A few years ago I made a blog post about being shy and how people usually perceive me in a different light because of social media, but after further research and education, I now know I suffer from really bad social anxiety. Social anxiety is a chronic mental health condition in which social interactions can cause irrational anxiety, fear, self consciousness and embarrassment. Growing up I never really knew how to explain it but as I got older I recognized certain patterns.
Reflecting on my my adolescence, there were multiple signs indicating that something was off when it came to meeting new people.Middle school was hands down the worst experiment in my life and I honestly wish I would have been exempt, especially in sixth and seventh grade. I was the new girl in sixth grade at Indian River middle during the middle of the damn school year ( thanks Mom lol ). I was forced to be in an unfamiliar area with no familiar faces except one girl I met at rec track practice. Don’t get me wrong, even at Lake Taylor Middle I was still quiet and awkward but I was comfortable. I had grew up with a lot of the kids from ingleside elementary and my best friend, Laquisha was way more outgoing/popular than me so she kept me grounded, everything was smooth. Nobody really bothered me at that school, I had friends and favorite teachers etc. I did get in a tad bit of trouble there though ( just detention) for talking but what’s new ? Life was great.
However, when I moved to Chesapeake, Virginia from Norfolk that’s when things were put into perspective for me as far as how I felt about new people. I didn’t talk to anyone unless I was spoken to and I didn’t look at anyone, I tried to remain as nonexistent as possible. Actually if nobody saw me the better, I was so extremely terrified of interacting with those damn kids and what they’d think of me to the point where I’d just isolate myself. Of course we all know in middle school isolation doesn’t work and you become more of a target for bullies and negative interactions and that’s exactly what happened. To make a long story short, I had one friend and her name is Zaria Bazemore. She was the only one that had my back through all the fake news/drama and hating, girls wanting to fight for absolutely no reason etc. My first day there, I sat in somebody’s seat and I swear nobody liked me that whole rest of the year… I ain’t lying lol. Then apparently somebody’s boyfriend tried to talk to me and also there were rumors of me starting shit with another girl I barely even knew. It’s all silly now but back then, boiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I wish I was a rock.
To make a long story short, I got highlighters thrown at me as I was walking to class, people would make rude comments every time I was around, it was crazy. Sadly, I didn’t really know how to stand up for myself that much and since I didn’t have any friends, I tried to avoid confrontation because those Chesapeake girls liked to jump people and I wasn’t messing up my hair or face for all’at. I just took it, and that shit messed up my head and made me hate that school and people in general even more. My dad had just died… from suicide and these kids were so mean to me. I was numb, nothing they had to say to me would top the pain I was already enduring. My silence wasn’t working and my anxiety was through the roof, I didn’t want to tell anyone especially not my parents. I just suffered. I finished sixth grade feeling like the ugliest, unlovable kid there was in the US. Seventh grade made it worse. I thought I made a new friend but she would tell all the guys ( even the cute ones ) at lunch that I was talking about them and I wasn’t, I never said anything and they hated me and called me ugly. One boy even said nobody will ever want you and that stuck with me for years to come.. but I’m not going into extreme detail like I just did because I know y’all tired of reading.
That’s the time period I feel my social anxiety either worsened or became more visible. After that, I didn’t really care for making new friends and I still would go out Norfolk where I felt comfortable on the weekends. By the time I got to highschool I didn’t care for any of that, I was so used to people being mean to me that I didn’t even try to make new friends. If you spoke to me cool but I still knew that didn’t mean anything and you could still be a snake. I found my tribe of friends and I stuck to them, I didn’t mingle in the halls of the popular kids and I didn’t say much unless spoken to. If I was in a class with a few people I knew, I’d be more comfortable but I became kinda disruptive at times. Making people laugh was really my only way out of being so anxious so when ppl would try to joke me I’d clap back quickly. I’ve had my fair share of parent calls and write ups for talking/disrupting class usually not just my fault but I’m the loudest so they’d hear me first.
I hated school, it wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work I just wasn’t being taught in a way that kept me interested/challenged or enthused. The only thing that kept me sane in High School was art, photography, English and lunch. People would call me dumb because I didn’t grasp the concept of math that well but they couldn’t even articulate, spell or any of that other shit you should be able to do in highschool. Either way it really got to me so now not only was I ugly and awkward, now I’m dumb too lol. I eventually just stopped letting the insults get to me and realized most of it was coming from people who were jealous of me or liked me.