I hate rooms filled with people. I hate feeling like I’m all alone when there are dozens of people stuffed into the same space as me.
I hate buses and trains and planes, because there’s always a chance that someone will sit down next to me. I always stare at my phone to ward off conversations from strangers, even when the battery is low and I should be saving it. Even when I’ve already checked all my apps and read all my notifications.
I hate going to the doctor and dentist, because I have to make an appointment over the phone. I try to be comforted by the fact that the receptionist can’t see me, that I could hang up if I wanted to, but it never helps. The social interaction is still too much, even when only our voices are involved. I still feel nervous, awkward, insecure.
I hate going to bars, because I’m not courageous enough to push past other people and wave the bartender over. And I have no desire to step onto a crowded dance floor or wait on line inside of a packed bathroom. I don’t want to be around that many strangers at once — even if I’m drunk.
I hate going to fast food places, because if they get my order wrong, there’s nothing I can do about it. I hate confrontation. I hate correcting people. Instead of going back and getting the right thing, I’ll suffer through eating the wrong thing. Or I’ll just go hungry for a while.
I hate going to classes or watching live shows where participation is involved. Instead of listening to what’s being said, the only thing I can think about is how I hope I’m not chosen, I hope I don’t have to speak, I hope this all ends soon.
I hate parties, because I always end up following a friend around for the entire night. And if they ever wander off without me, I don’t know who to talk to. I don’t know what to say. I migrate to the snack table and pretend that my mouth is too full to speak. I chew to use up my nervous energy.
I hate getting my hair cut, because I know how much the workers love to chat, and I know I’m the kind of customer that they dread. The kind that nods and smiles and tries to look polite but never holds an actual conversation, because the most I say consists of only one or two words.
I hate going anywhere alone, because then I’m the one who has to speak to the cashier or clerk or waiter. I can’t rely on someone else to do the talking for me. I can’t hover behind them while they have a conversation. I can’t pretend to be invisible.
My anxiety makes it look like I hate people. But really, I just hate how awkward I am around people. I hate how I don’t get along with them as well as I wish I could.
I hate how my anxiety makes the most basis things feel impossible.