Confessions from the quiet one

I think I lack courage, most days.  In class, I’m the kid whose name you don’t quite know – but that isn’t your fault; I try to make myself hard to notice.  

I don’t speak very often because I am afraid.

I analyze every way a conversation could go.  As I speak, I am agonizing over every word that comes out of my mouth.  There is a silent whirlwind of chaos in my mind; it buzzes with questions and anxiety.  

Am I doing this right?

The fear to do something wrong has always plagued my mind.  Perhaps this is a silly thing to worry about.  Perhaps, you think I must be a little crazy, to be so obsessed over a little thing like speaking.  And maybe you’re right, maybe I am a little crazy.  I tried to explain my perpetual angst to my friends, and they too, were confused by my distress.  

I’ve entertained the idea that this fear comes from the fact that humans can be quick to judge; we place labels and group people into categories based purely on the little we know about one another, plus all the stigmas and stereotypes that have found their ways into our subconscious.  I fear this judgement system of sorts, and strive to make the best impression on the people I meet.  

And doesn’t everyone?  I can’t say, as I am not “everyone”.  But surely, we have all been a little curious about what someone thinks – whether it be a friend, a crush, a stranger.  

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that everyone is in the same situation – wanting to be accepted, to be liked, to fit in.  Conformity, I have decided, is a factor behind this lifelong phobia of mine.  The normality that is accepted in society is what people crave.  And to think that such a simple human desire was driving my anxiety brings a little comfort.  

Perhaps you and I and everyone else are linked by these underlying human wishes, and if we all crave acceptance, we should give it to one another.

I don’t speak very often because I am afraid.  

But maybe you are too.