Tag Archives: social anxiety

Can’t let anyone know I am one crazy b… bean?

Daily Prompt: Unsafe Containers
Which emotion(s) — joy, envy, rage, pity, or something else — do you find to be the hardest to contain?

When I first started working at my current job and I wanted people to like me, well at least not be too prejudiced towards me, I was trying to appear “collected”. It was an especially hard mission since I was there with my dear John’s Wort to contain my social anxiety which at times makes me overexcited at the smallest thing.

However, since the workplace is one huge loft where not even cubicles can hide an embarrassing gesture, headphones are the only means to create a little invisible ball of privacy around the brain. And like so many other souls out there, I chose to listen to music through the earphones to get myself motivated.

Although I am not much of a musical person, I knew from experience from street performers to bookshops where some background music may be on for a little ambiance, I cannot help moving to any rhythm… As soon as there is some sort of a beat I like, a little tapping begins on my foot, and slowly climbs all the way up to my shoulders, finally reaching my head. This might be OK at a pub or even on the street but at work, the result is one jerky woman trying to type some stuff on her computer.

So the first time I had the rush of happiness to dance at my serious workplace, too serious for a video game company, at least, I had to pull my headphones off my head and take a deep breath and wait until my heartbeat took up a lighter pace.

Now, I only listen to news and John’s Wort is out of the question. It turns out it is much easier to concentrate on translations and even on games while sipping green tea to sooth bouts of anxiety and listening to stock market crashes than Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” song.

Come to think of it, I am one weird assembly of a personality where a social attraction like dancing and fear of people’s reactions as in social anxiety have been inserted into the same brain. It is hard to find a balance between all those feelings rushing through…

So if you ever see a shy woman who cannot help dancing on the street to the slightest tune, it might just be me…

Headed to my playlist now…

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So, where was I? And where am I now?

Female Trapeze Artists
Female acrobats on trapezes at circus. Hand-colored lithograph by the Copyright by the Calvert Litho. Co., Detroit, Michigan, ca. 1890.
From the Library of Congress
[PD] This picture is in the public domain.

I was away on vacation for a few weeks, back home in Turkey, visiting, hugging and talking to friends and family, remembering what it feels like to be loved…

No, I take that back. I do feel loved now, here in Montreal, so far away from Anatolia, but being back there gave me space to err… Spending evenings with parents helped me remember the feeling of having a safety net underneath my acrobatic jumps between jobs and housing quests. It reminded me they would be there for me no matter what I did, and they would not let me fall even when I missed a swing…

Seeing my friends, observing the sincere happiness in their faces to see me, knowing that they accept me with every attractive and weird aspect of my personality gave me confidence… They embraced me and invited me to days where social anxiety was a thing that only belonged to an outside world among strangers… It gave me confidence to make silly jokes and voice experimental ideas that had not yet fully formed but needed to be pulled and tugged at to find its final shape and place in my head.

Being back home gave me confidence to reassert who I really am, without having to censure thoughts or actions in accordance with who I am frequenting.

And now, after almost two years in Montreal and more than a year at a steady job, I feel a similar fort of friends building up, though still in its preliminary stages of construction in certain ways… I feel more freedom in my moves and fewer filters before words formulated in my head become words in others’ ears. I feel greater courage in taking bold steps as I slowly bond with a small but strong group of allies.

Yet, one thing that cannot be subsidized is the safety net family offers. I have to accept this as the cost of immigrating away but it does not change the fact that I miss crowded family gatherings. Although we do not celebrate Easter holiday in Turkey, I wish I could be at my grandparents’ dinner table, waiting with cousins for our share of the chicken…

Happy Easter! Enjoy all the love you find!