I’m a Little Weird, and That’s OK

I found my elementary/middle school diary the other day and let me tell you, I was a weird kid. But I’m still a little weird, quirky, odd – whatever descriptive word you want to use, and that’s just fine with me. Sometimes it’s my anxiety that causes the weird behavior (not interacting with people or going out because my anxiety is so bad it actually feels like I could crawl out of my own skin) or sometimes it’s just me being a spaz. When my husband and I started dating we were having a conversation and I asked him who Joe Biden was. I honestly didn’t know. He married me anyways.

In college, I thought everyone had to take a placement test for any foreign language to get placed into the correct level so I took the placement test for Spanish even though I had taken French in high school. It never occurred to me that taking a placement test for a language you had never been taught was absurd. I sat through the two hour test and when I turned it in to be graded the woman behind the desk placed me into a 2nd level class, “that’s impossible!” I told her. She looked at me blankly and I tried to explain. “See, I’ve never ever taken Spanish so I need to start with Spanish 101.” As I said these words, things started to click into place in my brain and my instinct was to grab the graded test and run away, but I stayed. “Well you can’t take Spanish 101 now because you have placed INTO Spanish 201,” she glared at me. I am sure she was probably thinking she had never met anyone so dumb in her life or that this was some kind of joke. It wasn’t. I ended up taking Norwegian because 1) I had never taken it before and 2) I had not taken an unneeded placement test for it. Jeg kan snake litt norsk.

I used to hide the key to my diary in the back of a picture frame in my bedroom and was so concerned that it be kept locked at ALL TIMES. Reading through the pages now, it’s a good thing I kept it top secret because everyone was looking for juicy entries like the following:

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Uhhhh…..we had fun talking about burns? See, I told you – weirdo. I also noticed as I read through the pages that I got sick, a lot (and that I had terrible handwriting). Headaches and stomachaches tended to happen every week. I was on a first name basis with the school nurse and I can still feel the crinkly paper like they use on doctors’ office tables on my head covering the pillow and the scratchy paper towel she used to wrap the ice pack for my forehead. So many times I wished I could hide there in the quiet nurse’s office and not go back to class.

I had a weird aversion to people seeing my lunch while I ate. I hid everything in my lunchbox or lunch sack until I took it out to eat it. I was so afraid of being judged, even on what I was eating for lunch. Things that should not have been stressful, filled me with dread every day.

I do know I started to get migraines when I was really young, but I was also sick and threw up A LOT. I missed a lot of fun field trips because I would get worked up and make myself sick. I worried about everything. I still worry about everything, but now I know what that worrying is: ANXIETY. I see a neurologist now for my migraines and he has explained that anxiety and migraines many times go hand in hand. He has explained that getting rid of my anxiety would help the frequency of my migraines. But that’s the problem with anxiety – it doesn’t just go away.

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By the way, the above entry was after my dad had taken my sister and I to a buffet for dinner. I didn’t generally eat such an odd combo of foods for dinner.

It’s fairly recently that I have decided I just want to be happy and not care about all these things.  I have always been worried about what people think of me. I thought no one liked me in elementary school, I was so extremely self conscious and this continued for such a long time. It still creeps into my mind sometimes when my anxiety gets bad. That doubting voice in the back of my mind that tells me I’m not good enough and that no one likes me for me. But like I said, I’ve started to ignore that voice and it is so FREEING. It has taken over 30 years but I feel like I have finally let go and accepted myself and all my quirks and hang ups.

I know dealing with anxiety will most likely be a lifelong struggle, but I feel like I have crossed over the first large hurdle that was holding me in that anxiety shame spiral. I just had to let it go. I had to laugh at myself, to share these stories and laugh with other people. Anxiety isn’t funny, but dealing with it can be sometimes. And if my embarrassing stories can brighten one person’s day who is struggling with anxiety, then that is all I can hope for. And that makes all this worthwhile.

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