Category Archives: social anxiety

Social Anxiety (part III)

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Thank you for the invitation.

But I must be leaving early.

They noticed the cracks

in my head the second I entered

the room. And you can do better

than a burden.

Better on Paper.

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Thoughts before I speak

are hands rearranging letters on the Scrabble

board until it finds coherence.

I open my mouth and all that spills is

static, voices under water,

an awkward pose,

unkempt hair and dirt under my fingernails.

But sometimes it lands on paper,

in high definition.

Clear,

as if you’re reading through a picture window

or most likely,  someone else.

Well

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I think about how easy it would be to stop trying,

throw the orange vial in a junk drawer and forget

about keeping a job,

getting a master’s

waking up to clean the house

comb my hair,

make eye contact

and speak “well” with a stranger.

 

It was easy until I met you. It’s getting harder

to disappoint when you’re watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Anxiety Part II

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I am not too afraid
Of rejection. In fact, I’ve learned
to wait for it. It’s easy;

  1. just wait for the adrenaline,
  2. take deep breaths so you don’t choke,
  3. count to pace the heart
  4. then try not to flinch,
  5. while bracing for impact.

But when you eagerly
Invite me, it’s like
this poem, returned to me
with too many red lines across whole
sentences: what to do with this
now?

And what to do with you,
now that you’ve changed the script?

Poem: Social Anxiety/Introversion as a Librarian: Sensory Overload

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Maybe my mom is right, and one

day, I’m about to outgrow

my social anxiety and “come out

of my shell” (the main project

of my ninth grade teachers).

 

But I think it’s happening–

I’m at the circulation desk

and a crowd of human voices,

faces,

are coming all at once, reciting their

biographies as they drop books

on the desk and I didn’t turn into

a deer in highlights. My social battery

is still full. My eyes are absorbing

their light, their extroversion. I may

really like people, I don’t mind that the phone

won’t stop ringing and the trainee wants

to make a comment. A man says

here’s the thing about Donald Trump though,

another grumbles, “kids these days”,

then it’s I’ve been waiting for this book

for days,  then I just want to let you know my taxes

pay for this library so refund the 85 cents

the printer took from me, the trainee

has another question, let me tell you

what I think of Syrian refugees,

let me tell you how Jesus is the man, my sista,

did you know you come from an African queen?

my mother came here from Italy in 1903,

this book will change your life,

do you know anything about filing taxes?

Can you take a look at my W2? 

this book has the real truth about Jesus,

this book was horrible,

I’m tired of you white people,

Is October 12 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?

Sorry I don’t talk to minorities,

WHERE’S THE NEAREST URGENT CARE?

Do y’all have a typewriter I can use?

I shouldn’t have to pay for overdue fees

because the sex scenes in Deadpool offended me,

why do you allow this filth in the library,

we need your time sheet if you wanna get

paid this Friday, you didn’t fill out a sick

leave slip for the seventh, the computer

won’t let me print,

copy and paste,

print a Youtube video,

that library card account with the overdue

fees isn’t for me, that’s my cousin’s

(with the same name, birthday, address…)

no, actually you can get Ebola from touching

someone’s hand, I know these things,

Let me speak to the manager you don’t

Know what you’re talking about/you’re lying

okay do you have this book instead,

can you double check if it’s really gone,

the trainee has another question…

 

–Never mind, y’all need to go home now.

 

Note: Based on a true story, all three years of working at a library in prose.