The Red Mask of Social Anxiety

Location

Walking through the school hallway,

judgement hall,

eyes focused on the tile,

one step after another,

one breath after another,

face blushing: a red mask of anxiety.

 

Whispers around me prompt worried thoughts:

"Are they talking about me?"

"Is there something on my face?"

"God I hope I don't trip."

"I feel like I'm going to throw up."

 

In class, finally sinking into a cold plastic chair,

arms hugging my sides,

too scared to share my answer in class

(even though I know it's correct),

and terrified of oral presentations.

 

At home, conversing with friends and family,

laughing and carefree,

arms waving about to prove a point,

finally able to take off the red mask.

 

Social Anxiety, a disorder affecting many including myself,

causing that embarrasing red mask every day,

causing worry and sickness,

causing dreams of death rather than public speaking,

causing misunderstood teachers to think that you are not paying attention,

causing others to view you as rude and always "too quiet,"

that red mask

finally falls off around the safety of loved ones.

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