Talking about this isn’t easy for me because it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable, and I always worry about people judging me…but I want to be completely honest here, and maybe along the way someone who’s going through the same thing will read this and take comfort in knowing they’re not alone.
In my last post, I talked about having social anxiety issues. I’m incredibly shy, and I have trouble doing things on my own. I rarely go out alone because of my issues, but I’ve decided it’s time to start taking steps to change that...baby steps. I know that baby steps will eventually turn into leaps and bounds if I can stick with it and be strong. I’ve overcome so many obstacles in my life, I can overcome this too.
A year ago, I was getting better. I went out on a fairly regular basis, and even ventured out alone. During the periods I didn’t feel like going out, I went anyway because I had a purpose: visiting my Grama. She was one of my best friends, and I visited her at least once a week, more if I could manage. Then last August she died and a little part of me died, too. A bright light went out in the world, and I was so lost. My heart was broken, and on the days I wasn’t drowning in grief, I was completely numb.
I reverted to my old ways, but it was worse than ever. I didn’t want to go out, and the only times I went were with my mum or friends who understand my anxiety. Nobody but Mum knew how deeply I was grieving - it felt like nobody even really cared. The whole world moved on while Mum and I were stuck grieving the loss of someone who was basically the centre of our universe. And it wasn't the first time, either...but that's a story for another day.
Lately I’ve been desperate for change. I know it’s not healthy to live like this, and more than that, I don’t want to live like this anymore. I’m tired of letting life pass me by, and I want to start really living. I don't want to let my fear hold me back from all the wonderful things I know life has to offer.
I also mentioned in my last post about the Exploring the Senses course, run by Susannah Conway. I feel like this is the nudge I needed to get out. So…baby steps. Yesterday I was watching a group of high school boys kick a soccer ball around across the street. I just watched them for awhile - laughing, carefree, playing like little kids - and I couldn’t help but smile. While I was watching them, I also noticed a beautiful rose bush near the wall of the school. That just proves how unobservant I am - it’s across the street (mind you, it’s a city street, so that’s a fair distance), and I’ve never noticed it.
That sparked an idea. The kids at that school planted a flowerbed last week, and I was curious about it because we can’t see it well from our window. I decided that I would head out, wander around, and take some pictures. As sad as it sounds, I really had to psych myself up for it. It’s only across the street, but I was serious when I said I don’t go anywhere alone. My first thoughts were, ‘What if something happens to me? What if people see me taking pictures and think I’m weird?’ And then I realized a) It’s ridiculous to think something’s going to happen to me any time I go out, and b) Who the hell cares if people look at me and think I’m weird? These are just excuses to remain stuck in this rut, and I'm tired of excuses.
So I was actually starting to get a bit excited about my little adventure, and then the skies started to darken…and darken...and it started to pour, and then storm. I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed - all that anticipation for nothing. But, by the time I finished dinner, it had stopped raining and mostly cleared off. Despite that, I thought ‘maybe tomorrow will be better. Or the weekend.’ It only took me a minute to come to my senses, get dressed, grab my camera, and head out. And I’m so glad I did.
To most people, this would seem really insignificant, but to me it’s a big step. Now I just need to keep it up.
|The flowers that started it all|
On a side note (and I feel kinda stupid for admitting this): a few weeks ago, I finally figured out what the macro setting was on my camera, and how to use it. I've only had this camera for...oh, two years...so it was about time. I've had so much fun using the setting, and I keep looking for things I can take close-ups of. I'm obsessed. I had a lot of fun with these flowers, and when I got home and uploaded the pictures, I actually thought, 'wait, I took these??' All around, a good night.
I went out walking
Through the streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones, saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking
Under an atomic sky
Where the ground won’t turn
And the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye
Yeah, I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering
I went out there in search of experience
To taste and to touch and to feel as much
As a man can before he repents
~The Wanderer - U2~