Trials Over Social Anxiety

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day I stood up a lab partner. Why would I do such a mean thing? Anxiety, nerves, and fear. I can still picture him sitting in the Hunter Library at a table against the window. He had his book out and he would glance out the window while he waited for me to show. I hid behind a library stack. I would pace away and walk back ready to show. The moment before I would reach his line of sight I would stop and take my stand back behind the bookcase. If others walk by I would stare at the shelves of books. I can’t tell you what books that section held because I never read the bindings. I just thought about how I would walk up to him, sit down, and study.
I thought about making some silly slip up. It was a study section which meant I would have to talk about a subject we took together. Talking meant he may find out he was partnered with a mute, limited vocabulary, or studding spaz. What happens if we started studying and he realized I was just a dumb broad who didn’t really belong in college. I panic at the though of what if he liked me. It’s amazing how the brain can just keep thinking of situations. The situations become more outlandish and anxiety becomes bigger. This kid just wanted to study with his lab partner and in that library I was making up fictitious scenarios psyching myself out.
I forgot the lame excuse I gave him the next time we met in class but we never rescheduled that section (probably my doing). I am not in touch with that lab partner anymore but sometimes I wish I was. I would explain and give him a proper apology. I’m not over my social anxieties but I never did this again. Just have to learn to grow up and get over the fact meeting people is not a big deal. Actually, it can be a lot of fun.

Shaking Lounging Negativity

Ever read other people’s writing and think, “They are so much better than me. I’m hopeless. I should give up.” I’m not talking about strangers I’m talking about friends. For me writing is a struggle but they can write with such ease. They write and the first draft makes sense. They can sit down and write pages upon pages of a story with a word count over the thousands. Worst are the ones who never thought to write but they sit down and bang out a story. How much that hurts? It’s not their fault. I have been trying to be more confidence about by goals to be a writer maybe even an author. Sometimes I just don’t feel smart enough to succeed. I was always struggling through school. And while my mother always said do the best I could and didn’t pressure me to get top marks I pushed myself to be a good student. I got A’s in some subjects but no matter how much I tried I did get D’s and even F’s sometimes. Test for the classes I may have loved weren’t always kind. Sometimes the teacher and tutors weren’t helpful too. I can remember the negative as well as the positive but it is the negative I still fight against.

I had to keep reminding myself that just because that other student was a top student didn’t mean they would be successful. Hell, many now seem to have normal 9-5 jobs they hate and didn’t become famous or do better than me. But I am still reminded by the mean things that followed me through life. The tutor that told me, “You can’t expect to become a writer if you’re a bad speller.” Or the teachers who didn’t want me in their class because I was a “slow” student and would never “understand Shakespeare”. The adviser who told me my grades would never cut it in the profession I wanted and I should think about changing majors. The customers who were shocked I could read let alone read novels and told me I must be stupid because I was working as a cashier. Or the stranger at Starbucks that told me my goal for writing as an author was unrealistic. He said something like I shouldn’t expect to coast through life and I either had to get a job or married and pregnant because I’m not getting any younger. People.

I tried to not let it get me down. I tried to find ways around my weaknesses. At my essay exams I started becoming the Thesaurus queen so I could insert similar words to the ones I couldn’t spell. I went to the library and checked out Shakespeare plays and sonnets. I found I understood Shakespeare and even loved some I read. The adviser I went to in college didn’t help me and didn’t give me good advise but I didn’t fine out until I left college missing a few classes that would have looked good on my real world resume. So I try to hold on to the fact that I’m over coming and fighting to keep doing what I love no matter the “should’s” or “should nots” from strangers and listen to my loved ones who are great at incurring. I will keep going and try to fight for my passion.

All who read this, if you feel the need to say something to strangers’ maybe say nothing at all. You may mean well but when you don’t know the whole story you could be hurting someone. If you’re a teacher or tutor encourage and help a student learn. It may not be that you didn’t teach it right it could be the student has a different way of learning.

Everyday I fight the negative thoughts that have burrowed deep. I will try not to let hurtful words from memories bring me down today or in the future. I will try not to get angry with the ones who write with structure and ease because it’s not there fault I see their ease at writing as my failure. After all most of my doubts are only sticking with me because of my mind’s finger is on the repeat button. Guaranteed on the occasion you talk to your friends about their writing insecurities they will tell you they feel the same about other writer’s they have read.

Spring is here. It’s time for new growth. Time to get out of the house, feel the sun and warmth and shake the negative. Maybe feel inspired to write even if it’s not perfect…ever.