Five minutes. That's all I'm asking for.
Five minutes outside my own head, without worrying about what I'm doing, or how I'm doing it.
Five minutes of not being so bloody self-conscious.
If you're like me, you're sick of being so self-aware. All you want is some time outside your own head to relax and enjoy yourself.
I can totally empathize, having grappled with self-awareness my whole life. Here are seven struggles we all know, from bitter experience, to be real.
1. Answering the phone in public
Part of my job means I have to work the phones. I hate it. Every time I make a call the office seems to quieten down, while the room listens to my shaky 9-year-old's voice introduce myself. Eugh.
2. Telling a joke or story
Louis C.K. I ain't. I can take the funniest joke and squeeze all the humor out of it, all while a voice in my head tells me "You've ruined this one." I long for the day when my quips don't end with "you had to be there."
3. Giving a best man's speech
I think part of the reason why I've relatively few friends is because, mathematically, it lessens the chance of having to give their best man's speech at their wedding. If you give me a microphone at your nuptials, I'll find some way to insult your bride, your family and the page boy. No question.
4. Eating food in public / at the office.
Crunchy foods are my sworn enemy. I'f I'm eating in public, particularly in work, I feel like every bite is making peoples' drinks ripple like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park. And drinking water? Not a gulping chance.
5. Making eye contact
How long is too long? I need a definitive answer.
Do people think I'm being weird? Or that I'm giving them the sexy eyes? I'm going to stop looking now. Oh no wait, they'll think I'm being rude or untrustworthy. I'll just go hide in the corner.
When I was at school one guy told me that I walked like an orangutan. Ever since then, every time I walk I'm thinking "Am I doing this right? Am I swinging my arms enough?"
7. Worrying about posture
I know all the corrective exercises for forward neck posture. I know what yoga moves are best for opening up the hips. Despite having absolutely no symptoms, I am convinced that my pelvis is out of alignment. My body is just one big stack of Jenga waiting for a stiff wind to knock it asunder.
I could tell you to stop being so self-conscious. I could tell you that how you think you come across, more often than not, isn't as bad as how you actually are being perceived.
But you already know. Still, like me, you'll carry on placing yourself under the spotlight, because you just can't switch it off.
So all I'll say is -- keep going. You're not alone in this struggle. You've got a self-conscious friend in me.
Any other struggles you'd like to share? Get in touch with me by commenting below!