I have new people in my life, and they probably don’t know that I have social anxiety. Well, that and a mild case of OCD, that I’ve also learned how to utilize fully. My good friend messaged me the other day while she was at club and said ” I want to be like Zakkarrii and make friends” which floored me with flattery. So here’s the thing, I made my anxiety, my bitch.
Bit aggressive, wouldn’t you say? Good. That’s the point. I lost years to it, days I don’t even remember, panic attacks in malls, getting to meet the Calmness of suicide (and that is the only thing I’m frightened of), and I gave up trying to fight it. I know what it’s like to feel smaller than your anxiety, and to see people be afraid and dislike you for it. I got angry at myself, and then I got enraged at the anxiety. Forgive me if I’m super proud of how far I have come.
I still have bad days mind you, where anxiety gets in my bones and paralyzes me completely for no clear reason. It swallows up whole conversations and tiny hellos like a dragon. I forgive myself and not in this weird way of accepting that maybe I’m just not meant to be a social person. I have shit to do today, thank you. I forgive myself by looking at the situation honestly (maybe I did say something a little weird) and turn a weakness into a strength, a mistake into a moment to shine (golden into navy, that’s what makes a Trancy butler. What? You don’t know about Black Butler? It’s on Netflix!)
It starts with picking friends carefully. I dislike superficial relationships less for their hollowness and more because they spike my anxiety. I’m generally calculated in everything I do (OCD, sense of control, knowing what goes next) so people who make irrational decisions, can’t explain their actions, and lie demonstrate massive inconsistencies within a few conversation; they don’t appeal to me. I pride myself on associating with people who work hard, have seemingly impossible dreams and then aim higher. I romanticize some their traits, I know, but we know the difference and when I’m happy I like to show it (by being a melodramatic fangirl). That also means I have to be honest in my relationships and take responsibility for how I make other people feel. (Just because I have anxiety doesn’t mean I can’t hurt anyone.)
When All Else Fails, There’s Logic
Thinking logically and being honest with myself is how I gained control over it. Some of my more erratic behavior in the past has been out of fear of abandonment fueled by a tremendous desire to please. Why didn’t I think I was worth very much? Because I’m typically the most inexperienced in a room and I got a big mouth coupled with a big personality. What makes that anxiety go away? Being better, having some actual skills to swing around when my anxiety and a bitch wants to gang up on me. There’s also figuring out the difference between the traits that are my own and the traits I developed for fighting the rising panic. For example, I live for challenging myself, it makes me feel good whether or not anyone else is there to validate my accomplishments. Talking to random strangers is from my anxiety, and that actually leads nicely into my next point.
Feed the Fire, Fan the Flames
It’s not a trick for everyone, but when I’m really at a loss, I heighten the anxiety. I purposefully stress myself out so I have to make a decision, commit to something, talk to a stranger. Anxiety is really just an excess of energy that likes to do backflips on your heart (not a medical statement), so give the energy a place to go. I look remarkably calm in a bar, sipping wine, don’t I? I’m not. Venturing out into public spaces, all the possibilities (both good and horrific), and watching everyone else have a friend or someone to laugh with, scares the confidence out of me. So I first go back to basics with simple actions, like holding a glass, looking up and around at the room (so I’m not hiding my face), never checking my phone (an activity that is reserved solely for disconnecting with heavy social engagement). I am happiest when I am all dressed up, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know how much we’re talking here. My love affair with makeup also seems to make me more inviting and people come up and talk to me. I used to be terrified of it, but my thinking is people will at some point ask what I do for fun, sew, drown myself in eyeshadow, exist. It’s a lot easier to show it, isn’t it? But let’s say that doesn’t work either, what am I going to do? Compliment people.
I hope this is a logical solution or thought process, but maybe if I want to interact with people, I should interact with them. Everyone wants to feel good, have their nice hair cut noticed (really, I did it myself, can you tell?), a once in a lifetime happy accident acknowledged (I did see you caught sixteen wine glasses balanced perfectly in a pyramid on the tip of your shoe, that was amazing), or even sometimes they’re feeling anxious or worthless themselves. Sometimes to get the things you want out of life, you’ve got to give a little first. You might be rejected, no one owes you their time or friendship, and thank god, it’s not just a planet with only you and that other person, right?
Make Yourself Interesting
All my life, I’ve been the odd kid out. Girl Scouts, slumber parties, group activities, I could never sit still and be normal. I’m not saying I am the most interesting kid on the block, I struggle to keep up with my friends they’re SO fucking great. I love them so much. What was I saying? Oh, yes. My anxiety got worse the more…erm, well mannered, I tried to be. The second I said fuck it and locked myself away, the happier I became. I just believed it was because I didn’t like people, but that clearly isn’t true. It was the freedom of expression, and through YouTube videos (what’s up 2006 how ya doing) and studiously people watching in public spaces, I realized that everyone will click with somebody. If the most bigotted asshole can get married, have hundreds of people at their wedding, AND start a family, motherfucker, how do I not deserve one fucking person who gets me?
I am always afraid of not being interesting or capable, so I spend a lot of time reading, writing,
arithmetic and making myself interesting…to me. Who does Zakkarrii want to be in five years? I don’t know, but today I wanted to write something meaningful to me. Tomorrow, I will probably want to hug someone, and next week I would like to start swinging with my full weight of competency at my new job. Not every dream has to be grandiose you know.
For the 666: What is your biggest weakness? What is your biggest strength? How can you turn that weakness into your best feature?
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Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels