Why? Because social anxiety, that’s why!
I reached this point a long time ago, the point at which I congratulate myself for speaking to someone, for appearing confident, for having a laugh with strangers, and so on. I probably seem strange when I tell someone, like my dad, a number of times that I spoke to someone and said or did this and that. I may share these mundane tidbits because it matters to me.
Normal people—whatever normal is—probably won’t get this whole thing about being proud of stupidly-simple things that many take for granted. There are people out there that do the unthinkable and come back home in one piece, whereas I, a lowly nobody trying to be a somebody, feel fantastic if I do as I just did.
I’ve just come back from the chip shop. Two portions of onion rings and a chili burger with vegetables in it, just in-case you were wondering, and it was bloody fantastic. I behaved confidently, I was friendly, and I believe I was well-received. The guys there, and indeed the woman who also works there, probably see me as just a ‘normal’ person, albeit a quirky person. Such
limited social success I owe to my dad, the very same guy who seems to know every person, in every place.
The thing is, despite how I acted, inside I was anxious. I was anxious about the other guys in the shop. I was worried about what I was going to say and whether I would say it right. I was worried about how I looked, whether I stood properly. I was worried that I didn’t have enough money on me because that would result in an incredibly awkward situation whereby I wouldn’t be able to pay for the food. How did I deal with my anxiety? Well, I paced, … I paced a lot. I didn’t pace like I was mulling over the idea of world domination, I just, you know, paced! I also distracted myself with the posters on the wall, because after all, for what else are they there? You’re meant to look at the bloody things. The pacing was for two reasons, really: 1) I burned some of the energy that was building up as a result of the anxiety, and 2) I would have possibly looked a bit strange just stood in one spot the entire time, stiff like a brick.
I have a flatmate, or roommate if you’re American, and he’s a jolly splendid old fellow—I don’t know, I typed American and suddenly felt the need to flex my British muscles, old boy. The thing is, this guy has his own issues as well, but I still feel a success when I have a good conversation with him, especially even a laugh!
Laughter is important to me. I’ve always been a jokey sort of guy, thanks largely to my dad’s crazy sense of humor. I’m one of those people who makes jokes at inappropriate times, and when I don’t, I’m crunching on my tongue and laughing in my mind as I try to stop myself from sharing my crazy mind with the world. If only I had all the crazy thoughts written down somewhere!
It matters to me if I talk to you. If we have a laugh, I take that home and I’ll smile about it, because you know what? I earned that social interaction.