Why I’m Probably a Superhero.


Some days, I wonder what it would be like not to deal with anxiety on a daily basis. Would I be an extrovert in this alternate reality? Would I not run away from my neighbors to avoid small talk? Would I even want to casually chat with them? Would I not analyze correspondences and interactions? Now that’s a funny thought…what would it be like to send a text without triple checking the grammar/punctuation and considering every possible way it could be interpreted?

I mean, truly…maybe I’m actually a superhero in disguise, and I just don’t know it because I get distracted with things like rehearsing my Starbucks order as if it’s a fucking presidential address. Come to think of it, I may actually spend more thought on my Starbucks orders than is spent on current presidential addresses.

One of the most frustrating things about anxiety is that it doesn’t just come up with strangers, work colleagues, high-stakes situations, etc. It could be about literally anything, and no amount of reminding myself over and over and over and over and, shockingly, over again how irrational it all is makes any difference.

For example, I just spent several minutes blankly staring at my phone, wondering how to send a single, logistical text to a few of my very closest friends. To depict this scenario, I shall create and utilize the help of a few supporting characters: Bobby and Betty. In today’s drama, Bobby will play the role of Me, and Betty will play the role of Anxiety.

Act 1, Scene 1. Curtain rises.

Bobby: Hmm…it’s been a few hours since I asked if Bryan, Blaire, and Bailey wanted to join me for coffee and silent, communal reading.

Betty: Wanted to? Who would want to–

Bobby: Thank you, Betty, but right now, I find your input distracting and unhelpful. Shut up a minute while I decide if I want to stay at the coffee shop or go to the gym. 

Betty: [dramatic pause] Did you just tell me to shut up?! You asshat! Fine. Have it your way. Your friends are probably headed your way right now, and when they arrive and find that you’re instead at the gym, they’ll finally realize what a horrible, irresponsible friend you are. 

Bobby: Well, then I’ll just text to let them know where I’m going. 

Betty: But then they’ll probably think you’re trying to be all passive aggressive at them by announcing it in such an abrupt way. You should probably ask if they were planning on coming first, in order to sound more deferential and conciliatory. But that sounds needy, so you should ask if they want to come, to see if you should stay. But make sure they know there’s no pressure. But then why would there even be any pressure to begin with because who would want to hang out with you anyway, so you probably shouldn’t say anything at all. 

Bobby: What the hell, Betty?! Would you just be quiet for once?!?!”

Betty: [dramatic pause] Nope.

Exeunt. End Act 1, Scene 1. To be repeated during ensuing acts.
You know, maybe someday, all the thought and energy that goes into overanalyzing will combust, revealing secret powers of flight or mind control or puppy whispering or the ability to read every book ever written (how cool would that be?). Or maybe I’ll be bitten by a spider and become Spiderwoman and join forces with Peter Parker to fight crime and share awkwardness. Although who am I really kidding here? In my alternate superhero universe, I would be bitten by a penguin, grow wings and the ability to breathe underwater, and become Penguin Person, the Vigilante of the Seas.

That day has not come, however, so for now, I will continue to stare blankly at my phone while telling Betty to shut the fuck up.


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