One of the hardest parts of deep reflection is that sometimes you receive answers that you don’t like. I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about my social anxiety, and how it affects my every day life. Taking the train to work has forced me to confront this fear of people on a daily basis. Sometimes I want to run back home and get in my bed, but I need money and this means I have to work.
Initially, dealing with people being so close to me and constantly entering my personal space was making me crazy. Every time the train car jerked and some random person brushed against my skin my stomach would curl, but I couldn’t react. It wasn’t their fault. They were stuck in the same situation I was.
Anxiety has become a fixture in my life. It follows me to work, the grocery store, and social events. My paranoid thoughts don’t ever seem to stop unless I’m alone. So I hide in my house as much as possible. Being a hermit has its perks, but I’m starting to miss people now that my social life is almost non-existent. It’s clear that I’m regressing, because I can barely hold a conversation anymore.
I’ve been thinking about ways to fix this. I could take medicine, but I truly don’t believe it does anything in the long-term, and I’d hate to go from one crutch to another. My other option is to just face it. Being on the train was the most awful, gut-wrenching part of my day back in June. Now that some time has passed, I find myself squeezing into seats between people, jumping on cars filled to capacity, and ignoring their sweaty shoulder bumps down the track. It took some time, but facing my fear on a regular basis has allowed me to get more comfortable.
I think it may be time to approach social events in the same manner. If I’m invited to something interesting I’ll just go. The paranoid thoughts will come–just like they do on the train–but with practice, I may be able to fight them off just enough to have some fun. I’m starting it off tonight with dinner, and I’m hoping for the best. At this point, I don’t have much to lose.
Being an introvert in an extroverted world can be so stifling. Everyone wants you to fit into to the normal box, but everything inside you is screaming to be free.
Last night my fiance called to invite me to a concert. I was excited because I wanted to go, and I’d been asking for months, but then he says he wants his friends to come. All of a sudden this perfect potential date turned into something I had no desire to attend. Why is it that extroverts always need a crowd of people around? I don’t get why they can’t have fun hanging out with one person.
So I politely declined, and he was shocked, because he knew I liked a few people in the line up. I explained that I didn’t want to go with his friends, and I’d rather stay home than ruin everyone else’s good time. He was perplexed, and this is the problem I have with extroverts on a very regular basis.
They’re always trying to convince everyone else how fun this social event will be. It’s like they think they know you better than you know yourself. After you turn them down (even in the nicest way), they get upset that you don’t want to have fun the way that they have fun–which in reality isn’t fun to you at all.
It’s not even a boyfriend-girlfriend type of issue. I’ve had this conversation with my mother, friends, and co-workers. The concept of being happy alone or in a small group is so foreign to them. I respect the fact that they enjoy socializing on a higher level than me, but the respect is rarely ever returned. You become the weirdo or boring one because you feel entitled to your own space. It’s frustrating, but all I can do is continue to patiently explain how my mind works and hope that one day they’ll understand.
It’s been a year and a day since I started this blog, and I want to thank you all for following, liking, and supporting in any way. I’m an introverted person who tends to spend most of my time away from people, and this blog gives me a way to express my feelings without the anxiety. Some of you have sent me kind words of support, and it has helped more than you know.
In the next year I hope to write more, show more of my art, and publish the poetry I’ve been scratching down for the past year. Poetry is probably the hardest to showcase because I can’t stop editing it, but I’ve given myself a deadline and I’m trying to stick to it. I know I’m fickle, but that might be why I have so much material. Either way I’ll keep posting, because my brain scrambles when I don’t.
Everyone keeps asking, “When is the wedding?” I just say I don’t know, because I don’t. I’m sure they’re just trying to make conversation which isn’t always easy with me because I tend to shut people out. It doesn’t make it any less annoying though. We’ve only been engaged a few months, and so far we’re just trying to enjoy it. We work in two different cities, and things have been moving so fast. So when we are together, we just want to slow things down.
Everyone else seems to be obsessed with marriage. We’re all in our late 20s, and every woman I know is focused on jumping the broom before her 30th birthday. They want to reel me into these fluffy conversations about lace, flowers, and invitations, but I don’t really care about any of that. All I can think about is work and love. I float back and forth between art and logistics. They have me captivated, and for now I have no energy to put towards white gowns.
Maybe I’ll change my mind one day, but now I just want to fall into his arms as many nights as possible. The wedding may or may not happen this year or next year. I just want to be with him, and I’m still not sure why I have to pay to do that. It seems silly to make such a fuss about legally joining the person I’ve shared my bed with for the past nine years. It’s not new to us. It’s normal. It’s life, and to be honest it’s perfect the way that it is. I just wish they didn’t have to make it into such a big thing.