A Beginner’s Guide To Being A Socially Anxious Queer Person
You’re 9 years old – a wide-eyed, little girl with bushy eyebrows and curly hair. When you laugh, uninhibited – it’s obvious that your front tooth is missing.
You like being around people – you like the way their hair curls when it grows too long, and the crinkles that make themselves at home around the corners of their eyes when they smile wide enough.
But somehow, they never seem to smile at you.
Your teachers don’t think much of you. Could you blame them? They don’t know that you’re terrified to look people in the eye – hands trembling under your tattered grey jacket, unable to breathe, drenched in cold sweat and plagued by monstrous pangs of nausea.
You know the answer to the question the teacher just posed, of course you do. But your hand trembles on its way up, and you swallow your words – keeping them stowed inside of you, until your intestines are a soggy clump of tissues, words, missed opportunities, regret and blood.
Lazy: that’s what they called you – not realizing that the silent 9 year old girl they glared at with utter distaste, would someday, learn to equate her feelings of crippling social fear and panic to mere laziness. “She’s just shy”, your parents explain to their friends, who look confused when you stutter over your words and refuse to make eye contact. They smile and look away, thankful that their children are loud and obnoxious, as kids should be.
You grow up feeling like a disappointment.
A weak, incompetent mass of flesh that couldn’t ask a waiter for a napkin.
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Artwork by @haavbhav
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