You don’t know me, but one day I hope you do.
I hope that one day you’ll roll up to a gas station in Big Sur looking for a nice burrito and find me soaked to the knees with two handfuls of Vienna Sausages at the counter.
I long for you to stumble drunk into a 6th Street dive and step on my shoe, and spill my drink, and steal my audience.
I want you to hog the trail at Redcloud Peak and ruin a casual summit attempt with your empty observations of the state of the American White Male.
I desire to feel your breath on my neck as we are crushed in the crowd of revelers at a gay pride parade in a southern state while dejected Freemasons look on with dagger-envy eyes.
I wish that I could stop you from approaching the public restroom some where in Joshua Tree where a rattlesnake is waiting to turn its fear into your death. I’ll be hot and miserable from fornicating on Mammoth Rock with my gorgeous geeky Herbert-worshipping soulmate to overwrite the fallacies of a regurgitated youth.
I won’t be at any of these places yet, because I am not ready. Postpone your excursions.
Our intersection will have to wait. I am unable to function normally in social situations at this time.
I have no close friends and feel empty-handed at gatherings where my soulmate, my lover, my partner brings her close friends around.
“Here is my best friend.”
I am sorry. I don’t have one to reciprocate.
I don’t talk about my problem as if it is an easily labeled “anxiety disorder”. The inability to act in public without partial emotional or mental collapse, as far as I am concerned, is a struggle between two inner versions of me, both with different paths in mind.
I shy away from being egotistic and narcissistic, though I would thrive with those traits as accessible weapons. My warring halves signed a treaty banning outward displays of ego many decades ago. The DMZ of modesty and humility remains an unpopulated wasteland though, when, for all intents and purposes, it was meant to be a neutral ground of balance for the opposing forces of my psyche to meet and bake bread and get politely drunk and sing They Might Be Giants-laced karaoke with each other.
I have started attending therapy sessions to attempt to find balance again, or at least gain some new weapon in the war.
These people are judging you.
No, these people aren’t paying attention to you.
If you performed like you write, you wouldn’t have this problem.
Great … now I cannot write.
I had to abandon my last therapist. I signed up with him to satisfy an urgent need, he was the only one available on short notice. Halfway through the hour, I was listening to him talk about his being sexually abused as a child and about how my own anxieties are the result of shame, just like his own spiral of shame, meth, sexual abuse, redneckedness, and ignorance.
Tell me about your penis, Mr. Therapy Man, I say, leaning back on the comfy couch, reaching for a clipboard and pen that are not on my side of the small room. You have 15 minutes left to explain how me sharing my logic, spirituality, and personal philosophies with someone who cannot comprehend a word like ‘brevity’ is going to help me subdue a dark side that can be just as intelligent and manipulative as the real me, but with a Magneto/Dr. Doom/Baron Mordo/Mandarin/Red Skull-type complex.
When you feel guilty about considering to dump your therapist, its time to dump your therapist.
My new therapist at least pretends to understand my Golden Path, my epic ipseity, my personal strife. She specializes in child and family therapy and I realize now that if the original incident that was catalyst to the endless cycles of hives and embarrassment took place in my childhood, perhaps it needs the approach that is used for children and adolescents … spiked with my adult sarcasm and evolved psyche.
I have a good feeling.
But back to my madness.
I want to be epic, but I fear that you can’t handle the epic.
I fear success.
Social anxiety to me is an infinite struggle between the person I have the potential to be tomorrow, and the person I was yesterday. I don’t care about what you think of me. The odds are that you are insignificant in the larger scheme of my life. I will roll on.
My anxiety is the battleground of a much larger conflict that goes beyond how I am perceived by the rest of the universe.
I exist. I can see a path I wish to take, but I can also see every other path and many times a number of the paths branching away from those branched paths. I am not embarrassed by the possibility of misspeaking or being uninteresting – I am fearful that I may make a decision that’s consequences ripple far enough into the future that the path I wish to traverse becomes impassable … therefore forcing me to choose another path.
I fear my future echoes.
I fear my future self.
I really want you to meet him.