rabbi

Social Anxiety Disorder


When I tell people that I’m shy, they usually laugh hysterically. You? Shy? Never! Yet, my knees shake when I have to ask the butcher to slice my meat. My heart quivers when I have to pick up a call from an unidentified caller (usually, I don’t). Sometimes, I even ignore calls from my friends during especially SHY moments. Yes, it’s true, I confess it now to you all, the ignored.

Still, at other times, I’m so outgoing, I scare myself. How many times have I left a social occasion thinking: “Did I really just say that?” The times when I do manage to ask myself that, I realize that I’m doing pretty well. You know, at least I’m thinking before I shoot my mouth off. Yay, my husband would be so proud. Other times, let’s just say I’m less metacognitive and pretty feisty for a person who calls herself shy.

Now, the worst is when these two qualities mix. Can you be shy and outgoing at the same time? Yes. When I’m surprised, I feel myself going in two directions. Should I be shy? Outgoing? Who am I? Where am I? My eyes get all wide like Bambi in front of a deerhunter with a big gun because oh yeah, even I’m afraid of what I’m going to say. Let’s not even discuss my husband’s heart palpatations.

Today’s most stellar moment of social anxiety…running into my husband’s rabbi at the dentist! Not just his rabbi, the founder of my husband’s school. I mean, come on, G-d, what’s with the sense of humor? Sure, it’s neutral territory but I have no idea what to say. He asks me how I’m doing. Of course, I take so long trying to figure out what to say (what’s the most kosher response?) that I forget to ask him how he’s doing.

After further social stumbling over one faux paus and another, I yawn and tell him that I’m jetlagged. It’s time to make my getaway! Just walk away! Don’t say anything stupid to the nice rabbi man. And before I can stop myself, I wax poetic on how my husband is probably at yeshiva falling asleep, as are most of the guys at the school. AHHHHHHH! No wait, I meant falling asleep from jetlag! I mean, the guys are tired from having to go back to their regularly scheduled yeshiva programming after two weeks of vacation. Wait, I didn’t mean that your school’s boring!

Sigh, it’s too late. I’m going to have to go back to coping behavior #1. See rabbi. Run. The other way.

G-d help me.

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