Being Put on the Spot in Class

In what’s-your-favourite-poem class (conventionally known as English Literature):

Seminar tutor asks if we’ve all picked lines of Wordworth’s The Prelude which we liked to talk about in class, as requested in an email nobody remembers from before the Christmas holidays. Up until this point I’ve been thinking I’m fairly well prepared. But no, I haven’t picked lines, poem too long to relocate the bits that stood out to me now. Try anyway. Flick rapidly through the pages of this poem as quietly as possible. Everyone else sits in silence also hoping they won’t get picked to talk about something. Creeping gut feeling she’s about to pick me.

“Did you pick anything Charlotte?” Gut feeling confirmed.

Me: “I remember seeing lines that I liked…” flick even more desperately through The Prelude, hating the uncomfortable class silence, ‘I’ll find something…’

Keep scanning pages for something, why do none of the bits I annoted earlier on the bus seem verbalisable to me? Dilemma what to pick. Th Continue reading “Being Put on the Spot in Class”

To Be Open or not to be Open?

Recently I’m turning over in my mind the question of being open about my social anxiety with other people. Telling anecdotes about “that awkward moment when” seems to be a new craze and naturally I’ve got plenty of them up my sleeve. But admitting to people that what you’ve got isn’t just shyness but an actual condition is a whole other ball game. I keep imagining possible situations and what people might say if I was open about it. The idea of it is strangely appealing, yet not quite appealing enough just yet. I imagine many would be very understanding about it, others might get kind of preachy, some sceptical, and others might think I’m attention-seeking.

Is it worth it? Does opening up bring relief or is it best not to tell the whole world? Should you just save it for trusted friends? Or would it be good to raise more awareness for issues like this that not everyone knows exist? I saw some stats somewhere that S.A.D is the third most common mental health problem after depression and alcoholism. If so, we could have all met someone that has this and never known.

If somebody could give me a witty or insightful reply to the question, “So are you usually quite a shy person then?” that’d be great. Saying, “Oh I have social anxiety and I always get tongue-tied when I meet new people,” seems rather a severe bomb to drop on someone you’ve only just met. What do you say?? I usually end up apologetically saying “Kind of, sorry” or “Not always,” but this is a conversation killer and makes me sound like an uninteresting and/or dumb person, which is hardly the first impression I want to give.

Then again, I’m not sure why these people think “Are you always this shy?” is a socially acceptable thing to say. What kind of answer do they expect? Pointing out a stranger or acquaintance’s apparent personality defect simply isn’t kind, even if said with good intentions, and it’s certainly not going to break the ice.

I know that this blog is so new that nobody’s really reading yet, but if by some small chance anyone is, I’d love it if anyone has any suggestions or answers to leave a comment.