But I naturally assumed that returning to visit the US would lower those anxiety levels. Back to an English speaking country. I can hear and understand everything and I can ask any question I want.
Well, apparently these levels of anxiety haven’t completely dissipated.
Yesterday we were celebrating my niece’s birthday and I thought the extent of my preparation as a guest in my brother’s house would be picking up after Fynn and making sure he didn’t terrorize anything or any animal since everything else was under control.
But then, my sister-in-law casually mentioned that they were expecting 16 people.
I realized there were only four adults already in the house, but briefly scanned the room to confirm. Suddenly, I began to panic. Were these 16 adults, not counting children? Or did this number, hopefully, include children which would mean I already knew half the people in attendance?
And in an attempt to calm myself, I tried to question from where this panic stemmed.
I have never had anxiety when it came to meeting new people, but after living in Germany and not speaking the language fluently, this minor detail of not being able to communicate in a native tongue somehow made me develop this fear of meeting new people. Hm? I wonder why?
I hate that polite moment when I have a dumbfounded look on my face while everyone is laughing at a joke and Kay has to explain to someone that his wife is “Amerikanerin” and doesn’t speak German, which is then followed by that dreaded moment whether or not they know English and/or want to speak English.
It’s that same feeling like being in physical education and the team captains are selecting their members. Will I be selected quickly to be part of a team or be the last one standing there like a loser? (There’s a reason schools are no longer allowed to use this technique.) The fear of not being accepted let alone not understanding anything that is going on in a conversation.
So it’s completely stupid that I should have this fear of acceptance in the US. We’re all fellow native English speakers. Well, I guess Jacksonville is debatably the South with a different form of dialect, but still easier than listening and trying to understand German.
I also remembered that back in Washington, parties at my brother’s house always involved parents and children from my nephews’ sports teams. A crap load of soccer moms and overzealous sports dads. With me being kid-less, rarely did I feel that I fit in let alone want to hear about what happened at the last game.
I guess all of this combined, sent me into a little frenzy and I realized that well… I’ve got issues. Ok, so maybe this wasn’t news. I was already aware I have issues, but I hoped things would go back to the way they were before I moved to Germany.
Luckily, I was still chasing Fynn around with not much time to give any more thought to these guests I had never met.
I let the night run its course and there was only one family in attendance for which I had never met. They were a nice family and I realized I got scared for nothing, which 9 times out of 10 is the case. Somehow the idea of the unknown is scarier than the reality and it’s times like these that I need to remember my mantra, “I will not let fear control me.”
I need to just relax and enjoy the time I have back in my native country. Alcohol helps too, of course.