“Face your fears and they’ll go away” Well that’s easier said than done.
So what is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance. It is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.
Source : Social Anxiety Institute
So where am I going with this? Over the last 3 or so years I have become more withdrawn and conserved. I always thought it was because I lived on my own in uni so I had a lot of “me” time. I was my own company and my friends laughed when I used to tell them I’d play by myself, like a little girl would do with her dolls. That was me. And that is how I discovered my love for DIY. I spent my time on all things creative. I do not regret this though because that has shaped me into the woman I am becoming and I quite like her. But it really affected my life socially.
I am only discovering this now. Last year, one weekend a friend of mine visited SA from Zim and I spent the weekend with him and friends. When we were home, and it was just us (the people I was familiar with) everything was great. I was this fun person and it was all smiles and laughter. And then we would go out and meet up with their other friends. I would do a total 180. I would not speak. I could not speak. I would just giggle if someone said something funny and that was it. I tried, I really did. And I didn’t know what was wrong with me.
Fast forward to this year. I have attended events where I would try so hard to be normal. It worked in some cases and I did talk to people but deep down I was scared. Scared of saying the wrong thing, scared of embarrassing myself, scared of not being good enough. Some words wouldn’t come out right and I would stutter. Weird right, because for those who know me, that just isn’t me. These last couple of weeks I had been really having a hard time with this whole life thing, and I had no friends to turn to here in Zimbabwe. I was lonely. I am lonely. I can’t bring myself to throw myself into a crowd of people and just BE. Laugh, dance, share. That thought alone scares me.
Anyway, this last Saturday, there was Unplugged (An open-air entertainment event). I had decided not to go because I didn’t have anyone to go with. My friend Chiedza convinced me to just come and after some thought and self-convincing I went. By myself. It wasn’t so bad. But I still experienced the anxiety through my smiles. The people I met there were really accommodating and I am so grateful. I doubt they knew anything that was going through my mind or how my heart was racing the whole time!
So here I am, realising what may be wrong with me and making the decision to face it. It would be easier if I had a friend by my side but perhaps this a part of the journey that I need to face head-on.
Hey social anxiety! You will no longer have a hold on me!
Anyway, til’ next time! Let’s have fun, discover and share!
Here are a couple of snaps from Unplugged