Stage Fright

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When I was a little girl we used to have a sailboat. My dad would blare oldies and I’d get up on the bow and swing with the best of them, I’d shake my little ass and boats that would pass by would laugh and start mimicking me, waving in delight. That was me. Nothing terrified me, and nothing could. I wanted to try it all, get into it all, and be all that I thought life would allow at the time. Fast forward twenty years and I can’t even attempt suicide it’d draw too much attention. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve almost tried it once, but the thought of people even looking in my direction makes me want to shy away now.  I constantly wonder what people are thinking when they look at me today. “What’s going on inside of you?” I’d think. “Are you in the same place I am, just looking for another person to fly solo with you?” Because if there are people out there that are going through this, I never met any. And the internet wasn’t as popular when I was nineteen, so isolation was doubled back then. So all I was ever told was, “You should really go see someone.” And so I would. Another therapist just meant another basket case, I’d come to realize. It seemed like all the ones I was destined to see were almost worse off than myself. So then I decided to start writing, because nothing else was getting me anywhere. It felt like no one got it. Like no one understood how lonely loneliness was. And I realized, I wasn’t necessarily looking for someone to lend an ear. I just needed to vent. Vent to everything that things seemed to be bullshit. People aren’t as becoming anymore. The world is full of one disaster after the next. We all talk about the dramatic news vs the news of people doing great things, it seemed like. No one was being real any more. All I had was me, me and the only thing that would never cease to be at my side, my depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, PTSD and something else I can’t think of at the moment. And every time I’d see a doctor, it wouldn’t work out. Either they were, like I said, a little more off than I could handle, or they’d retire shortly after me seeing them. Either way, I was always left to hunt another one down, and the new one would always argue my diagnosis, thinking it wasn’t possible to have so many at one time, then to see me some more and finally agree. It was like they didn’t trust each other, which made me trust them even less. Until I realized, no one was fighting. No one was fighting for me at least in those offices, and I couldn’t seem to fight for myself. The only one who was doing all of the fighting was the depression itself into all that I had left. 

Depression carries the weight of its word into life right away. To be depressed is to have a compression somewhere or an indent strong enough for the eye to see there’s a concave “spoon” looking thing that is actually depressed. Maybe that’s why they say it’s happening to people. Our mouths go from a smile to something sad happening and our lips forced to go in a half circle downwards. Reminding the mind of a concave “depressed” shape. Now there’s the inner part of depression. The part that starts off almost as an itch, grows into a full blown body rash that you can never scratch away. “Why am I feeling this all over?” I’d think. I could feel it everywhere inside my body. My brain suddenly wasn’t the only thing sucked dry. My legs weak, thighs much heavier and a head literally strained to keep it upright. All you can do is try to figure out what’s going on. I’d heard of depression and thought, “well, all I’ve heard about it is being sad all of the time and I am, but there’s so much more. They never talked about more.” What about doing absolutely anything to get through each day as it falls deeper into the shell of depression. This shell however, would only echo tears if you put it up to my ear.

My anxiety gets worse and hits strong. I suddenly always feel like I’m the one woman show on stage and I’m supposed to be funny but the only joke I can think of is one that I’d heard years before where a woman wants to start looking good so she tell her boyfriend she’s going to lose weight and start exercising, but her man says, “Yeah, but you can’t run your face off.” It still makes me laugh to this day. Probably the only thing I find remotely humorous anymore. That and when other people fall.

Now, my anxiety is at a whole new level. I’ve started blacking out when I have to get up in school and talk in front of people. I’d start off a sentence and then everything goes blank. It’s literally dark black in my head and I almost feel faint. People used to think I was really outgoing and I am…when I’m in my comfort zone. If you’re in my comfort zone, you can expect someone super goofy and out there. But for the most part, being out there is just sitting in the background, hoping not to be noticed now. If I just don’t talk maybe no one will talk to me. And for the most part it works. It’s weird how I used to be such a social butterfly. I was on the phone so much that when the internet came out my brother gave all of us screen names and mine was Onphn247. I never stopped being a chatterbox whether it was in school or out. But since I was 19, everything has slowed down to the point that my age surpassed long ago. You’d think I was ancient.  The thought of getting in front of people is almost worse than seeing a spider and I never thought I’d find anything worse than that. I miss my friends. I miss my parents. And I really miss my brother. I’ve isolated myself from everything I can think of. Hell, I actually miss who I was. I was a good person, once. I felt worth something. I’ve never been easy on myself but who is? I’m my own worst enemy and some of the critiques I give myself are a little brash. That’s my one woman show. How to beat yourself to a pulp, by Andrea. Exiting is my best feature. Man, do I know how to walk away or run from things. I’m just great at getting off of the stage. It’s the lack of hope inside of me that leads me on there in the first place. It’s like I’m frightened of people that look at me, frightened of people seeing the real me, hell, I’m frightened of getting on that stage and just reminding myself even, that I am here. I miss the days where dancing by yourself was ok. When you could dance like no one was watching because you weren’t taking everything so seriously. Now, it’s like I walk from point A to point B all the while wondering what the point was from the beginning. I breathe because it’s the last thing I know how to do, and just do. I don’t have to think about it. But if I were on that stage that’s all you would hear. Breathing. One breathe after the other, until someone would finally make me out and realize, wow, she’s living in fear of even herself, and that’ s the last fear she has is of that last breathe. That it won’t be to a beat she danced to by herself or with the whole room, living the life she’d always wanted. Never to care if anyone was watching, and knowing that to breathe was to live, and that in itself was owning any stage.