characters, Rosetta. (named after the Rosetta Stone, not the Disney Fairy. :p) Her civilian hobbies are cheerleading and photography.

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  17. Imposter syndrome go away! You are awesome, Jen! I live vicariously through you and John and your con visits.

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    1. I too was going to suggest Imposter Syndrome (which the Bloggess discusses a few times in various posts), as some of the symptoms match. I too live vicariously through your con photos and experiences. They are always fantastic in that they are well-done and well-chosen. Never stop doing what you are doing. Never stop being you, no matter how hard it gets.

      And OMG, that BP family is absolutely adorable! (It still won't convert me from a DC girl to a Marvel girl, but I can't even imagine how awesome it must be to be that little girl as Shuri.)

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  18. Maybe look at the settings you used at previous cons that were successful, both for your regular shots and your strobe shots, and make yourself some little recipe cards for a few common lighting situations. Keep your recipes in your camera bag to use as a starting point on fuzzy days. They won't be perfect, but could get you closer, faster, and serve as a memory jogger for whatever you might be forgetting (right, AF! Oops, wrong lens! Etc)

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    1. This is a great idea. Part of my crisis was not being able to remember what settings I used last time!

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    2. Yup, a quick checklist for why things might not be working, and settings start points for various common situations (with plenty of room to change, add notes and new stuff as you experiment more) might be a very helpful 'reset button' if you're hitting a blank. Or it the more tekernikle stuff is momentarily out of reach, just go back to the absolute basics for a while to get back into the flow - you have all our permission to set your cameras on Idiot Proof as needed :-)
      Plus have a reminder that if things are feeling off, maybe it's time to XYZ (e.g., take a break, have something to eat/drink, take some rescue remedy, go outside for fresh air, go inside for cool air conditioning, chat with friends, have some alone time, …) and see if you can work through it. Sometimes you just need that bit of time out and doing something different to get back on track.
      And on the days that it doesn't work, Oh Well, switch to Plan B, whether it's taking some video instead, putting the camera away altogether and just enjoying the Con or whatever for yourself until you are ready and WANT to try again, or even noping right on out of there. Everyone here totally gets that there are days you (i.e., I/we/they) just can't get it together and no amount of trying is going to make it happen :-) We understand and would rather you took care of YOU as needed than worry about getting it right, stressing and maybe setting yourself back.
      On a different note, I'm assuming that as part of your general health plan you've looked into magnesium supplements - if not, then do a bit of research and maybe check with your doctor (just remember that blood tests aren't always a good way to measure if you have enough or not). Low Mg can amongst other things cause distractedness / reactiveness / poor sleep etc, and make general life harder because your brain connections aren't firing properly. If I haven't taken any for a while there can be a definite difference in my concentration / memory retrieval even for stuff I know well - I'll be doing a basic task and suddenly find myself drawing a total blank. Thankfully I've learnt the signs and know to get back into taking Mg again and it clears up within days.
      Kahurangi, New Zealand

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  19. I had similar frustrations from the con I went to a couple weeks ago and practically none of my pictures from the Star Wars meet-up and photo shoot turned out. Totally my fault with bad camera settings and nothing like what you guys do, but still. And I have those times, too, where the brain just won't engage and do stuff that it should. I'm guessing we all have those times. But you got this, girl! You know you love the photography aspect of cons, so don't give up! You can dust yourself off and move on from this mishap. :) Maybe play with your equipment a bit at home first, just to get the feel of it again before you go so you can have more confidence that you do, in fact, know what you're doing and fight those doubts away.

    Also, the pics you did get that you shared were great! Love that Black Panther family!!

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  20. Perfectly normal. Everyone has days when even simple things seem hard. For me, yesterday...the toilet paper roll just refused to cooperate. Stupid thing was a pain to just get off the holder a couple days ago, but yesterday popped off and went flying. And I'm thinking, "Great...I can't even do TOILET PAPER right!"

    So...you're fine. Next 'con, you'll be nailing it.

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  21. Hello Jen,

    I just want to say, you absolutely do not need to apologize. When you get like that with the fuzz brain, you should give your permission to put down your camera/give it to John and just enjoy the con with zero guilt! I know it's part of your "job" but really, sometimes you should just enjoy the convention and letting the people swirl around you without having to feel obligated to speak/take pictures. Etc. It's fine. The reason we love your readouts is because we know you are having a lovely time and experiencing the excitement and wonder of these costumes, panels, and vendors. HAVE FUN.

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  22. Social anxiety... for me is exactly what you are describing. Total brain disengagement. Can't speak, can't think, can't make decisions. I've usually got it completely under control until it's crucial, like on a job interview, then word vomit, tongue tripping, partial sentences come out of my mouth and you would think I didn't get through HS much less get a BS in rocket science.

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  23. Absolutely sounds like social anxiety. It's how I feel on the daily, and what happens to me when when I have to do something that involves interacting with people, even if it's something I've done a million times over - like answer the phone - I freeze up and start quietly panicking.
    It sucks and the only thing I can do is just breathe and let the moment pass. I liken it to stage fright - and I have a few tricks to deal with that which I use to help me get through the moment.

    Totally not a fail - we are only human and these things happen :)

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  24. That's always rough when that happens. I think everyone has a certain level of experience with that feeling-- I certainly do! You can't always do all the things the best. Doesn't change that next time can be awesome!

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  25. Girl, I'm with John: not puttin' up with that. You're amazing at what you do. This is the first time you didn't do so hot? Plz allow me to show you my FOLDERS full of not great ideas and subpar projects. YOU'RE OUTTA BEIN' OUTTA THE GAME. (Ilu. ;) )

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  26. It's okay to take time to collect yourself - find a corner and take a deep breath and reorient yourself. Put the camera away for a minute and just relax. Then pick it up and try again.

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  27. This is a completely different area but maybe this advice will help anyway- I'm a triathlete and the best piece of training advice I ever got was that some days you'll go out and spin your wheels as hard as you can and you'll get nowhere. So you do the best you can, pack it in, and call it a day. Go home, let it go, and continue as if it was fine- because it was. Bad or rough days are fine. You don't quit training because of one, though. Continuing is what counts.

    Hope this is helpful in some way- you're gonna be fine and crush it once again!

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  28. A quirky RavenclawJuly 19, 2018 at 10:16 PM

    It sounds like you had the sort of "off day" that happens to everyone sometimes (yes, even professionals). I hesitate to make light of a stressful experience, but I do find that humor often helps to shake if off and move on. To that end, I'm just gonna leave this here:

    "A Wrackspurt... They're invisible. They float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy, I thought I felt one zooming around in here."
    ~ Luna Lovegood

    See? You had an encounter with a fantastic beast. How's that for con magic? ;-)

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  29. Sounds like just an off day :) . Your brain just needed a break! You will do great this next con :) . I feel like a fraud every time I sit down to write so I get it but then I write the thing and it works out.

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  30. I'm an amateur photographer, do mostly portraits, families, kids, stuff like that. I've definitely had days like that. If I accidentally start with a wrong setting & the first few shots turn out crappy, I get all flustered. Especially because usually I have a person/group of people waiting on me to take these photos. And a lot of times it's small children whose attention spans are not very long. I photographed a friend's family a few weeks ago, large group of 13, including an almost 3 year old and a 7 years old with severe disabilities. I started getting flustered when the 3 & 7 year olds were having difficulties. Everyone assured me not to worry, especially about the 7 year old, they were just happy to have her in the photos.
    I also have some medical issues that have resulted in a lot of memory and "brain fog" issues, which was just compounding things. In the end, the photos turned out pretty good, not my best work, but the family is happy.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is, sometimes if you just push through, it works out in the end. And try not to be so hard on yourself (I know, easier said than done).

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  31. Yes, this is social anxiety. I had it pretty severely at work one year where I couldn't answer the phone. I would pick it up and nothing would come out, no matter how much I tried to coax myself. No worries- the more you keep at it, the easier it gets. <3

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  32. Eek! That Mina Ashido in the video was so cute oh my goodness!!

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  33. As a fellow Hashimoto's sufferer, I'll just say that sounds like me when my thyroid levels are low! Your reasons are probably different, and I believe in you and any & all photos you take and share are always bonus material :-)

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  34. Embarrassingly, my first thought upon seeing the shell shield pic was of a giant cinnamon sugar pita chip from Trader Joe’s. Shows my priorities.

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  35. When I get my “sensory migraine” (which is usually triggered by exhaustion), I do tend to get that frozen, can’t remember how to think or do things symptom. I’ll be grocery shopping, have a list, and be staring at the shelf where the product is, and can’t identify it for about 5min, maybe more. If I can feel such a migraine coming, I take some Motrin, eat, hydrate, sometimes take a nap, and that usually gets me good to go again. Anyway, consider that. I do also still have the plain headache migraines. But I’m sorry you had to go through that. You DO take wonderful photos, you know how to do it, and John’s right: best way to get confidence back is to practice more! Hope you enjoy your next con!!

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  36. I'm only speaking for myself. But when I get fuzzy and flustered and can't really think or talk it's a sign I'm overwhelmed and over stimulated. I'm a huge introvert. I can (and if it wasn't for my job and being married I probably would) spend days by myself just making things in "the zone". Now I do have social anxiety and I do get tongue tied and blank minded when I'm around new people and don't know how to make small talk but I also get the nervousness.

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  37. I sometimes find that I blank on things I can do well but used to struggle with. It's like I can't believe that I've learned how to do it...it's the weirdest thing. I find the best thing I can do is take a pause to shake it off--go get a snack, or read a chapter out of a book, or play a round of Fruit Ninja--and come back after my brain has reset. (Kind of like I have to turn part of my brain off and then on again.)

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  38. My social anxiety gets really bad with phone calls. There's some sort of back-of-my-head-expectation that there's supposed to be small talk and my stomach knots up and I get chest pains and the panic paralysis sets in and I can't remember anything and I just know that I SOUND LIKE AN ABSOLUTE MORON. And this is calling the dentist. I *know* that literally all I have to say is "Hi, I need an appointment" and they'll take over from there but I still freeze and seriously consider throwing up.

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  39. That's one of the ways my social anxiety hits me. I can't seem to think of things I know. Like when my husbands office accidentally clicked the wrong number on one of our kids birthday's for insurance, and then the next dr's visit the lady at the desk asked me and I just blanked, like I know when my kids were born, but second guess me and I'll totally mess it up. Photography tends to work that way for me if I'm around other people. I forget all the things I know about my settings. I am planning on making a set of quick reset guides for myself based on my older settings to help jog my memory in those situations.

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