I recently wrote about how anxiety can cause us hassle over the holidays, waiting in the shadows on even the lightest nights ready to pounce and cause you to lose your shizz. Well this recently happened, and it’s bothered me quite a bit, so I thought I’d write it down for you all and share one of the most awkward and uncomfortable moments this Christmas period in order to try and gain some perspective – what a treat!So my girlfriends family are big performers, they love attention, they’re all on stage in some way or another dancing, acting and even their jobs involve being in front of crowds. In an ‘opposite attract’ twist, I am the complete opposite. Shove me in a corner of the room on my own with a beer and I’m as happy as a lamb. I’m not a recluse, but the mere thought of being the centre of attention makes my stomach turn and certain parts of my body clench.
With all of this in mind, imagine my delight when we were invited round to the sister in laws for ‘games’ and nibbles. Now games in my book are drunken monopoly, show Keith your teeth or at a push, energetic pictionary. In their book, it’s about laughing at each other when you look stupid. So the first game was ‘pass the sprout’ which meant we all had to wear silly teeth, stick on moustache and pass the parcel round and each layer had a joke or riddle you had to say with your teeth in. Sounds funny, no? Well in theory it was, but for me it was absolute hell. For the whole duration I was fighting off a panic attack. None of these people know I have anxiety, they just think I’m a bit odd and a bit shy, and because of this they seem to pick on it. I tried to get involved, not be a party pooper and have a laugh, so I thought ‘just go with it’. I was fine until the teeth came out, and as we put them in, everyone proceeded to point and laugh at me and only me, which made me feel so uncomfortable. I tried to shrug it off, but all I could do was think back to my dads family doing the same to me as a kid, bringing back that awful feeling I swore I’d never be put through again. As the game went on, they focused in on me more, making me read more than one thing, laughing constantly and just making the whole thingquite difficult.
I got through it in the end, feeling hot and bothered, but I got through it. But I can’t help but think I let myself down. I swore I’d never be put through feeling like that ever again, I swore I’d never go back to the place where people made me do something I so very much didn’t want to do.
At first I thought it was just me, and that they were all laughing at each other, but later when we all had to put different teeth in (they were sterilised), the same happened. In fact, I asked the question ‘why have we all got teeth in, yet everyone just laughs at me?’ Prompting no response what so ever.
I know this post makes me sound so miserable, and I’m really not. I love to laugh, I love to have a good time, I just hate being the centre of attention, being laughed at and ridiculed, and completely out of my comfort zone.
All of this has made the next two weeks and potentially the next few years quite difficult, because we’re meant to be going Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, which I definitely won’t be doing. And each time the idea of this comes up, I will in no way put myself through it again. It feels like I’m over reacting, and maybe I am, but should I go through that again just so people don’t think I’m miserable? If I don’t go, will they think I don’t like them, or is there something wrong with me? I honestly don’t know. I don’t even know why I wrote this, I just feel very misunderstood with it and I feel quite sad. I wish I was outgoing, confident, loved to perform, but I don’t. I like to laugh with people, not be laughed at. I like to have fun with people, not them have fun at my expense.
I always promised myself I’d never feel that way again, and I think I have to fulfil it.