Social Anxiety made me feel terrible about myself TWICE in one day.
No matter how good I feel about myself and my low level of Social Anxiety these days, when it hits me, it’s not pretty. Yes, I can manage the discomfort and power through it, but the icky feeling it leaves behind is not enjoyable, to say the least. I’ve gotten much better at bouncing back after being triggered, so I’m patting myself on the back for that. But, as you’ll see, two instances really brought me down.
A few weeks ago, I went on a solo road trip to Orlando and spent the night (undisturbed) at a hotel. I, unfortunately, did not have the best “customer experience” there and was frustrated by the lack of communication and direction, which meant that I had to go down to the front desk at some point to ask some questions.
One of my main concerns was breakfast the next morning. There was no indication anywhere of the location or time of it, so I received a paper with all the instructions. Once I asked for it. Great. I knew where it was, and at what time, so I set my alarm for it.
The next morning, at around 8:00 AM, I wandered downstairs to check out the breakfast area. It was supposed to be in an on-site cafe, but it looked completely dark as I walked past it. There were dining tables there but no light or movement inside.
I walked around the lobby a bit to see where else it could be. I saw a few people staring at me as I walked in circles, peering here and there. Gosh, I can feel my tension rising right now, just reliving it. So, I did what any sensible person with social anxiety would do…I decided to go back upstairs, pack up, and check out to find another place to eat breakfast.
I mean, WHY would I ask the front desk AGAIN about the breakfast area?
So, as I circled the lobby again, I noticed people walking out from the SAME dark cafe with FOOD in their hands. I was like, wait a minute, it’s OPEN?! I walked towards it tentatively, in case I was wrong (I didn’t want to look like a dummy trying to open a locked door) when I noticed a hidden side entrance. Due to COVID rules, the front entrance was closed.
Social Anxiety made me feel terrible and stupid simultaneously.
Not only did I waste time walking around (with people staring at me), but I was also about to waste MORE time going out to find food to eat when it was right there in front of me the whole time. I didn’t ask for help out of embarrassment.
That was the first trigger of the day and made me revert to my old tendency of not asking for help for fear of judgment.
The second one came soon thereafter. I’m still breastfeeding, so I had to keep my breastmilk cold until I got it home. So, the next morning, I packed it into a little lunch cooler and went to the front desk to ask them to store it for me. They directed me to the baggage holding area and told me to ask there. I told the guy my dilemma and asked if he could keep it while I was out all day so that it wouldn’t stay in the car.
While he explained that they weren’t liable for cold/frozen items should they go bad, he placed a tag on the bag with my name on it. At that moment, he told me to take a picture, just in case.
So what did I do?
I took a picture of the lunch cooler.
I don’t think it’s hard for you to imagine the look on this guy’s face as I did that. Because I mean, WHY WOULD I TAKE A PICTURE OF MY COOLER? I know what it looks like. I know it’s mine.
He looked at me and said, “I meant, you should take a picture of the ticket in case you lose it, so you can still retrieve your bag later…”. I tried to play it off all cool while I was taking a picture of the ticket itself. “Oh yeah, of course, but I wanted to take a picture of the bag also, just in case…”. As I said that, I realized how stupid it sounded. And without skipping a beat, he said, “Well, I’d hope you’d know that this is your bag…”.
Ugh, the horror!
I felt SO embarrassed. SO stupid. Social Anxiety made me feel terrible AGAIN. It got me good. I just reacted during the whole exchange instead of paying attention to what was happening.
I kept my eyes down, said thank you, and walked out. Boy, did I not have a good feeling as I walked to my car. My heart was racing, I was sweating, and I couldn’t stop berating myself for looking like a total dumbass.
I knew I had to tell you about these two instances (and not because they were back to back), but because no matter how far along you are in your journey and how strong you feel mentally, there WILL be times when you get knocked down again. You will have an embarrassing moment or two.
And that’s ok.
What matters is how fast you forget about it and move on with your life without beating yourself down.
And if anything, you’ll have a funny story to tell someone.