TAP 217 - A Brave Listener Story About Leaning In & A Poem

Summary:

In this episode, I talk to the brilliant and brave Natasha about a recent experience she had involving anxiety while playing sports. She also talks about how she went into action to help another teammate that needed support.  Plus she reads out a moving poem that she wrote after the experience.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Natasha’s social anxiety around sports (3:19)
  • Constantly going through the what ifs (4:31)
  • What Natasha started doing differently (6:30)
  • How Natasha helped her teammate (8:00)
  • Anticipation anxiety is far worse (10:30)
  • Natasha reads her poem (11:58)

Read her poem here:

Dear Anxiety,
 
This weekend you have put me through the biggest storm that I have ever had to navigate alone.
 
Do you remember the week leading up to the event? You were not there, but it also appeared that I was not there either. 
My emotions appeared to be non-existent. No excitement, no nervousness, not a thing.
 
I assumed it may be a new way of thinking or a found stoicism. As it turns out, it was not. It was the calm before the storm. Or, was I in the eye of the storm? 
 
Said ‘see you later’ to my small family, packed my luggage and then I felt a drop. Maybe it was just the dew from a nearby tree. You know how trees can be, rooted with tears at times. I had a hard time sleeping that night.
 
It was time to wake up and catch my flight. Everyone was there and buzzing to go to the east coast. The magnificent Atlantic Ocean is near. I never realized you lived there too.
 
Everything was great till we passed the arrivals gate to baggage. There … you appeared, arms wide open to take me in. Anxiety, you never seize to amaze me how you just pop up out of nowhere. There were dark clouds forming in the distance.
 
I did everything I could to get you off my mind while you sat there taunting my thoughts. I breathed deep and smiled, engaged in conversations about tomorrow plans, got ready to go out and meet the rest of the community.
 
“Why bother going to the pub when you know everyone is going to make fun of you anyway” you can smell the electricity of lightening in the distance.
 
Where did that come from? You side blinded me with a negative conversation starter which I had a really hard time coming back from. I couldn’t sleep.
 
Three days of trying to engage with people and acknowledge my friends with enthusiasm and empathy. Three days of fidgeting and on the edge of breaking down because you said ‘why bother’. 
The winds blew hard, the rain came at the right moments, and my tears were hidden away in bathroom stalls and showers.
 
Your fear of me being independent and happy has caused me to brace a storm I was not fully prepared for, you knew that.
 
Your trees falling has made me dodge my confidence that I too , can be happy. Your crashing of thunder made me question who I am and where I am in my life. At a time where a storm never needed to be. You brought heavy rains of doubt. Why? Why would you do that to me … to anyone?
 
I remember you being so cool. You would make me question if I should run away from that dog, if I must cross the street to avoid bullys, and you saved me after saying no to going to a party because of a gut feeling.
 
Why can’t we have that cool feeling anymore, where did we go wrong? Why do you bring storms?
 
I saw that storm you brought to my friend. Lucky for them I had tools to shelter the winds and rain you brought in. Just because you can take me down, doesn’t mean I’ll allow you to bring someone else down.
 
I hope we can once again be friends and get over this disagreement we have. Please give me space to clean the mess of this storm you brought upon me and we can talk about the future.
 
Love
Natasha

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