These past couple of months have been fruitful for realizations. They were simple—most likely things my subconscious has always known but never accepted. Here’s a list for reminding myself of the truths that matter. One. For a long time, I thought the issues I struggle with most were common to everyone. I thought I failed to overcome them in my early age, that I needed to “catch up” to how others had adapted. I thought social anxiety was something that came with the territory of being an introvert. I assumed others who liked to be alone did so out of necessity rather than mere preference, an escape from the overwhelming pressure of crowds. I thought it was normal to have moments where alarm steals your ability to breathe and think. At some level, I knew that things were wrong, but I had normalized my experience of being different. Being overwhelmed with the feeling of judgment by new people, prospective partners, attractive strangers, and respected mentors was an everyday experience. I suspect that's where my naturally anxious personality comes from. I'm most afraid, most tensed, most uncomfortable approaching the people that I'm drawn to. I realize now that this isn’t common. I’m trying to view the tension as my body telling me that I care. Dispelling the notion that I need to catch up, I have the space to be at peace with this behavior, to make space for myself, to let go of the pressure to “normalize” myself.
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