Okay, they can, but not today. Let me back up and start at the beginning.
I was driving to work today when I came to a red light, which generally doesn’t make me the most thrilled to begin with, but I digress. I was listening to a book on tape (best way to commute) when a car full of young kids (why aren’t you in school!) pulled up next to me, hip-hop blasting and them banging their heads and their fists along with the beat. I didn’t look at them, just paused my book on since I couldn’t hear it over the music blaring next to me.
Once the light turned green, off we went. About a half a block further up they passed me, and I saw out of the corner of my eye one of them hanging out the window flipping me off. Then sped off laughing as if they were the coolest kids ever, not the most cliched disrespectful teenagers possible.
Here is the thing though, in the past my anxiety would have probably seized on this and convinced me that it was something about me. My self-doubt and self-loathing would kick into overdrive because these random people who I’ve never met and will probably never see again thought it’d be cool to be jerks. Yet now I am at a place in my recovery where I realize that their behavior is more about them than me, and I went back to coolly listening to my audio book.
And this is a sign of my progress. Not letting every negative social interaction knock me down is huge. Don’t get me wrong, the cool kids, i.e those that I look up to and in my head and call cool kids (even if they aren’t kids), can still ding my anxiety when we hit bumps in the road. Yet these random kids, they can’t touch this.
And hopefully, this post will remind those of you who, like me, struggle with social anxiety, that the random opinions of random people don’t matter. Be like the puffin, and just keep struttin’ along.
P.S. Even though I called them kids, they probably weren’t that young so much as me being old now (when did that happen). I think the next step is just to hang out by my front door shaking my fist and yelling ‘darn kids these day!’
P.P.S I am pretty sure the Hammer Time reference makes me the ultimate cool kid in this story. Lol.