“Located on your left and right are EXIT signs illuminated in case of an emergency. When it is time to exit, please do swiftly and promptly.”
Not sure about you guys, but escape plans are comforting to me. To know I can escape when danger is imminent, near, approaching. Nothing is better for my over thoughtful and overly imaginative mind.
But unfortunately, there are no illuminated EXIT signs in everyday life interactions. Such as social situations that serve as a recipe for anxiety.
For those who are familiar with me may be a little surprised at that last statement. Ashley? Anxious? In social situations????? A social butterfly being anxious in social situations is a paradox.
Hello. My name is paradox. How are you?
I LOVE PEOPLE. AND CONTROL.
I try not to be super repetitive in my posts, but for new readers (hey y’allll), I like to give a little background for context.
I’m a performer. Lover of the arts. Danced and acted in front of large crowds. Have given several speeches as well. In these situations, I am in control of how someone is viewing me. I can speak in a way that can manipulate specific emotions and so forth. I can sense what people want from me and can CHOOSE to give them that or not.
But in social situations where everything is pretty organic, it’s sometimes a hit or miss.
Okay let me be more clear.
I graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. A predominantly white institution. So the black community became pretty familiar with each other pretty quickly. But whenever there were social events mainly just for us, such as a party, set, and especially a cookout, I felt consumed with anxiety. I never felt like I fit the mode. I was always self conscious about my weight, my hair, if so and so thought I looked attractive, if I should speak to x even though we’re not that cool but I don’t want them to think I’m “acting funny”. Stupid right? I wasn’t that comfortable with myself in the beginning. I thought I sucked at talking to boys. I felt really awkward and disconnected.
When my role is undefined in a social setting, I am anxious. Allowing people to think what they want without me providing a shield of defense, i.e. role, is pretty difficult for me.
But put me on a stage in front a crowd. And you would never know.
I HATE SMALL TALK
Man. Small talk is something I honestly dread. But it is INDEED necessary. Lots of times, I just want to jump to the part of knowing someone’s insides and ways. Yes, patience is a virtue I am still trying to master.
Those who have met me would regard me as a pretty energetic and bubbly person. I love laughing and making friends. But there is a certain type of exhaustion that takes place when I have to pretend as though I am interested in something that I do not care for whatsoever. I just don’t like the part of the standard questions. How many siblings do you have? Where are you from? Get out of here, blue is my favorite color too!
Again, I am in a position of allowing people to evaluate me without an established defense. First impressions about me are funny to hear about as time goes on, but the initial time of it happening makes me well….a little anxious if you have not guessed the pattern yet.
Control is the difficult part here as well. I enjoy love, like the next person. But in regards to showing it….Where is my EXIT sign!!??? I want to control when and how it is happening and that’s just…well….not how it works.
It is a very difficult process for me. The fear of rejection has been a huge part of my life, and it has been a process to uproot the spirit of fear out of my life. Deep down, it kills me to think people close to me would reject my love. So I choose not to really dig into that side of my life much.
*BTW. I’m being very honest in this post. And this fact makes me anxious haha*
I feel unsure in affectionate situations. I have been conditioned to believe I didn’t know how to “do it right”. Yea pray for me saints, I am a work in progress.
SO. HAVE YOU PRAYED ABOUT IT?
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Want to know something funny? But not really funny? I recently found out in my prayer life, while I was praying about my anxiety, that I unfortunately go before my Holy Father in anxiety as well. I try to push everything together quickly, and think of all the humans I have come in contact with to tell the Lord to protect them, and even more irrational anxious manners. I couldn’t believe it when the Holy Spirit revealed it to me. I rack my brain up with a list of things to tell God as if I am running out of time.
As if I only have a time limit with the Lord before He gets annoyed with me.
It crushed me to realize this.
Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants nothing more but to spend time with us.
I was angry to realize I had been putting the Lord in a category of regular humans who had rejected me.
In that prayer I just felt Him saying, “Slow Down. I’m Listening”.
I felt like a little girl who had scraped her knee, soon to get in trouble, so her only response was to quickly explain everything that that lead up to the injury.
But what kind of sense does that make? Would you punish your child for scraping her knee? The irrational fear of being pushed away for something I can’t control is something not only I struggle with, but several people I know and don’t know have bouts with it too. It almost makes me cringe to meet people with the same destructive habits as myself.
It’s hard to honestly believe at times, but God really does care about our anxious moments and the times we feel alone and the times we feel misplaced. I’m still trying to get it right myself, but be encouraged! God has placed His hand over me so many times with peace I couldn’t even understand. And it didn’t happen until I took the step to call out to Him. Allowing Him to love me through my fear ❤️
To God be the Glory