Do you remember those fruit loop necklaces you made as a kid? Stringing that pastel doughnut-shaped gems onto a string was a highlight and a half. One, because I was never allowed sugary cereal growing up and two because it meant you were able to snack for days. There was also something about wearing a rainbow on your wrist or neck that filled you with a sense of confidence in knowing that you were both a proficient snacker and an incredible creator of dry good masterpieces.
Laura Miller, the dazzling face behind a series of vegan Youtube cooking tutorials and the author of Raw.Vegan.NotGross brought about this fruit loop necklace flashback while I was watching her Youtube tutorial on Social Anxiety Necklaces. Laura makes these colourful clay necklace, which she refers to as a "social anxiety necklace," because they provide her with a "shield of calm" when she is feeling anxious. She even created a necklace to wear to her own wedding (pictured above). After posting this tutorial on social media the idea took off and you can now see a slew of these necklaces under #socialanxietynecklace.
When I came across Laura Miller's 'Social Anxiety Necklace' it took me back to those moments of creating, making, having fun, and not taking things so cerealously (haha, my apologies).
Opening up about anxiety on a media platform isn't new, but the perspective Laura brought to the table made me look at my anxiety in a whole new light by allowing me to understand anxiety as something that could be light, colourful, weird, playful, and most importantly...normal. It made me realise that hey, maybe there are other ways of dealing with anxiety that have nothing to do with taking deep breaths, isolating yourself to meditate, writing in a journal, or covering yourself in layers of shame for feeling something. A clay-necklace tutorial taught me that maybe we should play with our fears instead of fighting them and that maybe we should make light of our anxiety instead of suppressing it.
If there is a choice between bathing our fears and anxieties in shame, resistance and sadness or making big goofy beautiful colourful necklaces that remind us that we shouldn't take ourselves so seriously, I will always choose the latter. There are many ways to deal with feelings of anxiousness, but the one route that is so often overlooked is creativity. When we make things with our hands we get out of our heads and remind ourselves that we are more than our brains and emotions. And oh.my.god. getting out of your head is an even more delicious experience than eating a fruit loop necklace.