Finding Your Voice: Social Anxiety v. Intuition

In June, Chelsea and I had tickets to go see Yvie Oddly, the winner of the most recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, perform in Louisville. Planning for a fun weekend trip, we booked an AirBnB close to the club and made our way to Kentucky, only to find out once completing the two-hour drive that the show had been rescheduled. To July.

Needless to say, we were a little bummed, but we sought ways to make the most of the mini getaway. We took a Lyft to the gay bar where Yvie was originally going to perform, ducking into the brick building and out of the rain outside. Purple light danced on the walls and the floor was vibrating with the sounds of the music and people talking, laughing and drinking. I immediately felt out of place. The universe seemed to think so, too, because once we got in the door I realized my ID was back at the AirBnB. I couldn’t enter the club. Stressed out, frustrated and damp with rain, we instead opted to hole up in a booth at the HopCat nearby.

We made plans to return to Louisville for the night that the show was rescheduled for, July 26. When it came time for us to head south that day though, I wasn’t feeling it. Yvie’s show wouldn’t start until midnight and it was on a Friday, immediately following the 40-hour work week Chelsea and I had both just trundled through. I knew we were both going to be exhausted. Having glimpsed the atmosphere at the club once, I also knew it was going to be a draining environment for me. I just couldn’t get excited. However, I was struggling to differentiate whether I was feeling this way for valid reasons or if I was just letting my social anxiety control me. I reached out to Chelsea, concerned that maybe if I let something like this drag show at a club pass me by that I wasn’t utilizing my youth to its fullest extent. Was I going to regret not going to the show when I was older? Regret not doing more “youthful” things? Ever the wisest of the two of us, Chelsea pointed out that I shouldn’t subscribe to the idea that the only right way to be a young person with a fulfilled life is to like to party, go to crowded bars, etc.

She made me realize that the only reason i would regret stuff when I’m older is if I didn’t do the things I would have really enjoyed out of fear or anxiety. “There’s a big difference between that and not wanting to go to something you probably wouldn’t end up enjoying anyway just out of an obligation associated with feeling young.”

The issue when you have anxiety problems, as anyone with anxiety can tell you, is that it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate between anxiety that serves a purpose and that which is just a side effect of your anxiety disorder. Anxiety to not want to go to an event which would stress me out and that I wouldn’t enjoy is a natural, positive function of anxiety.

You shouldn’t let your anxiety disorder control your life and make your decisions for you. But you also shouldn’t ignore your body and your intuition when they’re both trying to tell you something. This is especially true if you’re afraid you’re not living the “right way” for your age. Identifying all those different voices in your head is hard, but ultimately Chelsea and I decided together that we didn’t think the show would be the best thing for us on this particular day.

Instead, we made the trip to Louisville and visited the Highlands neighborhood that we both love, enjoying dinner, drinks and conversation at the Cumberland Brewery. We spent a few hours at a corner table in the dark, low-key dive bar atmosphere laughing and jamming to the songs playing on the overheard speakers. (Any place that plays Weezer, Green Day and Blink 182 is always welcome to my money.)

I had an amazing night, just hanging out with my best friend. I don’t know what the show would have been like — Yvie’s performance was probably fantastic. What I do know is, I don’t regret missing it.

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