The good news: I sent in my resume to what would be an awesome job. I did not think that anything would come of it and to be quite honest, I kind of forgot about it for a few days. Then today, I had a message from someone wanting to talk to me about the job and I figure maybe an interview.
The bad news: She asked me to call her back.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know how I struggle with calling people on the phone. Oh, how I struggle. I put off having to make phone calls for as long as I possibly can. I make up excuses, I try to find other options to contact people or I just plain don’t do it. Why can I not make phone calls, you ask? It seems like such a simple, ordinary task to most, I know. For me it is different. For me, having Moebius Syndrome comes along with having a speech problem. My speech is kind of hard to understand sometimes. My friend told me tonight that I’m a lot easier to understand than I think I am. I know that that may be true but in my head, it’s not. So phone calls are just a complete no go for me. My greatest fear is that the person on the other end of the phone will answer, I’ll say my part and there will be an awkward silence which inevitably means that they have no idea what I have said and are wondering A) who is calling and what they said and B) what is wrong with them. Oddly enough, most phone calls that I mustered up enough courage to make went okay. Even well sometimes. There are a few times when I am asked to repeat myself but for the most part it’s okay. One phone call that sticks out in my mind happened probably 10 years ago at least. Someone called for my mom. I answered, said that she was out and asked if I could take a message. The woman on the other end of the phone, I don’t know if she asked me something and I was explaining something, that part I don’t remember. All I remember is her exlicity saying in a harsh kind of voice “I can’t understand you”. Like, she outright said it.. Those were her exact words. I was probably 11 or 12 at the time but I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. Maybe that’s where my problem today stems from. Maybe it’s one of the things that contribute to it. I don’t know. All I know is that I’d rather do anything than make phone calls. And the thing is, no one gets it. No one understands this issue. You can’t really, unless you’re in my place. People can tell me all day, just do it. Be strong. You can do it. It’s not a big deal. You’re not that hard to understand. You’ll have to get over it someday. Well, all of these may be true but it doesn’t make it any easier. I wish it was that simple, but the truth is that it’s not. My avoidance of phone calls may sound ridiculous to some, I know. But to me it is a real issue. And a big one at that. If I have to contact someone, I try my hardest to find an email for them. Writing an email is a gazillion times easier than phoning. I love writing anyway so it’s super simple for me to just shoot off an email. Unfortunately, emailing is not always possible, like in this job interview scenario. I have to call this lady back if I have any hope of getting even just an interview. Even leaving a message would be easier than actually having to talk to her because she may listen to the message and think the things that I listed above but I won’t be on the line to experience the awkwardness.
This kind of ties in with my blog post from yesterday about social anxiety. My anxiety both on the phone and in person is based solely on the fear that I will not be understood. How do I change this? I don’t know.. but it needs to change because the stress that it causes is ridiculous. I feel ridiculous writing this post to be honest. I feel like people are reading this rolling their eyes and asking themselves if I am seriously making such a big deal about this. It’s one of the biggest issues in my life right now, honestly. There are a few calls that I need to make but I just can’t bring myself to. It’s terrible and I feel like such a failure at life.
Another one of my friends suggested something called cognitive behavioural therapy. Apparently it makes you address what causes you to have anxiety about the things that cause you anxiety. It makes you address what is causing you to have these thoughts. I thought that this might be a great thing to do.. it might help me immensely. I’m looking into it because I need to do something. This stupid phone phobia needs to end. It will make my life a lot freaking easier. I need to get rid of this social anxiety in general because in the field of work that I’m going into, talking to all different people will just be part of the job. Maybe that will be for the best because the only way things become easier is to do them on a regular basis.
As always if you have any suggestions, comments, advice or anything please feel free to comment!
I’ve been asked to do a blog about a couple of different topics. The first one that I am going to do is this one on first impressions and having Moebius. As we all know, first impressions are what people remember about a person. It’s always important to give a good first impression whether it’s a job interview, first date, etc. You make sure you look presentable, you may rehearse what you’re going to say, you might have everything planned out. Well, having Moebius, I think a good first impression is even more key and not only that but for those of us who live with Moebius, it is a lot harder to give a good first impression. Many may not agree but I’ll tell you why I say this. For people who don’t have a physical difference like Moebius, all you have to do is be polite, dress well, say the right things and that would normally make for a good first impression. For those of us with Moebius though, even though we have dressed well, been polite, etc those same people may look at us and wonder what was wrong with us, if we have mental issues and things like that. We are usually judged solely on how we look on the outside before even opening our mouths. And then when we do open our mouths to say something, for those of us who have speech issues, I think many people are taken aback by our speech when we first meet them. Maybe they can’t understand what we’re trying to say, or maybe they are wondering if we have mental incapacities. I know as soon as someone thinks this about me. They talk really slow and like they are talking to a 5 year old. Being judged on appearance and speech is not only difficult but it makes it hard to give that wonderful first impression that we all strive for when meeting someone for the first time. I can’t speak for others but for me, job interviews or anything where I to interact with someone for the first time is the hardest part. Meeting someone for the very first time is always the toughest part because they may not be aware that there are any differences until they meet you and they may be taken aback.
I think that it is human nature to wonder about people who look different on the outside. I’m not saying that I blame people for wondering if I am mentally disabled or whatever but this is the very reason why I write this blog. I feel (and hope) that by getting my story out there, by getting our story out there (those of us with Moebius or any other physical difference) we will change the world’s mind about us. My hope is that in the very near future, we won’t feel like we are ostracized. People won’t wonder if we are mentally disabled when they meet us. They will know that we are just as or more capable than everyone else on this Earth and we all want the same things: To be successful, to be loved and above all to contribute something to this world. And that is what I hope this blog is doing.
I said a few days ago that I was going to cut back on blogging for a while just because this blog does not have the audience that I would like it to. I love the people who read my blog on a regular basis, and I thank you so much for doing so. I just wish that I could get this blog out to a larger audience. The goal here is to touch as many people as possible with my message about Moebius syndrome and spreading awareness. I share this on Twitter to anyone who will listen and I post it on my personal Facebook page, but there’s not a lot more I can do to let people know about it.. Or is there? Please comment and let me know any ideas on how to gain a larger audience. All I am striving for is to spread awareness about Moebius and share my experiences, my trials and tribulations in hopes that it will help in some small way make the world a more tolerant and understanding place. As always, let me know your thoughts on this. Please do comment and let me know if you like my blog, if you’ve learned anything, any questions you may have or anything. I’m not getting any feedback so I really just need to know how I’m doing and if this blog is reaching it’s full potential and if it’s truly doing what I want it to do which is, again, to raise awareness.
Okay. Onto the topic for today. Social anxiety is something that I know many people suffer from. One of my best friends was over at my house today. She has told me before that she has social anxiety and today she said she just didn’t know what to say, how to approach people. I didn’t really know that people felt the same way as me because this is exactly how I feel. Our house is under construction right now and there are 2 guys that are here working every day. I have kind of come to know them a bit. I don’t talk to them too much unless it’s just a passing conversation. I am not going to lie to you, dear blog readers.. I find the two guys really freaking attractive. I don’t want be a creeper though although today it might have seemed like it as my friend and I were sitting at the table laughing really loudly all afternoon. So anyway, back to the point. It’s not so much that I have social anxiety as much as it is to do with my having Moebius. I guess if I do have social anxiety, it is definitely because of the Moebius. It’s not how I look or anything. I do have the facial paralysis but that doesn’t really bother me anymore. It’s my speech. I worry about walking up to someone, saying something and having them not understand what I said. It’s happened before and trust me, it is so awkward. I do not know how to start conversations with people. I would love to be able to talk to these guys like they were my friends but I just physically can’t do it. They kind of joke around with me sometimes and they’re super nice but I’m just held back by the way that I speak and I worry that they won’t understand and that would be super awkward. This is why I kind of try to have conversation starters that people can see rather than hear. For example, sometimes if I go to get myself a coffee or something, I will bring them a box of TimBits (for all you non- Canadians Timbits are donut holes). I’ll come home with the box and I’ll be like “I brought you a gift!” or something like that. There’ll be a few exchanges between us and I’ll go back inside wishing I could have said more. It’s not only with these guys though, it’s with anyone. Any new person that I don’t know very well, I can’t approach and start a conversation. People say “oh, just do it. It can’t be that bad” stuff like that but it is extremely difficult for me to start conversations with anyone that I don’t know well. I went to a hockey practice one morning last year and I’m a fan of the team that was visiting. I saw a guy in that teams jersey. I so wanted to go up to him and be like “Go [insert team name here]!” Or “love your jersey”! Or something like that. But I couldn’t. It’s so frustrating! I don’t know how to come out of my proverbial shell. If anyone has anything to say about this please comment and let me know! I am open to any and all suggestions. It’s just frustrating not being able to communicate easily with people. Maybe I’m thinking that I sound worse than I really do and I know that the only way to work through this is to converse with people more and put myself out there but it is so difficult and I really don’t know how to overcome this. I want to be able to talk to people, offer the construction guys coffee or whatever but I just avoid conversation. It’s tough. So social anxiety can be caused by anything and it’s a real thing and it is hard to live with. I know that mine is caused by Moebius syndrome and having a speech impairment but lots of different people have varying degrees of social anxiety.
A few different friends have asked me to blog and give my perspective on a few different topics. I can’t do it all in one blog so there will be a couple more blogs coming possibly tonight or tomorrow.
Like always if you have an opinion on anything that I have talked about in this blog or any other blog, suggestions, advice, questions, etc.. Please comment and let me know!