I still remember the first time I saw you. You were sitting at the bar wearing a black shirt, drinking vodka soda as you looked out the window. I was nervous to approach you, hoping you would turn and see me. You did, and I pretended to be looking elsewhere when you called my name – I was so scared and excited to meet you. I was worried you would think I was a loser.
The moment I saw you in real life, I knew you were the most beautiful man I had ever seen. You told me that you thought hard to come up with an excuse to send me a message on Facebook without seeming creepy, as we had one friend in common, and we were both invited to the same St.Patrick’s Day party that I never went to. I never quite felt comfortable in social situations; I wanted to be there to see you, but I felt people could see how nervous I was. I could never tell you that I had seen your picture in the invitation list as well. I did not want to look foolish.
You told me how Germany or Scotland would be the next country you would like to visit. We walked around and you used your phone to show me where the constellations were in the sky – my Leo and your Taurus were so far away from each other. I asked you if you could play me any song, what would it be? And you said ‘You Are the Best Thing’ by Ray Lamontagne. I could feel my heart racing and I felt faint.
You said, “I am going to hold on to you.”
As time went by and we got closer, we started to notice our differences more. You had such an ease talking to people and being around strangers while I would blush and sweat around the crowd. I was starting to fall in love with you, but I felt like I did not belong in your world. After six months, you told me you loved me but I kept judging myself – I needed a constant reassurance that you meant what you said and I could not stop apologizing for being the way I was.
We lived in the same world, but we seemed miles apart.
When it was just you and me, I felt safe, but when we were around other people, I wanted to leave. All I could think about was something stupid and embarrassing myself and you. You were always there for me, and I wish I could tell you how I felt constantly watched and judged by others, as if they were waiting for me to mess up.
I remember when I took you to a Christmas party, you looked so handsome in your suit – you were everything I had ever dreamed of and you never gave me a reason to doubt you – but I always doubted myself. You could talk to anyone, and sometimes I wondered why you were with me. As we walked in the house, it was filled with people – friends and strangers. I felt this uneasiness, I introduced you to everyone I could but a part of me wanted to run away.
I saw you make your way around the party, charming everyone with your stories. I adored you so much, but I started to feel more anxious. I went and hid in the bathroom because it was a lot to take.
I did not want to answer all the questions people were asking me, I did not want people to look at me.
I cried because I did not know why I was feeling like this in a place where everyone else was enjoying themselves. I could not stop thinking about how everyone was probably wondering why someone as charming as you would be with someone like me. I got angry and I left, I left you there and I am so sorry.
You found me back at my apartment, sitting on the kitchen floor in my beautiful dress, holding a glass of red wine. I never meant to embarrass you but it was so hard for me to be there. You did not ask me anything; you sat down next to me, kissed me on my forehead, and held me tight. All I could do was cry, but I could not even explain why. You understood me without me having to say a word.
Then you said, “I am still not letting go, because you ARE the best thing.”
I don’t know if it was that twirl on the sidewalk on our first date, or how you could understand how I was feeling this night. But I love you so much
(This article was originally published on Thought Catalog. http://thoughtcatalog.com/anjana-rajbhandary/2017/03/what-it-feels-like-to-be-in-love-when-you-have-social-anxiety/)
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Anjana is originally from Nepal, who has lived in Italy and Ireland. She got her Masters in Human Development from University of Maine Her passions include writing, traveling, and makeup. She currently lives in Chicago and loves it.