What do you see, when you look at this hat?
And no, I am not going to steel a bunch of lines from a Chris Ledoux song. •
When I was young, it was a status symbol. If you had a good, well worn hat, it meant you had earned your right to wear it. Every stain and crease had a story and it was clear you could, and would, tell them all.
As I got older, it became a tool. The thing I used to keep my ears and bald head out of the sun! I had a small scare a few years ago, that made me decide to start taking better care of my very white skin in the summer sun.
But now it is something completely different! Now, it is an invisibility cloak! I only recently realized this, but I can see so clearly how I use it for that. As my anxiety has become more of an issue in my life, I started wearing it more. Especially in the campground. You see, here in ND, outside of the people I hang out with on a regular basis, hats are not worn as often as they are back home in MT. So, that allowed me to keep people at arms length. •
If I wore my hat, and didn’t reach out to our neighbors, I didn’t have to leave my box. They certainly weren’t going to stop by the camper of that guy with the cowboy hat on. So, I wore it ALL the time. At the camper, on the beach, out with friends, or any time I was going to be around “new” people. It became my Superman cape. “No one was going to mess with me”. Or, I wasn’t going to have to talk to anyone so I didn’t have to be socially anxious. •
It was so freeing to realize all of this! It meant that I could stop hiding. Behind a hat or any other crutch I had been using. It allowed me to try talking to people and realize they don’t actually bite.
I still have a long way to go. I still have anxiety before meeting new people. I still get anxiety when dialing the phone. And, that may never go away. So what’s the difference? My tools! I have the tools, even when I don’t use them, to live my BEST life, even with anxiety! And I can do it with or WITHOUT this old hat! •
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