There’s a developing level of vulnerability that I’m starting to accept. It hasn’t really been easy to navigate but it also feels absolutely necessary.
I’m beginning to recognize that when I start getting uncomfortable from my social anxiety, instead of trying to connect, I end up embarrassing myself. I haven’t quite decided if it’s something I can work on or it’s just a part that’s me. I guess it’ll come down to the ability to be able to separate myself from it. My anxiety sometimes causes me to shut down instead of show up because I become somewhat paralyzed about what move I should be making and then I don’t end up doing anything. There used to be days, even weeks, where I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) leave my home and the longer that went on, the more I convinced myself that once I stepped out into the world, everyone would know. I would deflect my anxiety by pretending to myself, “Haha, I’m okay. Things are okay. Nothing is wrong. Don’t let people see your weakness. Haha, it’s okay. I’m fine. I just want people to think I’m cool and it’s not cool to be anxious. Knock it off, Fish.”
It was exhausting.
It’s more manageable these days but fuck, I’m still intimidated when I get socially anxious. Like, it can feel sure people can sniff the anxiety out of me and be like, k, you loser and I’d be like, yeah you’re right. People don’t really respect you much when this shit is apparent as well. There have been times I would feel so uncomfortable wondering if people could sense how hard I was trying to just be social. I felt like I was being a phony not being able to do it so … easily? I just wanted to be accepted but my anxiety shield kept me on edge a lot. It still does sometimes. I get in my own head about whether or not people wanted to be my friend when I wanted them to be mine.
I’ve always kind of felt like, I was friendly enough for people to chat with, maybe, but not enough to like, establish a friendship with. I’ve also had to come to terms with my efforts as well. I have a hard time understanding how to call someone to just hang out or plan an outing with my friends. I haven’t practice that sort of thing enough because I start getting anxious about the rejection of trying. I haven’t learned to surf the waves of it yet but I’m hoping to get the hang of it. Right now, I think I’m still crashing down.
Truth is, I’ve always wanted to be seen as a person but then I ask myself is this allowed? Also, when you’ve spent most of your life mostly hiding from people while desperately wanting to be cool, you’re just mostly invisible. When you mostly just make an impression of embarrassment (which I’m really good at), it doesn’t make you come off as someone people want to know. At least that’s what I end up telling myself when I’m alone and reflect with cringes.
So where do I go from here?
I don’t really have an answer. But I think the answer lies in just keeping on. Keep writing out these anxieties so that maybe I’ll be able to own them so they own me less. Maybe I’ll stop worrying about how much of a loser I might be coming off as. That’s how I feel when I write about this shit. Maybe eventually that feeling will stop. Since I’ve been putting my shit out there more honestly, I feel less shackled even though the feelings still come. They don’t come as strongly.
And that’s probably a good thing.