Vague Is I When Scared

I sit here thinking, supposed to be working,
looking like working, but thinking,
closed in by windows with metal frames
and a wooden door with twelve window panes
of twelve by twelve, shrinking from the searing
orange and black and wicked violet of all of the people
who are buzzing all around for the ice cream social,
fully understanding that one of my sidebar sicknesses
is fear of social situations, boiling in my insanity,
shrinking from my nothingness, understanding
that when there is no escape, when the fire door is blocked,
I am as dead as the tan brick on the face of the building
across the street, which is foreboding in its effort
to keep me from running off the rails and crashing my train
into a grandmother’s little yellow house with bright yellow shutters.

When accused of having a phobia, I feel one point four
feet tall. It’s okay for other people to have phobias
but I am astonished at how stupid I could be
to have a phobia.
Normies don’t have phobias.
Normies always feel good
about themselves.
I work hard
to feel good
about myself,
but I am
not sure
if I will recognize it
if it ever comes to me in my eternal hell.

The daggers of irony, of my Catch-22, knowing that I boil
in my self-hatred because I am too scared to go be with
the people, and at the same time, I am fearful to go be
with the people because I boil in my self-hatred and the
striking hammer-blows of knowing I can never be good enough.


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  1. #1 by pattisj on July 8, 2011 - 10:43 pm

    Sometimes “normies” have phobias, too. Maybe not the same phobias, but there nonetheless. I wish I could snatch you out of there and convince you that you have value, you are worthy of respect and admiration; that you would never doubt yourself again.

    • #2 by Carl on July 8, 2011 - 11:01 pm

      You are very kind, Patti. This describes an experience in time, and luckily, normally there is a more balanced perspective and a battle between the okay side and the not okay side. Your words are supportive and you are very kind. I appreciate it when you comment.

  2. #3 by ebbtide on July 9, 2011 - 11:37 am

    I can completely relate – I suffered from social anxiety for years… bad enough I would have a panic attack during staff meetings and have to leave. I still get hints and twinges now and then but force myself through.

    You describe the feeling very well….

    • #4 by Carl on July 11, 2011 - 6:24 am

      Thank you so much for your comment. It is nice when someone can identify.

  3. #5 by Claudia on July 9, 2011 - 2:36 pm

    the good thing is…we don’t need to be good and we never can be enough anyway… i much like that you can put your feelings and fears in such an eloquent way into words carl

    • #6 by Carl on July 11, 2011 - 6:25 am

      Thank you, Claudia. I appreciate your words of encouragement.

  4. #7 by abichica on July 9, 2011 - 7:45 pm

    you really know how to write interesting pieces. keep it up. 🙂

    • #8 by Carl on July 11, 2011 - 6:25 am

      Thank you for your kindness. I appreciate your comment.

  5. #9 by Sana Johnson-Quijada MD on July 10, 2011 - 12:27 am

    this is beautiful, soulful and ripping. it throws me into my memories of those hours of lonely study when in med-school. i didn’t realize until much later how disconnected i was. i remember also though that i had some insight. i knew that it was worth it. the struggle was better than not struggling. the sensual experience of melancholy, down slow-dance that u tell us about, that many of us know too well – i remember knowing that i want to dance even in the dark. keep on and keep us posted.

    • #10 by Carl on July 11, 2011 - 6:26 am

      Thank you for your comment. I remember hours of lonely study – There is a special quality to that, both good and bad.

  6. #11 by Carl D'Agostino on July 10, 2011 - 7:36 am

    Sometimes we have to outsmart the catch22. I try. Sometimes I can’t. That’s why they call it a catch22. I have deleted the comments of Mr. Nolan as well as my replies. He has been my AA sponsor for 9 years. He knows John and Jerry who founded G & G Holistics which is a residential rehab facility with over 100 employees and have been in business for over 20 years with a world wide network . They service at least 200 clients a month and have founded an accredited institute to train therapists and acupuncturists. Apparently he has contempt for these men and the fine work they do. And certainly no respect my my life’s work. He does not understand blog protocol in that if you have insulting things to say you would not send that on the blog but in personal email. I have left criticism in the comments because I am open minded to the suggestions of others. Insults and inappropriate vocab or references are deleted and spammed. Mr. Nolan has a surprise or two coming from me. I look forward to receiving your posts and trust you will remain subscribed to my blog. Because you have been so open with your feelings and I with mine, I value your friendship(Mr. Nolan has lost mine) and felt I owed you an explanation of what this was all about.

    • #12 by Carl on July 11, 2011 - 6:29 am

      Thank you, Carl. I appreciate what you are saying. I have met folks similar to Mr. Nolan. If they can open their mind just a little bit, they can have a better life. I appreciate that you read and comment and I love seeing your posts, so there is no problem there!

  7. #13 by Kay Camden on July 11, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    The good moments in life wouldn’t be so sweet without the bad ones, without the struggles. Gotta have something for comparison!

    • #14 by Carl on July 12, 2011 - 8:48 pm

      Ah, yes, if I had contrasts like what you are speaking about, I’d be in business big time. 🙂

  8. #15 by LetterzToNoOne on July 12, 2011 - 12:07 am

    I resemble this post.

    • #16 by Carl on July 12, 2011 - 8:47 pm

      Those are very strong words, you know! Thanks for commenting.

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