Anxiety comes in a lot of different forms. And each one has informed every decision I’ve ever made in life. For a long time I listened to my anxiety like directions on a page, keeping myself from the world. It wasn’t until I was out of high school that I began to follow the mantra I live by now. Which is to say yes to social occasions. Because either you’ll have a great time, or you’ll have a great story. And either way you win. Unless you’re attending a party at a high profile music studio and start having an anxiety attack halfway through and need to go hide in the bathroom until you’re good, and then you trip over a fire extinguisher on your way out and everyone is asking if you’re okay to drive yourself home when you’re actually the only sober one there and also you don’t even fucking drive.
Sometimes anxiety feels like a trap. Like you’re snowed in, in a phonebooth with no service and a wolf pacing nearby. Sometimes it feels like that until you’re halfway through, when you come to your senses and, seeing clearer now, realize that you are the wolf. That you are the one that paced and waited and attacked. Your prints in the snow shaming your lack of self-awareness.
Sometimes anxiety feels like a missing voice, forcing you to pack up and leave without saying goodbye. To give a friend your copy of a game because you’re unable to tell him that you lost his. The numbness that strikes your hand as you’re about to turn the doorknob, because you heard a footstep on the other side. The feeling that your “let’s hang out” will come up on their phone and be left on read, when that is all that could pull you out of this pit.
But sometimes anxiety can be banished. Sometimes you’ll meet in the park with your friend and idol, Valerie, armed with a violin and a voice much stronger in ink than in air. And she’s tiny but what she sees and what she says is bigger than anything you think you can reach. And that friend will strike a spark in you when she says that she learns from you. It will reignite the fire held by the green in your eyes. Because if the most creative person that you know is inspired by what you do, then you have succeeded. And no wolf in the snow, or mess on the floor, or twenty foot door will ever be able to lie to you about who you are again.
“I’m sorry. Just walk through the door.”
Ryan C. Robert is the writer of multiple comedy blogs, most of which are satirical and self-deprecating. He writes about his life in his personal essay series "Before Color," parodies cooking blogs in "Trish's Dishes" and posts writing prompts every single day.