I have irrational fears. Simple, everyday things make my palms sweat and my heart race. Amusing to others, these fears are oddly taxing on my self and self esteem. So I'm taking control by listing them and releasing them to the universe. Enjoy:
1. Cutting cakes.
*Shudder* I hate nothing more than, after the mortification of people singing Happy Birthday, someone pushing the cake to me and holding a knife out. What if I do it wrong? What if my slices are enormous? Too big? Too small? What if the cake starts to fall apart and I toss my fingers in to hold a slice together for transfer to a plate?
2. Making Introductions.
The smallest introductions throw me into a tizzy. And introducing several people (e.g., bringing the new person around the office)--forget it. I may work with you every day. You may be my best friend. But I will turn to introduce, look you in the eye, and completely forget your name. Blank. In fact, when I see someone approaching, I practice in my mind first and make the introduction slowly.
I blame this irrational fear on my early years working in a small-town video store. Everyone knew each other in my home town. And over the years, I got good at memorizing account numbers or looking someone up on the computer before they reached the counter. But there were days when someone I knew very, very well would be wandering through the store. And it would dawn on me that I'd blanked on the name. On lucky occasions, I was working with someone, and I could maneuver so that the other clerk waited on Mrs. Sudden Blank. But on the unlucky occasions, I'm not even sure how I got through it. Very embarrassing.
3. Writing in front of others.
I doodle a lot. You can't love pens like I do and not have little slips of paper everywhere on which you've written your name a million times. Kelly Kelly Kelly. The quick fox jumps over... You get the idea. And sometimes I receive compliments on my handwriting.
But put me in front of someone and ask me to write something, and my hand stops working and what comes out is a pathetic scratch and scrawl. Temps at work ask me sometimes to sign their time sheets. The date, my name, and my position. I take the pen, look at the sheet, feel the stare of the temp, and my hand becomes paralyzed. It looks like I'm writing with the wrong hand. I have to force the letters out.
4. Signing cards.
Signing a card is a weird sort of pressure. Only one chance to get it right. And those cards that are passed around the office are the worst. I think too much about what to write because the generic lines are usually already written several times. Signing a group card is akin to trimming bangs. You give it a go. You see a slight mistake (a spelling error, an underdeveloped letter). You go in to fix it, only to make it worse. You try a little more. And it spirals out of control. I hate signing group cards.
5. Riding a bicycle.
I see what other bums look like from the back of a bike. I don't want anyone to focus on my bum. Plus, I'm just not graceful. At all. I am a menace on a bicycle on the street. Keep me on old rail trails.
6. Being Seranaded.
Go ahead and roll your eyes--no, this is not a fear I suffer from regularly. But back in high school and college, when eeeevery boy bought a guitar and tried for the stars, I recall many moments when a sweet boy would wind up and go into a three- to five-minute performance. With me as sole audience. And, ladies, I ask you--what do you do for those painfully long minutes? Some boys were unbelievably talented. I just didn't have the attention span or something. I would be excited and smiley for the first 20 seconds. After that, I didn't know where to look--focus on the fingers flying? Look deep into his eyes (usually a friend--awkward)? Get up and grab beers from the fridge? I think that's why I started hanging scientists instead of artists.
7. Blowing Publicly.
My nose, that is. I don't do that in front of anyone. What if I don't get it all?
8. Peeing Publicly.
Horribly shy bladder. I am notorious for never peeing. Part of it is that I am afraid of public bathrooms, and part of it is that someone might hear me doin' my bi'ness. Nope, I'll hold it.
Clearly, I have performance anxiety. I can talk a good game, but I really don't want anyone to know I'm in the room. Or that I perform normal, daily, human actions. Surprising, considering the family in which I grew up. What is wrong with me?!