I Wrote (most of) A Poem

“That’s me sittin’ in the bathroom with the lights off.
Nobody knows the kind of stuff I gotta fight off.”
~Eric Hutchinson

The first two rhyming lines aren’t mine.
I just wanted to say what social anxiety looks like…
I want to invite people who are important to me to spend time with me,
But I feel like there’s no way they want to do that.
They’re too busy.
They’ll view my invite as an(other) obligation.
I’m not as important to them as they are to me.
In fact, they probably don’t want to hear from me at all.
I’m annoying and weird.
I’m a chore.
I’m exhausting.
And I can’t tell them I’m feeling this way,
Because that seems passive aggressive,
Like I’m trying to make *them* feel bad because *I’m* socially anxious.
Like I want them to feel guilty that I’m not their number one priority in life.
Like it’s their fault somehow that I’m like this.
But that’s not what I mean.
That’s the last thing I want; to make somebody else feel bad.
Especially on my behalf.
And none of that’s true.
I don’t even want to be anybody’s top priority, really.
Just maybe ‘a’ priority.
Everyone has a life to live and other connections to maintain.
I get it.
I really do.
But canceled plans still hurt.
And polite declines still feel personal.
It’s hard for me to reach out because those canceled plans and polite declines can ruin a day…a weekend…a month…
I should be able to tell them that, but social anxiety isn’t an enemy they fight.
It’s invisible to them.
They don’t know what this is like, and they don’t understand me.
I know from the past that telling people about it produces those reactions of guilt and withdraw.
It’s perceived as me being attention hungry and selfish, and I don’t want that.
So I don’t tell them about the anxiety.
And I don’t plan anything.
And I end up not talking to them at all.
And everybody’s actually totally okay with that.
And they all think I’m fine.
Except I’m not.
But I will be.
I always eventually am.
And they’ll never know about that time in between when I wasn’t fine.
Because I won’t tell them.
Rinse and repeat.
Social anxiety looks like writing a free form poem about social anxiety and then being afraid to click the ‘post’ button.
Because what if it gets a bunch of attention?
What if it doesn’t?
Which one’s worse?
Tough call.
Fighting social anxiety looks like clicking ‘post’ anyway.

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