Anonymous Supremacy

When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?

Source: Witness Protection

Another “Would You Rather” question. I see what you did there, Daily Post. Yet I am glad to participate as always.

Assuming I was reincarnated from a sea cucumber, the lifestyle I developed then must have influenced my current conduct as a human being as I have never done anything that is near to the definition of extreme; extreme sports would be a good example of the things I may not be too keen on. The extent of scary or stressful activities I did mostly revolved around socializing and speaking in public; basically confronting my anxiety in a daily basis, because apparently men are social animals… well, not exactly by nature, hopefully.

This brings me to my junior high and high school days when I used to join local speech contests or news reading competitions, which is quite unimaginable why now that I look back, questioning why I consented in the idea of entering a competition of other things. How time has flown, how pre-adulthood has ruined my self-esteem.

I sound mawkish too numerous a time despite my age. Right, coming back to the bloody point.

In such minuscule scope of experience in public speaking, which still can be intimidating regardless of one’s level of confidence, there was one incident when my Dad came to see me in a speech contest in which I failed miserably. By then I was in between preparation for two competitions which was only one or two weeks apart from each other, which I knew was a bit too much, but I was too naive a kid to see that my teachers were just in midst of wishful thinking when they cheer me up saying I can nail it that I ended up agreeing to do both. That aside, I was doing pretty well on the introduction, but when I realize my Dad was part of the audience, I weirdly freak out, forgot what I have to say and did not handle it well as I just blabber incoherent words and exit the stage in shame. Afterwards, I made sure that, whenever I enter into such settings, there are lesser people personally close to me in real life within the crowd watching.

I came to be aware of how I get even more uneasy when I need to perform in front of people whom I assume knew me quite well. I guess fetus me unconsciously considered judgment and opinions from close ones more seriously than mere strangers or those known in a professional setting. I mean, I did not mind my teachers, classmates, juniors or seniors watching because in my head, they were in a box labeled “Tier (insert less important number): Follow the general rules, and you’ll be off the radar”. Submit the homework, pass the tests, wear the uniform without stupid stylings; anything for no nonsense high school drama. Only catch was that part when somehow my teachers decide I should join these contests, but, business as usual, if that is what it takes for me to skip math classes and be considered compliant enough so I could be left on my own without much spotlight, I would do it. And I did. Them watching me in the competitions is just part of the deal.

There is also this unlikely feeling of control one can have over strangers, which helps boost enough confidence to do something out of the daily routine, especially for those helpless jittery people like me. That idea of doing a “one-time thing” in front of people who would eventually shrug it off in passing seems to give one a sense of power over whatever actions they are about to do, like they couldn’t give a damn whatever the consequences may be. For people who needs think too excessively about whichever actions they usually do because they are clumsy or anxious as fuck, that numbs the nerves just as well as freaking Orajel in case of toothache. Temporary, but just as effective, because that’s exactly how long until I can be done with it, go home and lock myself in my room to call the day off.

I would like to be clear though; I am not advocating for people to do preposterous things to strangers for no reason. Rather, the moral of the story is: as a teenager, don’t immediately take the words of adults to heart, even in an educational setting. They can be misleading to think it’s time for you to stretch your capabilities or bear more responsibilities. To be fair, despite particular truths by the advantage that they roam the earth before you do, adults make mistakes too.

Oh, and don’t try to multitask if you’re not wired to do so. Results could be disastrous, mostly to yourself.

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