Sometimes, I just wish I knew what everyone else was thinking. I used to work in a fast paced office, where I was multitasking like a mother fucker. Constantly, I would be feeling stressed, juggling so much. My brain felt squished, tight and I felt that my face and body language would project this to the outside world. But, no one ever seemed to notice. I even would ask co-workers, “do I seemed stressed right now?”, and they would reply, “no, not at all, why?”
The inside and the outside don’t match. And, that’s what has always thrown me for loop.
I have no idea, what my outside is projecting or what others may perceive. But, my insides feel tight, narrow, flustered, scared, sweaty and way to over anxious in the name of fear.
Even something as seemingly simple like a short work meeting. My outside may appear calm in the seat around the conference table. I listen deeply to whomever is speaking. I ask questions. I repeat back what they say, make eye contact, nod in an understanding way, just like how all those self help books told me to project myself as a good listener.
I may appear calm, collected, and possible even confident. But, the reality is that my heart is rapidly beating. The sweat is forming in my armpits. I’m intensely breathing as slow and mindful as I can and telling myself my thoughts are misleading and that I need to calm the fuck down.
Because you see, I feel like I am in this meeting and at any moment, I’m going to get told that I’ve lost my job. That I messed up somehow or that my services are no longer needed.
You see, these are all irrational thoughts. I know that.
I also understand that if this does and I do get let go from work…it might just be a blessing in disguide. I get that.
However, I can’t stop the fear and panic from entering my thoughts and then releasing out through my phsycial body.
And, so I sit there in this meeting, just wanting more than anything, to have this meeting over with.
But, I hide all of that behind a smile. A smile, that everyone seems to comment, is “such a nice smile”.
I’ve been doing this for years. Living in an irrational fear, that doesn’t even make sense to me.
I’m easily intimidated by others. I assume that most people will eventually discover all my faults, think I’m so annoying and not want to be around me. So, before that happens, I decide not to be around others. I’m polite, say hello, make some small talk….but then I typically put up wall, and don’t allow anyone to get too close to me as a person. Maybe that’s why I find more connection with my backyard birds, then I do my actual neighbors.
Maybe that’s why I hike so much and try to escape the city surroundings so much.
In anycase, it’s only been a year or so since I’ve been aware of this within me. Before, I assumed EVERYONE felt the same as me. But, after being told, that I very likely have a high amount of anxiety, I’ve looked at the world a lot differently.
I see a lot of calm looking people and wonder if their inside matches their outsides.
Through meditation, I’ve realized that my mental and physical reaction to things, are first covered in a ton of anxiety. It’s blanketed with them. And that I can’t just react. I need to sit through the uncomfortableness of if first. I have to be calm, patient and silent. And then after some time, I can clear my mind and get a better grasp on my emotions and thoughts.
I’ve been working on it through, meditation, journaling and yoga. I feel like for the past year, that has been my complete life. I’m still no where near the finish line. In fact, I don’t think there is an actual “finish” line. I think this is just something that I”ll always have within myself. I can only lessen it’s strength through my practice. And there are still plenty of times, I fuck up.
Plenty of times, where I just can’t be still in the storm. So, I get a beer, or a blurt out negative thoughts out loud, or I go eat some sugar and carbs, because for a few minutes, that makes the storm, seem to clear out. However, it never extinguishes the storm. It only temporarily moves it away.
The storm will have to eventually come back towards me at some point.
I feel the storming coming toward me now. A storm, I’ve been pushing away for a long, long time. And, it’s got me so scared, I’m a bit paralyzed right now. I’m doing the old things, I used to do to push it away. I’m drinking. I’m not writing. I’m distracting myself by focusing on all the things that are not going right.
But, I have to just man it up. Be still in the storm. Such a hard thing for me, not to try to fight it back. But, I think this time…I have no option. I can’t keep pushing it away. I have to just let it roll over me.