Silent Screams (Poem & Post)

woman-screaming

I had an explosive bout with fear and anxiety. I’ve never had an anxiety attack before, but if I had to guess, I’m certain that’s what it was. I shared my experience with a couple of people and they didn’t seem to understand what I was so antsy about. Truth is, I always get nervous around meeting/interacting with new people or being around people I don’t know. If I don’t know you, I don’t trust you. It’s as simple as that.

So I decided I would write a poem about it. I hope by doing so, it helps them and others to understand my plight better:

SILENT SCREAMS

Imagine being in a room
Full of people
And they all look like Slender Man
No faces
Lifeless, taunting bodies
And all of them encroaching
On you
Like a frenzied crowd,
Moving in slow motion
You cry out in fear
As you feel the skin prickling
On the back of your neck
Begging for them to go away,
To leave you alone,
Calling out for help

But you are mute
And no sounds escape you
Despite how hard you try
Everyone, hundreds of these
Faceless, nameless people
Are backing you into a corner
Reaching, grabbing
You think stop
I wish this would stop
As those bodies crash into you
Like a wave
Tossing you back to and fro
You can’t breathe
You need air
But no one’s giving you
Any space to move

It makes you wonder…
I am going to die today…?
Is this the day I’m going to die
Imagine
All those hands grabbing you
And dragging you off
Throwing you into a pine box
Nailing it shut
And burying it
While you are still inside
You are paralyzed
All you can do
Is stew in the terror
That is eating you alive
While you hear the clunk
From the dirt being dumped
On top of your makeshift grave

I want you
To imagine
All the things
That make you the most afraid
Whether it be water,
Spiders,
Commitment
Or the dark…

I am deathly afraid of the unknown
And I am most certainly scared
Of unknown people
Only this time
I can see their faces
I hear their voices
And I am engulfed
In a bitter sea of twisted agony

It’s the reason I don’t like parties
I’m always the awkward one
Sitting up against the wall
Looking for where all the exits are
Why I lose my trust in someone
If they desert me
And leave me in a crowd
By myself
It is the reason
Why I am so distant

And it frustrates me
Because I’m not even sure
Why that is
But I do think it’s interesting
That God will give me an ability
And a desire
That calls for me to step out
To go into the midst of that
Thronging crowd
And deliver a message
Through poetry

I’m just…disappointed
Because I thought
I’d find at least one person
Who understands

I haven’t yet

And it is because of this
That I find myself
Shaking and trembling
Behind a wall of nonchalance
And cool
Because it’s not normal
To fear the way I do
So I keep my mouth shut
Mouth closed
And I continue
To scream
In the silence
And I continue
To bear the piercing, glaring stares
Of unfamiliar persons
While feeling like an anchor
Or dead weight
For my more sociable friends
Guilty, yet relieved
Because at least there is one face
I do know, right beside me

And I don’t have to be
By myself

God…I need Your help

Help them to understand
People like me

And Lord,
Help me to overcome
This distance I’ve created
So close
But so far away
It’s the standard measure
Of closeness I keep

So close
But so far away


I end this poem slightly grieved because even though I’ve written it I’m sure people will get it, but not get it. Especially those who know me or I consider myself to be close to. It’s easy to tell someone to just get over it or have faith when you’ve never experienced what they’re going through. Be careful with you words…keep this in mind.

I deleted an app called Hello Talk last week because of the very reason I wrote about in this poem today. On Hello Talk, you can meet native speakers of the language you are trying to learn. You do an exchange of sorts, where you practice speaking with them in their language and they in yours. When it was one or two people I was nervous but I was fine.

But very rapidly, two grew into five…the number steadily kept growing over those short few days; more and more people began to message me…before I knew it was extremely overwhelmed. I went from being excited to dreading getting on. Last Saturday, I found myself having the worst state of fear I’ve ever had. The way I’d explain it, it was as if I was drowning while being hit by large waves; every time I tried to come up for air, here comes another wave crashing down. So, I deleted my account that same day and removed the app from my phone.

Eventually I do plan to go back and get the app because it’s highly recommended for those seeking to acquire a language. I will wait however until:

  1. When more I’m confident in my ability
  2. When I’m actually READY and
  3. When I’m ready to face my fears

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what it is. Is it a fear of allowing people to see me vulnerable? Is it a distrust of those I’m not ready to allow see me in a vulnerable state? I really don’t know, but I recall a football player sharing how he dealt with social anxiety on the news. He said how frightening it was for him to go into these rooms filled with folks he didn’t know and how it helped to have people around him he trusted.

I thought about that and pondered, “Well…maybe have social anxiety…”

Although as soon as I thought that, a friend of mine popped into my head. I remember her approaching me once about how her friends felt I was stuck up and rude. At that moment she began asking questions that, to me, were scrutinizing. I don’t like being psychoanalyzed, and honestly, I don’t think she was even aware she was doing it. What’s wrong with you? That’s what she was subtly asking me… There has to be something wrong with you not wanting to speak to or meet new people.

Right after that I pictured her excitedly exclaiming, “I knew it! I KNEW there was something wrong with you!” I became enraged, mad at her and all the dozens of people who had that same sentiment. The more I pondered over it, the angrier I became as I said to myself F— YOU! There’s nothing wrong with me!

batman-slap

I find that I can be very defensive, particularly when it comes to these things…

And for the record, no. I did not actually say that to her. I was by myself, brooding in angry thoughts.

But God definitely checked me on it. He allowed me to see myself: a person who needs help, but because of pride, won’t even admit something’s wrong. They don’t want others to get the ‘one-up’ on them, “I can’t let them be right!”

And yet, what if they are? What if something truly is wrong and has been wrong with me all these years?

Then again, if there is something wrong so what? Who cares what they think? If someone makes me feel small or less loved, if they talk about me or go whispering and snickering about my issues (which less be honest—people are already doing; folks gon’ talk yall,) then I didn’t need them in my circle anyway. If they’re doing all those things and they’re not even IN my circle, then they were irrelevant to begin with.

All that matters is what CHRIST thinks of me. The Lord has the power to help me overcome my shortcomings. He has helped me to overcome low self-esteem, depression, thoughts of suicide. I still have a temper, but waking up ready to throw down at any time isn’t on my mind anymore.

God has beaten so many things in my life; this is no different.

So, I’m going to declare victory right now. I am speaking victory and I declare this thing defeated.

It’s okay to be cautious, to be quiet and vigilant/observant. That’s how God made me. What I can’t do however is hold back or create so much space that I become my own island of me. That is not representative of who Jesus is and that’s not how He has intended for us to be.

I know this piece is much longer than what I usually write, but I felt it necessary to just get all my feelings and everything out at one time.

If you struggle with something similar, please know you’re not by yourself. It feels that way sometimes. It feels like no one understands you because maybe to them it doesn’t make sense, “How can you be afraid of something so intangible?” Know that we are in this together and I pray you will join me in declaring victory over this battle right now.

I don’t know if this will become a daily battle. All I know is that this is not going to keep me bound up anymore. I don’t have to be the social butterfly, but I will not go to places by myself and walk in fear any longer. My greatest desire is to be able to sit down in a busy room, and even if I leave not knowing a single person, I’ll leave just as confident as I did going in.

Lord wiling, that day is coming. I AM going to see it.

peace2

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One thought on “Silent Screams (Poem & Post)

  1. Pingback: (Oct. 28) Vol. 6, No. 25 – shnewsletter

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