Hillside Dancer

This poem is the sister poem to my last post, Minefield.

I want to view socializing
not as standing in a minefield,
but as dancing on a hillside.
Still not risk-free nor pain-free;
inherently unsteady.
Falls (rejections, awkward moments, etc.)
are inevitable.
But unlike missteps in a minefield,
they will never be fatal.
They will cause bruises
that hurt in the moment,
but heal with time.

The hillside dancer can move joyously
not because she faces no risks,
but because she views the risks realistically.

Minefield

Having social anxiety
is like being in a minefield.

You fear that one misstep
(i.e. one awkward moment,
one poorly constructed sentence,
one accidental overshare,
one missed cultural reference,
etc. etc. etc….)
would mean complete
social and emotional
annihilation.

So, naturally, you don’t move.
You just stand there,
paralyzed.

The Life of a Socially Anxious Writer

  1. Write something.
  2. Put it out into the world.
  3. Die of embarrassment.
  4. Slowly realize that, in spite of intense feelings of shame (what BrenĂ© Brown aptly calls a “vulnerability hangover”), you’re not, like, *actually* dead. At least not in the technical, literal sense. And what a shocking revelation!!!!! You really thought you were!!!! In fact, you were quite convinced!!!!! Start getting the itch to write and share your writing again (where did THAT come from???). Forget how painful and awful it was the last time. Start believing and hoping that MAYBE, despite the disagreement of ALLLLLLLLLL your inner demons, you just might have something important to say. Bravely or stupidly (<— you’re never sure which) decide to soldier on.

5. Write something again.