Have you ever had an irrational fear or anxiety? I happen to have a couple.
It makes me really nervous when I’m running late to class because if I walk into that classroom late, I’m the schmuck everyone turns to look at, further shaming my time management skills.
I have an irrational fear of looking dumb. I really don’t like walking into a situation where I don’t know some sliver of info on a topic so I usually try to research said topic beforehand. I end up making a huge fool of myself and there are still some embarrassing/funny stories floating out there where I was ridiculous. I have since learned that it’s better to play dumb and allow someone to edify you, rather than talking from your behind.
My last irrational fear is meeting new people in new situations. It’s not a fear that these people won’t like me. I’ve hit the point where I understand if someone doesn’t like me. It still bothers me a little, I’m human, but overall my day is never ruined if someone doesn’t like me. I feel anxiety because I know I’m about to feel uncomfortable. I think there are very few people out there who have no problem meeting new people and always feeling at ease. For me it’s that feeling of unease that gives me the most anxiety. It’s that first leap that I’m so scared of. It’s knowing that I have to share about myself and somehow get others to share about themselves. Pulling that information out makes me feel uneasy.
I was invited to a wine tasting last night. There were many aspects of this event that gave me anxiety. First being, I was expecting a girl’s night out dancing and instead plans were switched to a wine tasting party, then dancing. Also I no longer drink, what am I going to do at a wine tasting? I’d have to explain to everyone that I don’t drink and then get the stares of “what’s wrong with that chick?” I thought about telling everyone I was pregnant and it was an immaculate conception so I really couldn’t drink…. Finally, it was going to be a large group of people, when you’re expecting to hang out with four or five people and then find out it’s more like fifteen the anxiety increases. The knowledge of the unease you will feel is quite overwhelming.
I drug my feet getting ready. The anxiety, I was feeling, was pretty high. I made a lame excuse for being late. If my good friend KP is reading this, Sorry we both know I’m lame sometimes and I didn’t want to dump my mental chaos on your event. I didn’t arrive until the very end of the wine tasting. I could say I should have overcome my anxieties and tried out a new situation but instead I shorted myself out of a chance to overcome my adversities and I’ll never know what could have been…. Honestly I’m happy I missed the tasting. I would have sat around for two hours watching other people drink wine and eat food that I can’t. I do acknowledge that I did short myself out of meeting a bunch of new people. Instead I met a few new people.
We left the wine tasting with a small group. The first stop was a pizza joint where everyone ordered a slice of probably the most delicious pizza I’ve ever seen and I looked like the anorexic chick because I didn’t order anything. That dairy would have me vomiting out on the dance floor and no one wants to see that haha. It could have increased my anxiety, making a choice not to follow the group in their choices but instead I nixed the pizza and I was proud that I offered no explanation. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, knowledge of that occasionally helps quell anxiety.
After they finished eating, we walked to a few bars. They were packed and it was interesting to see that I was the only one comfortable in them. The others stood around nervously and were too scared to push their way up to the bar to order a drink. I got a glimpse of someone else’s irrational anxieties. We walked out of those bars and went to our original desired destination. It’s a gay bar where you can dance your ass off.
There’s something about that place where it’s like you can go nuts and people will laugh at you but no one is going to stop you from being yourself. I have to say my anxiety decreased by a lot. Surprisingly, I am not afraid to dance. I just started dancing and I didn’t really stop for three hours. At first some people were nervous to dance (another glimpse of someone else’s anxieties) but as the night went on, everyone was dancing and laughing. I think there is nothing like dancing out your anxieties and insecurities. It’s a freeing experience and I had so much fun.
My point is that everyone has anxieties. Some of them are pretty irrational and they can hold you back from fully experiencing life. It’s important to be able to identify them, work on them and most importantly accept them. That and finding the humor in it. I may always live with the irrational anxiety stemming from the discomfort of meeting new people in new situations. I’d rather not have that anxiety but I’m ok with it. I can work on it and continually improve myself. It’s all manageable if you just accept your limitations and then push past them. Dancing is so worth the discomfort of meeting new people haha.