3 Profoundly Relatable Themes in This Book About Anxiety

Written by Aimee Pua

I get anxious when speaking in front of a crowd. I get anxious when thinking about how I’m going to be an official “adult” in a few months. (These adulting truths make me even more scared!) Hell, sometimes I get anxious before getting on the school bus for my ride home, dreading to see if there’s still an available seat for me or if I have to squeeze myself in-between wholly-alive-despite-spending-10-hours-in-school kids.

Bus meme

Getting to the point: there’s this book I read recently called How It Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes—and I think you should read it. I’ve listed 3 themes from the novel that I’m sure we can all relate to:

3 Profoundly Relatable Themes in This Book About Anxiety

3. We all get anxious, and, most of the time, we’re afraid to admit it.

THE BOOK: Sam is a ballerina and she has recently gained some weight. She gets anxious eating in front of the watchful eyes of others. For a long time, she hid her panic attacks from everyone, even her friends and family. Even when they were finally aware of her condition, she was still afraid to talk about it.

US: We probably follow a couple of “relatable” pages on Facebook and Twitter, looking through all the emotional hugots and inspirational quotes in the privacy of our own homes at 1 in the morning. We’ve totally mastered the art of smiling in public despite wanting to break down on the sidewalk to school.

anxious gif

2. We crave the acceptance of others.

THE BOOK: Sam doesn’t necessarily hate herself, but she’s overwhelmed by how others judged her figure. This led to her anxiety about her body, and her anxiety towards food. Her eating habits and “routines” have changed all because others wouldn’t accept the way her body has changed.

US: It’s hard for us to make decisions without asking a few of our closest friends and relatives. When they say no to a particular choice we want to make, we’re heartbroken. We girls can’t even buy a cute shirt we like if our friends are against it!

please don't judge

1. We find it hard to believe that the things we think are good for us are actually toxic.

(This isn’t necessarily a patama towards your exes, guys, but if the shoe fits…)

THE BOOK: Sam’s mother plays a huge role in the novel. She pushes Sam to do her best – and even more than her best. Her support for her daughter eventually turns into a suffocating bubble that Sam can’t help but think is good for her.

US: Come on, we’ve got to admit that we like about a hundred things on this topic on Facebook on a daily basis.

i feel you meme

Books like these make us feel like we’re not alone – like we’re not crazy, overly dramatic or maarte just because some things make us extremely uncomfortable or uneasy. Maybe it’s okay; maybe it’s not. Sometimes we just need that extra push of support to get through things. Of course, at the end of the day, what we really should do is find ways to love and respect ourselves, even when others can’t.

How It Feels to Fly Kathrynn Holmes anxiety


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