I Had a Hard Month, But You Wouldn’t Know it From My Mirror Selfies
10.31.17

A few months ago, I sat in a new therapist’s office and ticked off the myriad ways in which I consider myself an introvert.

“It’s interesting to hear that, given how you’re dressed,” she said, not unkindly.

I had to laugh as I looked down at my outfit. I was wearing a maroon sweater vest ornamented with an abstract sequin sunset across the chest, bright yellow, embroidered linen shorts and chunky platform sandals. My enormous, teased-out hair was pushed back from my face with a pair of cyborg-esque red sunglasses. My wrists were stacked with multiple bracelets.

I am an introvert, but I dress like an extrovert. My personal style is almost always the loudest thing about me — fuzzy skirts, eccentric patterns, big earrings — it shouts my existence into whatever room I’m entering.

As someone who prefers to sit on an opinion until I’m sure of it, whose personality doesn’t fully emerge unless I’m comfortable, my clothes do the job of communicating the aspects of what I would call my best self before they are verbally apparent: my sense of humor, my voice as a writer, my try-hard-ness, my charisma, my weirdness, my curiosity.

This is a very long-winded way of providing context for the fact that October was an unexpectedly challenging month for me to attempt a chronicle of outfit mirror selfies. It was challenging because, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t feeling like my best self.

Though I’ve joked about it in the past, my insomnia has become more severe recently — severe enough that I kind of…gave up on trying to get a good night’s sleep. The resulting lack of rest impacted my mental and physical health significantly, triggering everything from intense anxiety and brain fog to a degree of stress-induced body image nastiness I haven’t experienced since college.

What a fun juncture at which to take 31 photos of yourself, huh?

It is interesting, and a little sad, to look back at photos in which the maximalism of my outfits stood in sharp contrast to how minuscule I felt inside. There were mornings when I didn’t feel like leaving my apartment, much less getting dressed in a fun outfit. On those days, my clothes didn’t feel like self-expression so much as they felt like self-protection, like a coat of armor I could put on to remind myself that I was still me, and I was okay.

And I am. I’m more okay now that I’ve started to attempt the (ironically exhausting) effort of conquering insomnia again, thanks to a teary breakdown a couple weekends ago during which I realized my cycle of apathy and anxiety was hardly sustainable.

In the weeks since, I’ve reinitiated a strict sleep hygiene protocol (which has nothing to do with cleaning my sheets). I’ve also started doing acupuncture with a specialist who is so lovely I will probably keep going whether or not it helps conk me out.

It’s a work in progress, and I think it will be for a while. In the meantime, I’m grateful for the simple act of getting dressed, and the ability to wear clothes that speak for me when I’m too scared, or too shy, or too tired.

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  • Fat Tony

    Love you and your outfits girl, stay strong, you got this!

  • Edith

    I <3 H. Harling Ross

    • Harling Ross

      dw i won’t tell alexander!

    • Emily Zirimis

      Edith beat me to it!! ❤️

      • Ashley Hamilton

        And me

        • Harling Ross

          ^^^^ i paid all of them to say this

  • I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but ask your therapist about CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). As a writer, writing things out can really help soothe anxiety and it gives you a specific framework around how and what to write to get at the issues. I’ve been doing it for a few years now on and off and it is a great tool to have in your arsenal of self-care. Take care and thanks for being an inspiration (fashion and otherwise) <3

  • Hilary

    “Putting together a real outfit in the morning gives me that “freshly made bed” feeling — it’s a way of starting the day off on the right foot, even if I don’t feel great. Today was one of those days where I just felt zapped of creative energy and didn’t want to think about what to wear, but I wish I had anyways. My teary breakdown occurred later that day. It was a pretty miserable.”

    This resonates with me. When I know I’m in a bad headspace upon waking, subsequently refuse to put any effort into what I’m wearing, and then continue like that for the day… it’s always a recipe for disaster, and only compounds my feelings of shittiness.

    Wishing you strength on your insomnia journey <3

    • Harling Ross

      right!!!

  • Hayley

    Sorry to hear about your stressful month! Love all of your outfits, though.

  • stephanie

    Carrie Bradshaw reincarnated in picture 10, I love it!

    • Harling Ross

      u make my day madam

  • Emily

    Insomnia and anxiety are tough. I’m sorry you had a hard month, and I hope that November brings better things! I really appreciate your honesty about this – so many people struggle with anxiety or other mental health issues (including myself) and it’s so rarely discussed. your outfits were still wonderful <3

    • Harling Ross

      thanks, Emily!

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    so sorry about all the sleep troubles, harling! if it helps (it probs doesnt), I can relate. Sort of. During the work week, I get, at most, 4 hours of sleep a night, even though I’m in bed and under the covers at 10 pm. I dont even know what happens between 10 and 2am, except that I’m freaking tf out about how I’m not sleeping and how tired I’ll be at work (which, of course, does not help matters one bit). I tell people about this and their suggestion — well-inteded though it may be– is to “go to bed earlier!” WELL GEE! I’d never thought of that before!! ugh. do you get this, too? isn’t it frustrating?

    i wish I could share some magical cure I’ve uncovered in the past year or so of experiencing these insomnia-like symptoms, but unfortunately, I can’t. i’ve just resigned myself to my fate and catch up on sleep on the weekend (a glorious 11 hrs per night! what a treat!) something that has helped though — not with the sleeping, per se, but with the anxiety that a lack of sleep triggers — is something called “a full body scan”. my friend suggested it to me. its when you close your eyes and starting from the very top of your head, pinpoint and mentally state how you’re feeling in each square inch of your body. it’s surprisingly relaxing. not at all tedious like i thought it would be. and while it doesn’t knock me out like i wish it would, it helps the hours of listlessness pass by less painfully.

    hope the coming months (and nights) treat you better <3 you're not alone!

    • Alexa M

      The ‘full body scan’ sounds a lot like something I was taught in a yoga class that I do when I can’t sleep – starting from your toes up, you tense and then relax each part of your body. When I do it I often find that I’ve been carrying tension in my face or shoulders without realising it and it helps me relax 🙂

    • Harling Ross

      def trying this (if only because I haven’t asked my elbows how they’re doing lately)

  • NikNak

    Not sure how this works in NY, but have you concidered medical marijuana?

  • Agh! Harling, you are fabulous, this is just further proof. It’s interesting that Leandra also has a difficult time while documenting mirror selfies for a month. I’m sorry to hear you were/are having trouble. Good luck and I hope you find solid sleep! 💕

  • Jessi Masarin

    Hmm. Just because someone is an introvert doesn’t mean they MUST dress in grey and beige and never wear a bright color or anything, dare I say, UNIQUE?!
    We’re not wallflowers.
    Maybe the anxiety of having to document with selfies added to the insomnia?

  • Harling, I love your style. I love that it inspires me to branch out (at least a little) with my own. I love that you’re writing on MR now.

    I do not love that you’re dealing with insomnia and anxiety, although I totallllly empathize with you there, especially on the latter. I hope things get better on those fronts!

  • Kristina

    Harling – Your writing is always so phenomenal, but this piece really resonated with me. I think it may have something to do with visually seeing the amazing outfit photos contrasted against more “raw” and vulnerable verbiage that made me feel such a connection with you. As a fellow introvert, I’m not sure that I’ve ever identified with anything as much as “my clothes do the job of communicating the aspects of what I would call my best self before they are verbally apparent”. Which is why a bad outfit feels so disproportionately horrible and a fabulous outfit so disproportionately uplifting.

    Also, I hope this isn’t too “woo woo” of a thing to mention, but have you ever heard of Louise Hayes? She wrote a book called “You Can Heal Your Life” that I think could help you so, so much!

    • Harling Ross

      looking that book up posthaste. Thanks so much Kristina (esp. for using the phrase “vulnerable verbiage”)

  • Babs

    Side note (and not to dismiss your rough time/cute fits): Not sure if business content is part of the plan, but I’m very curious how the HR side of the MR has developed as the business has grown. This article reminded me bc of the long-term physical/mental health situation of an employee, but there have been other articles, such as the one about the glamorization of working way too much where I wondered, “ok, but how is this handled in the MR office?” Many of the articles are very personally intimate, and I would be interested to see that transparency extended into the biz side of things/I’m sure it would be helpful for other small businesses. Employee- and female-positive policies etc.!

    • Kat

      I would also be super keen to hear about this – I work in a small office and we don’t have an HR department. When there are issues it’s a bit of a balance between people you feel you can actually talk to about stuff and people who are superior enough to change things.
      So far it’s mostly working but there’s a few small issues with my immediate boss which my higher up manager said “just talk to him” but he’s not exactly the sort of person to think about how to manage / self-examine you know? I feel like it won’t help.
      Anyway essay over, I’d be really interested to hear how you guys manage!

    • Harling Ross

      hey! I’m not directly involved with the business side of MR, so I can only speak to this as an editorial employee, but HR has definitely been a consideration as the company has grown, particularly since Matt, our Head of Operations, came on board. He functions as MR’s human resources guru (in addition to a wholeeee lot of other things) and has taken a number of initiatives in keeping with that — everything from formalizing how we onboard new team members to creating an online “Wiki” resource where we can access information on vacation policies, booking meeting space, etc. As for work stress/work load, it’s absolutely something kept top of mind to make sure things run smoothly. Sometimes that means pushing a story back a few days to give the writer more time, or working from home one morning to finish an important deadline. Just yesterday, Haley offered to take a story off my plate mid-November because she had a light week that week. Stuff like that! Hopefully this answers your question.

      • Olivia AP

        Harling, insomnia is a pain, it affects our perspective of everything. About two years ago I started getting insomnia, at the time I was unemployed and I thought that was the cause. But these past three months it came back hard, and I started getting anxious and depressed and it did reflect on how I dressed and how I interacted with others, I pretty much wanted to be left alone. I feel you, and for my it’s all about baby steps, I’m greatful for each night I sleep well. Hope you are feeling better 🙂

  • Hannah Betts

    I too am a closet introvert: I pass as an extrovert by means of (the armour in) my closet.

    • Harling Ross

      so much better than chainmail huh?

  • Hannah Betts

    Also: you rock.

  • Mar

    Harling, I hope you feel better soon. I too struggle with axiety and insomnsia sometimes and being in therapy helps a lot. In the meantime though, have fun with your clothes and be gentle with yourself. Sending love your way x

  • Haley Nahman

    My heartttttttttttt

    • Harling Ross

      my haley!

  • Jackie Homan

    Love your writing so, so much as always <3

    • Harling Ross

      Thank you, Jackie <3 <3 <3 let's have coffee soon!

  • Suzan

    Harling! I really appreciate your vulnerability in this article and I feel you on your struggles!
    The last two captions made me really happy for you, I hope the acupuncture continues to have its positive effects!
    As other commenters suggested, I also benefited from cognitive behavioral
    therapy concerning my anxiety disorder. And the practice of tensing and relaxing every part of your body in a systematic way when lying in bed has proven helpful for me too, there are 10 minute yoga sessions you can find online for that. And also cutting out screens 1,5 hour before bedtime has helped me immensely as well, but I’m sure that’s already part of your sleeping hygiene!
    The overalls + blazer look is amazing by the way! And you definitely rock that Michelle Obama dress and the vintage-y one so hard too!

  • Rachel

    Those pink highlighter pants make me so happy. I think I need a pair! You’re my wide-legged pant inspiration <3

  • Forgive me, there is a long pendant-type necklace you wear in many of the photos that does not seem to have a link included. I think it’s so absolutely gorgeous! Is there anything you can tell me about where to find something similar?

  • It’s funny how…what we portrait to society sometimes (most of the times) is not the true side of ourselves or of what is happening to us. I feel more and more that contrast even in social media, everything look ok or really nice, but… I’m sure that no one it’s trully happy in their lives, whatever the reason. I wish that more people talked/showed this contrast, like you did.
    I hope that you conquer the insomnia, I really do!
    http://www.fine-alchemy.blogspot.com

  • Sarah Bauer

    Hey Harling, I’ve been there on the insomnia front. Maybe you’ll find some solidarity and/or usefulness in this essay I wrote about it for The Globe and Mail up here in Canada…

    https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/life/facts-and-arguments/to-overcome-my-insomnia-i-had-to-change-the-way-i-thought-aboutsleep/article35857116/

  • Emily M

    Thank you for being vulnerable with your struggles! I can totally relate to using clothes as “armor” for my introvert self some days and wearing things that swallow me whole in an effort to reclaim my mental health other days. Anxiety and insomnia are not fun, kudos to you for still getting up and making something of each day! <3

  • Adore you/your writing/this & sending you the warmest vibes for a better mental health month to come.

  • Ayesha Ware

    Same here! I get up and get dressed and the goal is to ensure that no one can tell that I am unhappy when I go out into the world. My emotional stability has been off kilter this past month (a break up, I turned 44, the las vegas shooting my sister lives there, the passing of a family elder, and then I had a medical problem that required surgery). I am getting better emotionally and physically and am looking forward to November being better month for me. Get better and feel better. Thank you for sharing

  • BB

    Harling…are you me? I definitely categorize myself as well as an introvert who dresses like an extrovert! Fashion is not just armour for self-protection for me…it gives the me who is internally nervous/anxious an external confidence that I strive to embody 🙂 In the eternal words of Mindy Kaling…I am my own role model!

    Best of luck with conquering your insomnia!

  • As someone who has suffered from anxiety-induced insomnia/night terrors/sleep paralysis I applaud you for doing this. There were tons of days where leaving bed seemed like actual torture. All of these outfits are amazing and I just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration to us fellow introverts!

  • Patriot

    Brave young lady! Good for you for “coming out” about how boldness and shyness, confidence and self-loathing can go hand in hand inside the same brain! Complexity is the truth, and too often journalism seeks to simplify to the point that the resulting images or words are actually a lie. Bravo!

  • Samantha Dickey

    Your style reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw’s!!!!! Love this article and your personal style so very much 🙂

  • Veronica

    Hi Harling, people might also think EFT or Tapping is woo woo but it’s become so mainstream these days and very effective for anxiety and insomnia. Good luck!

  • Glad to hear you’re on the road to feeling more like yourself! I also dress a bit “more” when I’m feeling down, so I get it totally.

    I’m still on the hunt for more vintage tees and wide-leg pants, by the way! Thanks for all the outfit inspiration over the past month!

  • Bo

    Harling it’s so INTERESTING that you dress as an extrovert when you are really and introvert. I do the opposite – ie, wear a lot of classic striped tops and plain pants, cocoon coats and boring sneakers – as a means of making myself appear more approachable and maybe even demure? When really I have a congenital defect involving having basically no filter or as my mother puts it, “more front than a box of shirts”. If I wore a loud dress to work to match my loud personality I’d probably be reported for something. Anyway, whatever you label your style, I think it’s great. You’re always very elegant and offbeat.

    • Harling Ross

      elegant and offbeat is the way i’ve always wanted to be described. r u a mindreader

      • Bo

        I only read minds as a side hobby or when I’ve run out of water to turn into wine

  • Anastasiya Mozgovaya

    Harling, I FEEL YOU! I have been struggling with sleeping (again) for the past few months after moving to a new country and it sucks! Love your outfits! And thank you for sharing this period of your life with us! I hope the two of us will start getting proper rest at night soooon!

    • Harling Ross

      me2me2me2 <3

  • Kat

    Harling – great article as usual. L💜VE the pink trousers/red stripy shirt combo.

    I hope the acupuncture helps – I had some for pain/constantly waking up needing to pee when my endometriosis was really bad and it definitely helped. I found the effects only lasted up to a week though and it’s a lot of money to spend weekly!

    Things that help me with insomnia:
    -writing everything in my head out before I go to sleep (or if I wake up and can’t get back to sleep)
    -reminding myself that lying down with my eyes shut is still rest, and better than reading or doing things
    -Lavender
    -trying to “make up” dreams to “fall asleep into”
    -masturbating (possibly the most effective one for waking up in the middle of the night)

    My mum swears by this rainbow light thing where you visualise your whole body filling up with red light from your toes to your head, then orange light, then yellow light and so on.

  • Stephanie

    There are a lot of great looks that battle the internal feelings, but it’s so hard for me to get by your wanting to sell your susana boots, when I’ve contemplated giving up over a month’s rent for the past 4 years.

  • Ana

    My heart totally goes out to you for the rough patch you’ve had, but I also want to commend you for how great of a fashion post this is! Thank you for reminding me that clothes are dynamic and that when sleep/work/friends/partners/coworkers fail you, the shields and peacock feathers in your closet won’t.

  • Emily Legges

    Harling, this article is fantastic. Thank you for talking about anxiety and insomnia like this, I find it so disappointing that people don’t talk about these things when they’re in the midst of them and other people can relate.

    My sister and I have a great theory about style and personality, I’m taller, blonde and quite extroverted and I dress very demurely (still stylishly, I hope) but with lots of muted colours and simple styles, my sister is smaller, with dark hair and is quite shy and she dresses… well, a lot like you, in bright colours and great sillouhettes that I dream about pulling off. Our theory is that our style is purposefully contradictory to our personalities to act as a balance in the way people perceive us.

    I find that when my anxiety is at an all time high I wear almost all black, with my hair pulled back, flat shoes and almost no make up… I think it’s a coping mechanism to try to become invisible because that’s all I want at that point

    • Harling Ross

      that’s SO INTERESTING

  • Ann P

    Ah, so timely. I just want to hug you!! (which is weird from a stranger, I get that) You say the most insightful things at just the right moment. Especially as I’m sitting here working from home in my pjs because I had a rough night and couldn’t be arsed getting dressed and made up to go in to the office. And now you’ve made me cry a bit and smile and write out “I’m grateful for the simple act of getting dressed” and stick it on the mirror. And I’m also now getting up and showering and dressing in my most Ann-like clothes and red lipstick and heading to a cafe to work. Not into the office… lets not go crazy here!

    • Harling Ross

      <3 the most Ann-like clothes <3

  • Gab

    Back in April I had a really really bad episode of imsomnia (didn’t sleep for 4 days/nights). And I tried oh so many things!, but the ones that helped me the most -I prefer natural remedies, although I did take some Zzzquil to (at least) pass out on the fifth night… back to my point, sorry-… the ones that helped me the most were: A book (“A Calm Brain” by Gayatri Devi) and a glass of Tart Cherry Juice every night (Natural source of Melatonin).

  • Stephanie Silkowski

    Hi Harling – I’ve never commented on an article before (although I’m obsessed with MR) but I struggled with terrible insomnia for close to 8 months last year and understand how difficult it can be to find a solution – and how much your life is affected by the lack of sleep. I resisted getting proper medical help for a long time, preferring to try every holistic remedies and good sleep hygiene. But sometimes that just isn’t enough. I had a tough time talking to people about my insomnia because almost everyone thinks they’re not getting enough sleep…they always feel tired…etc. And it’s not like I have a super crazy job or kids or any huge stresses. It felt indulgent to talk to people about my insomnia and how much it was negatively impacting my work, my well-being and my relationships. Once I started seeing a doctor, though, she said something really simple that meant a lot – insomnia is inadequate sleep for YOU. For some people, inadequate sleep can be 7 hours, for others 5. Some people can sustain themselves on 2 hours and be totally fine. I know you’re not looking for recommendations (I know how annoying that can actually be when you’re struggling) but be sure to see a medical doctor and get proper medication if you decide that your day to day life is being repeatedly negatively impacted and you’ve tried all other solutions. At the end of the day, nothing matters more than your health and it’s okay to ask for help! xx

    • Harling Ross

      Thanks, Stephanie! (for commenting for the first time, and for this very sound advice)

  • Ava Cadee

    I’ve waited my whole life for this and it 100% delivered every expectation I had and more <3 Harling you are AMAZING

    • Harling Ross

      what! you are!

  • It’s interesting to see how the outfits reflect your mood, for the most part. Like a good mood sweat pants and leggings looks effortless vs a sad mood sweat pants and leggings looks lost. Some of these outfits were SO GOOD though.

    I’m curious about how transparent you can be about how sad you are at MR. I’m lucky enough to work in relatively small businesses where business isn’t always delineated from personal, but I get the feeling that there would be a threshold to the empathy of my employers “if I were truly to be myself” (that’s a Mulan reference) about shitty things happening in my personal life.

  • Lisa

    Please write about black bras under white shirts! And how see through we can go on the top. Tried to pull this look off recently and my husband said I looked like a villain from an 80’s movie.

    • Harling Ross

      THANK YOU FOR ACKNOWLEDGING MY IMPORTANT Q

  • Sabah Malik

    I’ve spent the whole of October in a not-sleeping anxious sad cloud, I hope your November and December and forever just goes up and up and up. P.S. you rock the hell out of a pink pant

    • Harling Ross

      “not-sleeping anxious sad cloud” = so well-put

      my pink pants and i thank you v v much

  • Gabriela Cavalheiro

    I’m an extrovert who dresses like an introvert.. 🙂

  • Kate Snyder

    amazing fantastic A+ i’m never wearing an opaque shirt again

  • sara_math

    This is important <3

  • Ella

    oh gosh i so feel you on the introvert/ clothes thing. there are mornings where my anxiety is so strangely unpredictable that i can physically not bring myself to put on the outfit i had planned on wearing because i just need my armour of mom jeans, a massive jumper and a long oversized coat. love the way you write about anxiety/insomnia, it resonates so much with me! xx

  • afish

    i never, ever comment, but i needed to give you the props you deserve for pulling these great outfits off even while battling insomnia/anxiety. i go through the same, but i generally look like a garbage monster when it happens.

    but most importantly: can i just say that ‘monthly chic breakfast’ is an amazing idea and i’m stealing it?

  • Chloe

    This is such a relatable read. I’m thinking back a few years ago, when I was in the height of my fashion blogging fame, I wore some of the most over the top outfits. And these were also times when I had the worst anxiety & panic attacks. I expressed my personality through my clothing because I knew that I was otherwise closed off to the world. As I’ve become healthier, my clothing has gotten much more boring. I no longer need it to represent “me” because I am fully able to represent myself.

    Two other things:
    This past month has been complete crap for me, too. Depression so bad that I can barely get out of bed, and I get home from work and just lay there staring at the ceiling feeling horrid. When my friends express concern (sweetly), I assure them that everything will be okay and I just need to keep trucking. “Work in progress” is a good way of saying that, too.
    Secondly, acupuncture. So good. Try cupping, too. Idk how much either has been helping my various moods, etc….but they both make me feel so good.

  • Juliana Salazar

    @harling_ross:disqus !!!!

    A sending you a cyber hug
    B I have no idea what outfit of mine you’re referencing but <3333333
    C Anxiety is something I have struggled with for years now but there are definitely times when it feels more overwhelming/harder to manage than ever before. It's almost paralyzing. I'm not sure if it's a generational issue, living in NY, a reflection of the times or what, but I think part of the issue is that it can be so isolating. Sometimes I get down on myself for even letting my stress/anxiety consume me (which obviously just makes things worse). Everyone has their struggles and it's so comforting to be reminded of that so thank YEW
    D another cyber hug <3 ok bye now

  • Jay

    I just had a major „I SO HEAR YOU“ moment reading this.

    Dressing for the moment, that is so me.

    I literally dress up for cleaning my apartment on Sundays. I wear gym clothes for doing groceries – it is exercise after all – and my prettiest skirts for those brunches on weekends with the girls (though it is freezing).

    It is an outlet.

    It feels like it at least.

    And it oftentimes helps me overcome issues I have. Like on days when I dont feel good, there is that blazer I turn to. Always. It gives me confidence cause I wore it when signing a major deal. On days where I am stressed out I tend to wear dresses, including ruffles and flowers. Don‘t know, but the femininity makes me feel more soft. And ease into the day. For days of deadlines and a lot of stress, it is athleisure for me. My co-workers know, when I’m in my ultraboost, then don’t talk to me until I talk to you. I’m in the zone…

    But, and this is sad, I sometimes feel like hiding. It is like acting.

    The clothes make me go into character.

    And I’m not necessarily what I am presenting all of the time…

    Rather: Performance.

    I wonder… is that bad? We cant always give into our feelings? We need to show up sometimes, even if we dont feel like it? We need to perform? And if clothes help, so what? Call me superficial. Call me stupid. Judge me, please. But for me, playing the game is sometimes really really really the only way it works.

    And I can get to my shit after, when in sweatpants at home. (Though I currently prefer leggings…)

  • Sophie Kaelin

    Hey Harling,
    I randomly found your article and here what I thought first seeing your pictures : not sure that this woman is sleeping well as she has a big mirror just facing her bed. And then I read the content… 🙂 You should try an other place for you mirror – putting it in front of your bed is doubling your need of sleep. It’s a little thing that I know from home harmonization. Maybe it will help you.

  • Micaela Verrelien

    I am not sure if Harling is a Capricorn (which I am) and to honest I’m note sure if zodiac signs have anything to do with that fact that this is literally me. I am a naturally shy person but the way I dress does not reflect that at all. Also, for the past 6 month I have not had a good night sleep and it makes me so upset! I think being a creative is a big part of that. Yes, you have a lot of stories and deadlines to meet but you also have new stories that you want to create and implement as well, which takes time :(. After going to therapy one thing that I learned is try to invest at least 1 day of every month to yourself. Do something that is just for you and schedule some quality time with yourself. I usually treat myself with a nice lunch or dinner. I go to a place that I am excited to go to and then I ask for a table for 1 and order the best thing on the menu. It helps me breathe and also, not focus on things that I need to do, because things that we need to do will always need to get done, but more so just living this moment for myself, it feels great.

  • Kaylan Waterman

    your honesty re: a bad month is so incredibly refreshing. especially since it’s been an odd one for me as well. best of luck finding the equation for the healthiest you. fully agree these bags of water are really tough to adequately care for. cheers!

    • Kaylan Waterman

      also, outfits 8 and 19 are my absolute favorite and really stand out amongst your other ensembles! careful maximalism? Idk! but I loved them!

  • Chess

    I can just tell I am going to revisit the phrase “to dip my legs into” every time i put on trousers. My sister once said “Off to brosse my little dents” one time before brushing her teeth and it haunts me twice a day for two minutes.

    This was a great article, thank you Harling 🙂

  • Leah

    Harling, your utter honesty and vulnerability in such a public place almost made me cry tears of support (I say almost because I don’t usually cry at work which is where I read this article.) You are so dang strong and I would give you a big hug if that would be helpful.
    In terms of your personal style, it’s pure gold much like your open and honest personality. Love the daring! Keep on keeping on! (For some reason my siblings and I watched Joe Dirt as children a lot.)

  • Miss Crystal

    I love this SO much! I can relate to the being an introvert/dressing like an extrovert and pretty much everything here. I think hiding crappy feelings under fabulous outfits is a great and healthy coping skill. Especially on days when I wake up already feeling like “NOPE.” adding some interesting earrings or wearing a particularly cute dress can be the only thing that gets me through the day. Plus I’m more likely to get compliments from strangers and that helps to get me out of my anxious/depressed/irritable/exhausted cocoon, even if it’s just a little bit.

  • Rebecca

    I will second the vote for How to Heal Your Life. Lots of excellent advice in that book. I’ve also been waking up earlier to meditate and write through my problems. Anxiety, insomnia, and depression are a bitch. So sorry to hear you’ve had a rough month. Me too.

    One thing that has helped me fall asleep and stay asleep is using ear plugs and drinking valerian root tea. Ear plugs are bliss once you get used to them. As a teen I also did a thing where, lying on my back, I’d clench each part of my body and release it, and then visualize all the feeling and all the blood coming back to my heart, and visualizing blackness when I closed my eyes. It really helped relax my body and mind so I could fall asleep.

    Also, I’d be curious to know how changing how you dress would impact your self-image. So you say it felt like putting on armor and you wear these big flashy outfits, but you still feel small. What if – hear me out – you do the opposite. You wear narrow and slim cuts, neutral colors, simple shapes, nothing super tight or clingy or suggestive. Maybe taking away that protection will help expose the part of you that needs healing for your insomnia to go away.

  • Sophie Kreuze

    Outfit no.19 was my favorite! Neverending stripe love! And the part about being an introvert on the inside, but an outrovert on the outside made so much sense, because I’m kind of like that, but I could never explain why. I can now, thanks! (my boss told me the exact same thing about my outfits and my personality the other day). Hope you feel better soon, Harling.

  • shananana

    obsessssed with the pink pants/red stripes look!

  • Carley

    important question. what size of the Joe’s sweatpants did you get!?