63f23c6809bddf9597b4c6236a8c747aThere is a girl I ‘know’ online, she’s a twenty-something artist and a writer and suffers from crippling social anxiety and it struck me, when I heard she suffered from social anxiety, that it was a great irony.
Why? Because I had concluded that with my own social anxiety, I would be ‘able’ to do a live poetry reading if I could somehow inhabit someone like her, change skins, climb into her person-suit and read the poetry through her eyes.
So obviously the next thought was … that’s really weird. Why would you be able to read your poetry aloud in front of people if you were her but not if you were you? The conclusion must have something to do with self-hatred on some level, but it’s also about what you want to project.
Sad to admit, I don’t want to project me. I want to project someone like a photographer may appreciate and project through that appreciation the beauty of someone else. I’m a behind-the-scenes type. I didn’t used to be, I was the belly dancer at the front of the school play, but the difference was, I still wore a mask. That time the mask was dark paint, a wig and a veil.
Some of us need veils or metaphoric veils or some type of guise to be ourselves. For me it used to be a few drinks – dutch courage. I didn’t even know it, but before going out I would swig a bit and then I could go through with it. Not a good method. When the ulcer nixed that option, I retreated further than I thought possible, unable to face going out without my mask.
I see others, people who are not attractive, people who are silly, people who are absurd, do it all the time, and I admire them and wonder, how is it that they can do this and I cannot? I’m not certain of anything other than, when you feel this way, it’s like you are under a microscope, on a petri-dish and everyone who looks your way is shining a light on you and you can’t stand the inspection.
It is an illusion or delusion of course, because people see individuals less and less these days than ever before! We truly can walk around and be invisible and ignored! But when you feel that scrutiny it’s like sunburn, you just have to get out of the sun even when it’s not really happening it feels like it is!
A few of my friends, normal, not overly attractive people, can stand up there and do anything and everything. They are admired because they appear to have no fear or they feel the fear and do it anyway. I despise my inability to do this, but I do not despise it in others, I understand it in others, I have empathy for it in others, so despising myself is another point of hypocrisy.
Any delusion is hypocritical. A feminist may starve herself because she sees a ‘fat girl’ in the mirror, who does not exist, and despite believing it doesn’t matter what you weigh, she’s caught up in it nevertheless. It’s like being hypnotized. If you take anxiety meds you are released from them, but it’s artificial. I have yet to find a ‘natural’ method, though much is made of natural cures, none have worked thus far.
All I’m really saying by this, is, how interesting to imagine, just by being someone else we could be ourselves. I think of those robot or clone films where people are asleep and send out their robot version. How much I dislike that idea of living and life, how I don’t like the idea of women behind veils, and yet, when I think of standing up and reading my work I want to put on the dragon suit I had as a little kid so badly. I want to wear it underneath myself (my true dragon self) as I did when I was a kid, and the teacher would pull out the tail and say ‘she’s done it again’ and call my dad.
I am you see, a dragon, and I want to be a dragon, and if I cannot be a dragon I would like to be my friend who looks a little like Jennifer Beal whom I liked very much in Flashdance and it’s not a creepy reason at all because I don’t fancy my friend, but I would be able to read my poetry out loud if I had her curly hair and brown skin. Ironically she is more scared than I am, and if I ever met her off WP I would say ‘what an irony, you are too scared to be you and I am too scared to be me, shall we be dragons?’

0 Replies to “I never grew out of needing a dragon tail”

    1. Wouldn’t that be insane if that were the reason? And yet, I would not be surprised. I miss being a dragon. There was that feeling wasn’t there, as a kid, when you dressed up and ‘became’ that other part of you, I miss that so much but Cosplay can seem creepy so I don’t put my dragon on, though I think if you have bonded with your dragon it is always within you. I approve your dragon tattoo decisions ๐Ÿ™‚ Mine is a mandala, but only because my dragon said, you don’t need to ink my scales, they are there, whether others see them or not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Yes. Back about four months ago I got trolled the hell out of, closed the site, reopened, lost my data but kept the basic name with a slight change, but it’s me. Kind of you to remember I appreciate that. xo

  1. mortochx has a point.. I remember working with a young woman, who was covered in tattoo’s Every one thought she was hard.. and they would steer clear of her… Her bark was a lot worse than her bite.. I did a reading, and a Auragraph for her. ( you can look up auragraphs on my pages lol ) And she broke down in tears reading what I had put.. For I told her that her tattoos were a mask.. So that no one would see just how vulnerable she felt.. She was also a victim in life.. allowing men to beat and abuse her from one relationship to the next..
    She had the whole of my Auragraph by an amazing tattoo artist on the middle of her back that took several painful sessions .. She said it was there so she could remind herself that underneath she was a good person.. And she said she would always thank me for showing her that underneath it all.. She had got lost..
    I think sometimes we use masks to hide behind.. because its not that we are afraid of what others may see… But it is what we are afraid we might find..
    And until you stand bare.. feel naked.. allowing the masks to fall.. Its only then we are truly on the road of self discovery..
    I think you no longer need any Dragon Costume.. You need instead to don on your Light Body… Breathe in deep and expand your own Aura.. Be proud of Who you are.. And speak to the world your beautiful poetry..
    You can do this… I believe in you.. now you have to believe in You xx <3

    1. What a story! Of course everything you have said is true. In theory. In practice I turned down a poetry reading because of this, and I don’t regret it because it was what I had to do, but I ‘know’ it’s not what I have to do if I want to ‘grow’ I don’t really know right now, anyway … thank you dear one for your lovely story it is a wonderful parallel and so very accurate. xo Thank you

  2. Someone once told me that even the Queen farts – just imagine that next time you want to speak publicly. Or imagine everyone naked and vulnerable. We’re all the same under our skins ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. How ironic is it that I find myself in this. Perhaps, we are, in fact, the same person, needing each other to truly be whole. Every day we find another strength in ourselves, even when we don’t see or feel it. It will come when you least expect it. Much love, dear Candice <3

    1. Sometimes I have thought so! I read your work and think so much the same! You are so right, about every day finding a strength in ourselves. Wonderfully put. I know you get this so well my friend. I’m so glad to know you. Thank you dear Dorinda.

  4. Truly relate to this. Even though I muster the courage to put myself, my work forward. I often fall apart in shame and worry later, thinking surely I made a fool of myself. I’ve rued the fact that I’m not anonymous and I haven’t created a nom de plume. That disassociation might have helped. Thank you for this, Candice. I hope you can put on your ‘dragon suit’ and do the reading! ๐Ÿ™‚๐ŸŒน

    1. I think Meg you are VERY courageous. But I think you are even more courageous to admit sometimes you feel as if you are falling apart afterward as few would be brave enough to admit that, it only makes me admire you, because it means you are not pretentious or false. As with you I have felt exactly the same way. I wonder what that is. I think had I had the dragon suit I really would have! Thank you for your lovely response. It made me feel I was not stupid for feeling what I did. And that means a lot.

      1. Ah! Look at all the people who feel similarly. I am a huge mess half the time but do manage to keep the stage makeup from smearing. One of these days, I’ll end up tripping over my costume!

        1. I think you come across as someone who is the opposite of a huge mess – if you are (and I am not convinced!) you hide it well or perhaps the side of you that is not, is bigger than you realize? Either way, I’d swap your huge mess for mine anyday! You have power in you – I hope you see it because I do.

  5. A superbly insightful piece. I never wanted to be someone else, but I was, until my later years, always more comfortable in role. Invite me to a party and I didn’t know what to say; ask me to chair a meeting and I’d be perfectly relaxed. (The camera was always useful at parties).

    1. Exactly like myself! I can chair a meeting but feel personally that I have less to say now than say, ten years ago, as if it’s all been said. I wonder what that means when we are that way? (Cameras were! So glad you had yours!)

        1. Photographers tend to be shy don’t they? As with poets – though of late everyone I meet seems to be extroverted, I’m certain it’s the increase in population causing us to believe there are only extroverts ‘out there’ because they’re the ones grabbing the headlines. Viva plastacine!

  6. A beautiful heartfelt piece of writing and sharing, Candice. How brave! Right? And look at the wonderful responses you elicited. I too felt uncomfortable in my skin for a long long time and would hide behind masks; it doesn’t need to be forever. Sue Dreamwalker said everything I would say to you and far better than I can. Don your Light Body and let your beauty and humanity shine ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love this post my friend, not so much that you have an anxiety problem, but that you’re so honest, and self aware. I used to be able to stand up in front of large crowds of people, conduct press conferences, give speeches, and training sessions. I was able to do all this by very much pretending I was someone else, someone smarter, braver, more charismatic than I actually was. As the years past I became less, and less able to pretend, to fool myself anymore. And even though in certain social settings, I can still be very charming and gregarious, I don’t feel that way just below the surface. Most times I just don’t participate in social functions anymore, and when I do, more often than not I do so by myself and socialize very little. So I can relate to much of what you are saying. But I will say that I wish you could see yourself through my eyes… On a list of my favorite things in this world, you my friend would be right near the top. If you were in front of me I would give you a big hug and tell you this truth… “All that you are, is more than you will ever need… you are more than enough” And I you are a Dragon!! แƒฆ

    1. Thanks for sharing this. I can totally get how someone could do that. I feel it is best if you are able to, then you don’t have to turn things down. Just recently I was invited to speak at a very large poetry thing, it would have helped my ‘career’ so much but I turned it down because I knew I could not do it. This is the story of my life in one respect, and I would wish I could be a person who could do those things but it’s like saying I wish I were not myself, because myself does not wish to be that person. How can it be so contradictory, lord only knows! Anyway I admire those people who can, though I was born with no ambition, I work very hard that I do, but seek no progress in terms of conventional success which makes no sense, it’s a weird thing. I do believe being a dragon is best.

  8. I know that is absolutely NOT the point, but I have the huge urge to get us both dragon suits and go do something that frightens us.I think we would look adorable and fierce like our inner selves.

    1. You gave me a big giggle with this! I am not one who would wish to do something that frightens me, I know there is that thought of ‘do something that frightens you every day’ but that’s not really me, maybe if it were I would be a better person – this I could believe!

  9. It’s easier to stay hidden than to show your true colours. For a long time, I really did not like myself, and it was because I didn’t think I was normal but years of anxiety and depression will do that to you. It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am and trust me I am very impatient. Having said that, I have learned that timing plays a huge part. Reading this post, it helped me to see where I am in relation to portraying my real self vs. what I think everyone expects from me. Thank-you for writing this and being visible and not wearing a mask to hide behind.

    1. It is easier to stay hidden. To some extent it may even be a cop-out, though I would never condemn someone for wishing to cop-out of the scathing self-and-societal-examination which at times can simply tear a person to shreds. As you say, you can come to find something normal when it is not really as normal as it feels, but something damaging. I expect others will always ask things of us that we are not willing or comfortable giving, but if we are able like you are, to examine our journey and where we are in relation to it then we grow as a person and that is surely worthwhile whatever kind of person you seek to be. Thank you for reading this I am very grateful!

      1. You’re welcome, I wanted to say thank-you for all of your generous compliments on my writing. And for reading my posts, it’s always nice when readers take the time to comment!

        1. You are so welcome. I try to do that when I can because I think like you do. Plus encouraging others and letting them know when they have done a good job is a valuable gift. Thank you for you. xx

  10. It just breaks my heart that any of us are ever made to feel that we are not enough! That we fear what others think and say and do. That we are not able to just stand up and say to the world, here I am and if you like me not then so be it and move on. What games we have to invent and play just to be who and what we are when infants in the hospital nursery as children we lay side by side with no fear or apprehension of our abilities and looks and shapes or sizes. What I want to know is who in the hell gives anyone the right to ever rise up from that and lord it over others and secondly why any of us ever let them do that. We are all children of God and made in His image and gifted with talents to achieve His purposes alone. And I personally don’t want to see a mask or a veil, I want to look in the eyes of some real and vulnerable and alive with possibility. Love and hugs, N ๐Ÿ™‚ <3

    1. Very well said. I think I cannot nor wish to, blame others for any failing on my part, I take responsibility, the only down side to that, is if you feel you have ‘a choice’ to be confident or to have no confidence, if the latter occurs despite your best attempts you may end up condemning and blaming yourself for that perceived failure which only adds to the self-hate you may already possess for whatever historical set of reasons, and thus, you can be stymied, paralyzed and sell yourself so short. I agree, I would prefer reality over a mask but sometimes when ‘the unbearable lightness of being’ gets too much I seek a mask or worse, a closed door.

      1. I can fully understand this as I too have done the same at times. But I hope that you can and will find a way to stop the self -hating. It changes nothing and it only hurts you love! I still do it some but I’ve learned to pull myself up and out of it pretty darned quick nowadaysโ€ผ As I’ve told you before you’re beautiful you’re a bright you are talented and you are caring and compassionate so you don’t deserve anybody’s loathing nor your own!!! Je t’aime, N โŒโญ•โค

        1. It’s something I learned relatively recently, that I dislike myself. I didn’t if you can believe it, realize that before. How is that possible? I think I was clouded by other things. I can’t even say why, other than I know it’s there, and need to work through it, but I am trying and I think that’s as much as we can do, maybe some of us just are colored differently I don’t really know why though. xo

          1. Well I’ve found nothing to dislike in you and it looks to me that’s true of a host of your followers so perhaps you could see us through our eyes until you find your way back to self–likingโฃ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

          2. I think superficially most people come across okay but when you actually get to know them that is when you see their habits etc. I don’t find people annoying I’m not easily bothered by things, others I find, really are, and I’m sure my depression would put most people off.

          3. I know it must be hard to deal with depression and I’m so sorry that is part of your reality! But those who truly love you, like moi, would not be put off! It’s hard to rim odd ducks off because they have sticky feathersโ€ผ๏ธโ€ผ๏ธโŒโญ•๏ธ๐Ÿ˜˜๐ŸŒน

    1. Being serious for a second (aw … shucks) I was talking to someone the other day, and realized suddenly (one of those ‘how could I have not seen this before’ moments) that since being in the US I have struggled to find people I felt were ‘alike’ myself, not meaning mirror-copies (heaven forbid) but just where I could relate and feel that my personality wasn’t jarring (the first book). Not sure if I ‘fit’ in this country, I would like to, but maybe it’s not that simple. Shyness is not prevalent here and not respected or liked very much. I’m not even overly shy, just a little bit and sometimes I feel unless you are outgoing here, you will never do well

        1. Right? SUCH A CHANGE! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Odd how sometimes you don’t ‘think’ about stuff like that when you move, like whether you’ll fit with the change. I certainly didn’t contemplate it, though now it seems so obvious. I’ve nothing against outgoing types, I can even admire them, but for the hedgerow blackberry picker it can be a strain, when all she wants is to follow the fox tail into the mist.

  11. I understand wanting to wear a mask, to be yourself but to be something stronger than your self at the same time. I can’t recommend the path I took and still take. It is dangerous and can destroy your self. When I was young, about 10, I decided to be other things. To wear a mask of someone dangerous and fearless and to wear it so thoroughly that I deceived myself into believing it. Until I had done it for so long that it became the truth. I was still the poet and the artist but I was this other thing too. And I have never looked back. This is now a conscious tool I use to shape who I am to who I want to be. But as I said it’s dangerous, one misstep and I could have obliterated the core self. Just wanted to share my experience with masks.

    1. Is that a bad thing? I half-wished I had done as you did, because to be someone fearless seems to me, a way to get through the world. What does it matter if it’s not exactly genuine? If you go through life without any protection you will be cut down, then what good does it do? Sometimes I think the one thing I really missed was that lesson, to be fearless and if I could not, to wear a mask that enabled me to fake it. Otherwise you hide underneath a rock. So my friend did you really make a mistake? I don’t think so. I would say you’re more likely destroyed by having such a thin skin everything slays you?

      1. I don’t recommend it because it is treacherous. I could easily have destroyed the pieces I was looking to protect. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It becomes genuine. The mask is no longer a mask. It’s just me now.

        1. Well I think I understand what you mean by possibly destroying pieces (of yourself?) that you were trying to protect but that could happen if you were too sensitive also? Now if you are stronger how can that be a bad thing?

          1. I never said it was a bad thing. Just that it is a dangerous process. Consider it a disclaimer. Rather than a condemnation of the choice. I still use the tool to change aspects of personality that I have acquired but don’t agree with.

  12. I hope you manage to find your inner dragon. This was a thought-provoking post reminding me that lately I have been unable to hide behind my chatty Kerry mask (confident, funny etc) but with the help of some medication, am getting better.

  13. I can’t believe I missed this post and so glad I came back to look at your blog (It hardly ever shows up in the reader). Anyway… OMG! I love this. The whole concept you are talking about is entirely true and at the same time, it’s entirely ridiculous and unfortunate that we think this way. I’m also so envious of people who can just be comfortable doing their thing. I remember in college (probably the most important thing I learned), that whenever I had to give a presentation, I volunteered immediately to go first, because if I sat there and waited, putting off the inevitable, that I would be a complete wreck unable to speak in complete sentences. I would like a lion costume to match my inner lion. Then we could romp around town and get into all kinds of shenanigans ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I wonder why I’m never on the reader? grr. Thank you for taking the trouble to read me! I am so grateful. Thank you so much! I love how you say it’s ridiculous and true because that’s exactly how I see it. I’m envious of people who are not self-conscious so much! I always have been! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

      1. I don’t know! It seems like the bloggers that I want to read the most are the ones I have to go searching for. Oh well, I know where to find you! And I agree, I’m envious of those people too. But I bet they are envious of us in some way too, the grass is always greener kind of thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. I think you are some kind of wonderful too!! I’m going to try to dream of us romping around in front of everyone, doing whatever we want, with big smiles and lots of shouting and no costumes and no worries!! Are you ready? <3 <3

  14. Even in a dragon suit, I would never be able to read any of my work to the public. Not in a million years. So you’re ahead of me already

    1. You know it’s like poetry month etc (everyone is doing the ‘poem a day/ tanka a day / tampon a day’ (lemmings) well so I’m not but I was asked by a group here in shit-ville to read and lots of ‘famous’ poets were going to be there, initially I said yes (must have been on crack) then wrote to lady said no way can’t explained social anxiety big time, she was so nice, said she had it too, but I felt like a total tosser afterward but I just can’t do it. Anyway Naomi Nye was going to be there, and she’s so fucking anti-Israel me and her would have had WORDS it wouldn’t have been pretty, so best that I didn’t ๐Ÿ˜‰ (she once read some of my work and said ‘yeah this would be good for teen girls it’s very angsty, the way she said it I knew what she was saying, whatever, grow a beard and move)

    2. BTW I don’t think I’m ahead of you because you go to Uni and socialize (I see the pics) I don’t do that even anymore (my uni was lame, being catholic they never went out, which is weird I thought catholics drank?) I would if I lived down the road from you and whilst you weren’t looking I’d try on your shoes (bet my collosal feet are like ten times yours, what are you a 35?

  15. There are studies that show some infants have a tendency toward shyness. That suggests there may be a genetic basis for that personality trait. Though it can be crippling, social anxiety is not uncommon. The great actor Laurence Olivier suffered from stage fright. Somehow, we feel our flaws are on display — unnamed flaws so severe we will be rejected, if they ever come to light. But all human beings have flaws and vulnerabilities. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Not everyone seeks out the limelight. <3

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