The hardest thing about social anxiety is the spotlight effect where I feel overwhelmed by having all the attention on me and attempting to blast through it. I don’t know why it has always been a focal point for as long as I can remember since my childhood days and I care so much about what people think of me. Not only do I care but when I know my nervousness about being seen is apparent, I get overtaken by thoughts of humiliation. One central thought I have in those moments is my perception that people seeing the beginnings of my nervousness is somehow a weakness that people will inexplicably laugh at me for.
That is what happened today during my Earth Day trip with some of my school club friends to the urban farm. One thing that staff members at this worksite really like to do is start the workday with an introductionary circle where everyone gets to introduce themselves. It was incredibly awkward when the main staff member who I’ve only worked with a handful of times pushed me into the limelight and said I’d talk about my club and about myself. We are from the Sustainability Club, and honestly, even in social circles at school, I find it difficult to explain to people off the top of my head what sustainability is actually about. I got tongue-tied and I think I said something about the club being inactive but that we were working on being more active. I could have kept going with that and said one of the ways I was trying to do that was by involving club members in more environmental activities like at the urban farm. Instead, I froze and the staff member appeared to realize I was struggling for words and then took over for me by going into a few sentences about what she recalled from working with me and how far I’ve come.
This supposedly “embarrassing” moment stuck out to me for the rest of the day and it still does, hours later, after the fact when everything has already been said and done. Also, towards the end of the workday, we each had a few moments to reintroduce ourselves and describe in one word and a few sentences how we felt about what we accomplished that day. My word was “fulfilled” because I got to work in a large group for once after not worked alongside that many people in a while. I just hate that I let myself feel so bad because of one incident. Two of the club members who stayed for most of the workday left early, and only one club member remained for the whole workday. I separated from her outside the subway station where I was headed home and she was going to hang out in the park for a bit. Before we went our separate ways, we hugged. I was a bit surprised at that. At first, she had moved to hug me but then stopped to ask if I was a hugger and I laughed and said sure.
Probably the most interesting thing about spending time with her on the farm was she did a tarot card reading for me. I drew only two cards since I wanted a reading for things that might happen to me within the week. In the end, I flipped over Princess of Wands and Five of Swords. Princess of Wands is apparently an individual who is quite spoiled and a mischief maker who can also be a supportive friend in life, and Five of Swords is a suggestion that a person may be lying to themselves about something and the person can only be free if the truth comes to the surface and is acknowledged by the person. These are the interpretations I got from the club member, but I also read up more about these two cards online. Princess of Wands can also be about someone who is very individualistic and self-interested in their own needs and who is also a force to be reckoned with in life as someone who does not conform to norms and will stand out from the crowd to do their own thing. Five of Swords may be about any and all threads of conflict in a person’s life, whether it’s stress, lack of communication, or even a challenge in life that a person is facing. I definitely see parts of myself in the card interpretations. I was a little troubled by the idea I have something in my subconscious I am being dishonest to myself about, which may apply to a lot of things in my life I’ve decided not to contest to avoid being in constant turmoil. And then again, the concept that Five of Swords is about rising up against oppression makes me think of my work-related situation where I am fighting to get payment for unpaid work I did. I’ve never been all that interested in tarot card readings before, but it’s definitely interesting that some things in the cards’ meanings match up with what is currently going on in my life.
One thought on “Overthinking Things”
That sounded so nerve-wracking when you were put on the spot to talk about sustainability. I can relate, if I am asked to talk about a topic I am passionate about on the spot, I also tend to be unsure of what to say. To me there’s just so many ways to answer and approach questions and introductions in these settings. In the end, I usually try to be as general as possible and remind myself nobody really cares what I think lol.
I pull tarot cards for myself and try to get creative with the interpretations, seeing it as another way to reflect on my life and where I am at. Sometimes I look back on the cards I’ve pulled and realised how eerily they apply to my life. Then again, I’m very into things unseen and always trust my intuition 😄