By Holly Riordan
I never feel relaxed. I never feel safe. I am always on the edge of my seat, worrying about what will happen next. I am always waiting for whatever ounce of happiness that I have to be yanked away from me. For the charade of calmness to come to an end.
I am scared to send the first text because if the person takes too long to answer me, I will feel like our entire friendship is a lie, like no one wants me around. I am scared to speak to strangers in shops and street corners because I am worried about being judged, I am worried that they will see exactly who I am and realize it isn’t anyone good.
I am scared to raise my hand in class. Scared to send emails to my bosses. Scared to dance at parties. Scared to leave my house to socialize. Scared to exist.
And I am scared of bigger things. I am scared of death. I am scared of walking through darkened city streets and riding packed subway cars and merging onto busy highways because of the horror splattered across news tickers. Because I am worried about becoming another statistic.
I am even scared when I am inside of my own home, when I am around the people who are supposed to make me feel at ease, like there is nothing to worry about. I can’t trust anyone. I can only trust myself.
But at the same time, I can’t even trust myself. I can’t trust my memories because I will replay a conversation in my mind again and again until I realize that the other person looked at me wrong, that they spoke sarcastically, that they seemed annoyed.
When that doubt creeps inside, I don’t know whether I am being a realist or being ridiculous. Whether I am overreacting or finally seeing things the way they were meant to be seen.
Fear follows me everywhere and my insecurities tag alone, too.
I am always uncomfortable, no matter the situation. During long silences, I freak out, hoping the other person isn’t bored of me. And when they are speaking, instead of fully paying attention to their words, I pay attention to whether I’m making too much eye contact with them or not enough. Either that or I fumble through my brain, trying to come up with the response I am going to give them once they stop talking.
I am only half listening. I am only half there. I am only half existing at any given time.
I am always uncomfortable, even when I am alone, because that is when I have the most time to think. And thinking is the worst thing for me. My brain is my worst enemy. It convinces me that I am unattractive. Unlovable. Unbearable. It makes me doubt whether I deserve all of the good things in my life — and convinces me I deserve all the bad things.
I am always uncomfortable. It has always been that way and I am worried that is never going to change.