When Anxiety Stops By

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When Anxiety stops by

She brings all her friends,

And my living room,

Bedroom,

And kitchen alike

Get crowded with sweaty bodies

Tripping me with their murmurs and laughter.

Anxiety, she hisses at me,

“Stop moping in front of company, it’s rude!”

“You should learn to live a little!”

“The more the merrier!”

But see, to me

There’s nothing scarier,

Than that thing called more:

More people means more confrontations;

My brain is tied to my vocal chords

As both scream “No!”

And more confrontations

Means more words;

Words I must rehearse, of course.

And more words means more…

Me.

And with that,

I don’t know where to start.

 

When Anxiety stops by

She takes up the space of soporific hippos and elephants and rhinos;

My comfort zone becomes a menagerie,

Hungering for escape,

Scouring the land for any possible way out.

And these animals reek,

So much so it hurts my nostrils

And makes me wish I’d taken my medicine earlier.

So I cover my nose and count to ten.

One,

Two,

Three –

But I always stop there

Because after three,

You must leap.

Right?

I’ve got to impress these people at school,

At home,

In restaurants,

In line at Walgreens,

Right?

If it’s wrong,

It won’t change my mind.

He thinks I’m shy and strange, he doesn’t want to work with me;

My dad is about to scold me on being too quiet, just wait;

I didn’t say ‘thank you’ loud enough for the food, what if she didn’t hear me?

They’re probably wondering why I’m buying lip balm instead of solving for ‘x’ in a classroom.

I’ve gotten too comfortable here.

I know

And Anxiety knows.

 

When Anxiety stops by,

She always barges in

And overstays her welcome.

Sometimes I wonder

If she knows about the key under the mat.

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