Putting yourself out there

by Hopeless Guy

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There’s a goofy initiative at work where everyone on the team has to write a blog post about something they’ve done or are interested in, or whatever.  It’s been going in for a few weeks, and today was my turn to participate.

This is not the first day I’ve thought about this.

My form of anxiety allows me to worry very deeply for a large amount of time ahead of the event that will have a relatively minimal impact on my life.  Whether it’s a talk I’m giving, an important meeting, or going grocery shopping.  Any instance where I feel I will be on display is cause for over-excessive concern.

In this particular case, I decided to tell a personal story, sort of face my fears head on.  My workmates don’t know me very well, since I’m not much of a sharer.  I dug up some old pictures of my childhood, and made a blog post about how I grew up and got to where I was.  I agonized over the content.  Was it funny enough?  Was it too personal?  Even when I wasn’t working on it, I thought about it and sweated over it.

Then I sent it out.

For the next couple hours, comments would trickle in, overwhelmingly positive.  It was the best blog post they’ve seen in the past few weeks, it was great to see me open up, thanks for sharing.  There were two comments in particular that stuck with me though:

“There seems to be an alternate personality that emerges through your writing.”

“You’re not like that in person.  I didn’t expect that.”

There’s two things that I realized over the course of the afternoon.

  1. The simple act of sharing something about myself to my workmates blew my entire day.  I’ve been nervous, distracted, and overall tense and glum.
  2. There is a me inside of…me…that people would like to know, that is better than the me I project on a daily basis.  Back to the idea of walls.

Putting yourself out there when you have the sort of social anxiety I have is rough as all hell.  It would be wonderful and pat to say that it was worth it, I made knew friends, it was rewarding, but it takes so much out of me.  Do “normal” people exist without walls, or do they just demarcate their property differently?  Isn’t it exhausting for them?

Because I sure am tired.

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