5.7

A Brutally Raw Insight into Social Anxiety. {Poem}

party alone

When Strangers Dictate Your Calm

Count to ten.
Breathe.
You’ll be alright.
Everything will be alright.
You’ll have fun.
Remind yourself how much you need this.
How long it’s been since you’ve forced yourself out of the comfort of your room.
How many calls you’ve ignored.
How many invitations you’ve declined.
Today will be better.

Walk in.
Avoid eye contact.
Keep your head up.
Left, right.
Left, right.
Don’t draw attention.
Sit.
Don’t fidget too much.
They’ll know.
They’ll smell your fear.

Stop telling yourself you look weird.
They aren’t laughing about you.
They’re staring because you’re different.
Maybe you shouldn’t have showed this much skin.
Maybe you should’ve worn different shoes.
But it’s too late now.
Why do you always do this to yourself?

You are here for your reasons.
They’re here for theirs.
Stop looking over.
There’s nothing to check on.
That woman shrieking with laughter isn’t laughing at you.
Why does than man keep glancing over though?
Steady your hands, they’re shaking.
Pray no one saw you miss your straw.
Try again.

More people are flooding through the door.
The music is getting so loud you feel it in your throat.
When did your clothes get this tight?
You need to pee but you hold it in.
Sit planted in your seat so no one will see your trembling legs.
Stay hungry because you’ve forgotten how to eat.
Try not to stare as you watch mouthfuls of food being effortlessly consumed.
How do people do this?
You’re only normal when you’re alone.

Give it 5 more minutes.
Then leave.
Your friends always understand.
Apologize profusely.
Laugh.
Promise to make it up to them (again.)
But don’t let them see the terror in your eyes.

Get up slowly.
Try not to run.
Ignore all the eyes without meeting any.
Finally make it to the safety of your car.
Wind the window down.
Dissolve in your seat.
Light a cigarette.
Exhale relief.
You are free.
You are free.

 

*

Relephant Read: 

Coping with Social Anxiety through Meditation 

 

Bonus:

 

 

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Author: Naomi Hon

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Holly Lay/Flickr

 

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

laportama Dec 2, 2015 6:23pm

Carl Jung — who knew what he was talking about — said, and I quote, " our destiny is the external manifestation of our internal subconscious conflicts," also translatable as "when we are disturbed it's because something is wrong with us." This is the result of an infinitely improbably infinite serious of unlikely — adverse– decisions. In Light on Life, BKS Iyengar describes the ripples at the bottom of a pond that are manifested on the surface, that result from recurrent, ahem, trauma. But the cause is not even closely proportioned to the treatment, that is yoga in its many forms, especially meditation. The 12-steps have a lot to offer; keep in mind that AA didn't invent them, they rediscovered something that was almost identical in the early 1500's. And the Gospel – I'm offering a breadth of concepts and sources for a reason — is an announcement that there is GOOD NEWS. What's the good news? That there is good news! Huh, what's the good news? YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIVE THAT WAY ANYMORE.
We have the spiritual toolkit to salvation through many routes, but being ordinary humans, most of us will choose — way past its usefulness — to hold on to the old way of thinking, and try to ego through it by repeating "I can fix this!" or "Poor me". Each time it gets more established. One MUST surrender to win. MUST. There is no cure on the road we're on. There is, however, finding a new path. Knock and it's answered, ask and it's answered, seek and it's found. BY FINDING SOMEONE WHO HAS ALREADY FOUND IT and asking for guidance and light. The recitation of the problem is part of the problem.

laportama Dec 2, 2015 6:22pm

Carl Jung — who knew what he was talking about — said, and I quote, ” our destiny is the external manifestation of our internal subconscious conflicts,” also translatable as “when we are disturbed it’s because something is wrong with us.” This is the result of an infinitely improbably infinite serious of unlikely — adverse– decisions. In Light on Life, BKS Iyengar describes the ripples at the bottom of a pond that are manifested on the surface, that result from recurrent, ahem, trauma. But the cause is not even closely proportioned to the treatment, that is yoga in its many forms, especially meditation. The 12-steps have a lot to offer; keep in mind that AA didn’t invent them, they rediscovered something that was almost identical in the early 1500’s. And the Gospel – I’m offering a breadth of concepts and sources for a reason — is an announcement that there is GOOD NEWS. What’s the good news? That there is good news! Huh, what’s the good news? YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE THAT WAY ANYMORE.

We have the spiritual toolkit to salvation through many routes, but being ordinary humans, most of us will choose — way past its usefulness — to hold on to the old way of thinking, and try to ego through it by repeating “I can fix this!” or “Poor me”. Each time it gets more established. One MUST surrender to win. MUST. There is no cure on the road we’re on. There is, however, finding a new path. Knock and it’s answered, ask and it’s answered, seek and it’s found. BY FINDING SOMEONE WHO HAS ALREADY FOUND IT and asking for guidance and light.

Joe Oct 1, 2015 8:03am

from a brother who feels you, thank you Naomi for sharing your gift <3

Read The Best Articles of the Week
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.
CLICK TO SEE WHO WON

Naomi Hon

A 22-year-old empath born and bred in the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I make up for my 5-foot tiny frame with a laugh you’ll hear 50 feet away. A horror nymph who’s sold her soul to Indie rock ‘n’ roll, I’ll forever be in awe of all the chaos and beauty of the world. Paper is where I get naked.