I don’t quite have social anxiety. I don’t quite have social phobia. I think a lot of people see me as loud, confident and some maybe even think I voice my opinion too freely. That’s because when I’m passionate about a subject, I want to share that passion.
A couple of years ago, after returning from a birthday party for one of my dad’s friends, I overheard him saying to his girlfriend “yeah, we’re both quite shy.”, the we in question being him and I. I’m not sure why, but I resented this.
I knew full well that it was true, that when I saw other kids my age I preferred to look down at my iPod or book because that’s what felt safer and that meeting new people made me so uncomfortable that it made me literally tremble. But I wanted to be outgoing and confident and funny. I knew I could be that person and I wanted to reflect that into reality but I just couldn’t transfer that version of me anywhere else but inside my head.
I had to be that person. So I changed myself. After going through a crappy time where I cried whenever someone said something the slightest bit offensive and full on fighting with people if they did something to make me angry, I just stopped.
Instead of crying, I laughed. Instead of fighting, I walked away. But then something happened. Now that I had completely disregarded my emotions, I kind of lost any for others as well. I didn’t emphasise, just got pissed off. Jesus, I was the literal definition of passive aggressive. But under all that anger and bitchiness, I was still that girl who got emotionally distressed by something as simple as meeting someone new.
If I was introduced to a new person, I’d get extremely worried that they’d think I’m awkward or weird or simply not nice to be around. That stressed me out a lot. But I forced myself to keep that inside, and smile, and talk loudly. Before I got braces, I didn’t smile with my mouth open because I was ashamed of my teeth so I used to smile really wide with my mouth closed. I did this to seem friendly and welcoming but turns out it just looked like a serial killer on crack.
Anyway after that plan had crashed and burned, during this time I had somehow managed to accumulate a group of friends who I could actually trust and “be myself” around.
These are pretty much the only people I really talk to and confide in, although I don’t think they are even aware of that. I try to be friendly with everyone (apart from a few sworn enemies) but I don’t think that many people truly know much about me. Apart from my tight friendship group, relationships with people outside that don’t usually last long and I’m often left feeling uncomfortable about the things that person knows about me now that we’re no longer friends. When I’m close to someone, even if it’s for a short period of time, I tend to overshare (and now on this blog I guess I’m doing that on a bigger scale) which isn’t a very good idea when you don’t even truly know you own identity.
I think I have a lot to work on.