Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Stupidity of Irrational Anxiety

So I signed up for the Writers Platform Campaign. To say this is out side of my norm is a little bit of an understatement. Of course you know if you never try anything new you never really get anywhere. Being as I am pretty much against stagnation and going no where, I figured no harm in trying.

At best I make some new connections and get some good ideas. At worst nothing happens. Besides I get a shiny little icon to put in my sidebar. How can that be a bad thing? So I signed up.

Then I proceeded to have a full blown anxiety attack.

Yes that is right I had an anxiety attack over this, and I couldn't decide if I was feeling more foolish for such an irrational reaction, or if I was going to faint because I was about to hyperventilate.

After sipping some water, doing some meditative breathing, and listening to music very loudly to drown out the office, I managed to calm down enough to function. My heart was still racing and my breathing was still catching, not to mention that fun queasy sensation I had in my tummy, but it was much better.

Why on earth was this happening you may ask. Why would something as simple as joining in on this event cause such a severe reaction? Well let me tell you.

Yesterday I equated joining this event to lunch in a high school cafeteria when you know no one. If you have never had this particularly horrific experience count yourself as lucky. High school is all about perception and who you know and anyone will tell you that your choice of lunch buddies and location are vital to how you are perceived.

I for one didn't eat lunch in the cafeteria. For the first two years I ate in the hall outside the cafeteria with my best friend. For half of my Junior year I ate in my AP American Cultures* classroom because I was doing extra lessons during lunch. The rest of my junior year and my senior year were spent eating in the studio theater with the rest of the theater kids. All of these choices said very specific things about me, mostly that I was not popular or cool.

I was alright with where I fit into the social strata. I became very comfortable with being comfortable where I was. I had no desire to make some jump into a different social group, honestly it never would have crossed my mind.

This isn't high school though. Now I am not saying I am all crazy and wanting to change who I am or what I am comfortable with, I am just wanting to stretch and expand some. I love who I am and what I am, I would like to be more though.

I think I am rambling.

Anyways, back to why I freaked out.

So here I am trying this new thing that in theory will help me grow. All I can think of though is that I have no right to be doing this. That voice in the back of my head is screaming at me that I need to just go sit quietly in the hall with my friends and not disturb the status quo.

I am somehow terrified that the other participants are going to come over and look at my little blog and think 'Well isn't that quaint' and write me off. I am afraid people are going to wonder what on earth possessed me to participate because I so obviously don't belong. I am afraid of looking stupid.

That last statement is ridiculous to me considering I am a performer at a renaissance festival. Seriously one of the first things you learn is to not be afraid of looking stupid. Trust me I look pretty stupid out there quite often, but I never care. I am safe there. It is my sandbox, and I am in character, and no one can hurt me there.

I should feel the same way here. I should feel safe. This is my sandbox and no one can hurt me here. I am doing nothing wrong here. Hell there is no right and wrong. There is me, and this is me, and I am not apologetic for being who or what I am.

That doesn't make me any less terrified.
I suppose that just makes me human. My complete lack of confidence is super unsexy and all, but it is me. I am small and insecure about things I do.

It is done now, I already joined and there is no turning back now. All I can do is smile and fake it until it is over and then feel stupid for having ever been worried in the first place. Until then though, I may need a paper bag to breath into.

* Cultures was a class that combined our English and History classes together. The class lasted two periods in the day and the material directly reflected what you were learning in the other subject, so while we were learning about the civil war we were also reading literature that was relevant to that time period. 


  1. This is how I felt before I signed up for the first time, I felt like a fake because I wasn't a 'real' writer and blogger, (whatever they are). Of course, I was wrong, everyone was so kind. And you know you can sit by me at lunch whenever you want :-)

  2.  So far everyone is being very nice, and I know my anxiety is irrational. Having a few familiar faces is very comforting though. As I was signing up I kept reminding myself that I wasn't alone. I knew you would be there too.