It doesn’t show online, but I’m a pretty nervous person. I’m eager to please and I over-apologize, as women are socialized to do. I hate it. I’m working on it.
This nervousness comes with some reactions that I don’t seem to have much control over, though, and that’s my biggest problem. One of the worst of these issues is something I’ve recently decided to call “Authority Figure Anxiety”. As the name suggests, it’s anxiety related to authority figures. I often get them when my Dad pulls the old “I have something to talk to you about later.” Ever want to make an anxious person die on the inside for awhile? Tell them you have something to talk to them about and say it in a really serious tone but then tell them you’ll talk to them about it later. Even thinking about it makes me feel minor authority-figure anxiety. It’s that sort of nauseated feeling that your stomach is traveling around trying to climb it’s way out of your body. I just want the information. I just desperately need to know that I’m not in trouble and that no one’s mad at me or if I am in trouble or someone is mad at me I need to know so that I can do something. Or if I can’t do something then I would at least like the information so that I can mentally deal with not being able to do something.
This feeling doesn’t just happen with my dad, though. It happens when almost any person (but more often than not a man) who is some vague authority figure to me – even if only in my mind – sends me a curt email or a text message that doesn’t allow me to interpret body language or quickly and easily diffuse the situation by asking for more info without sounding like I’m trying to beg for their validation (which is exactly what I’m doing). The feeling is awful and then on top of that I feel awful for having the awful feeling.
The thing is that usually whatever I’m nervous about isn’t a big deal, but I can’t diffuse the feeling by telling myself it’s not a big deal. Rationality doesn’t stop the anxiety. In many ways it only makes it worse. I wish I could make it stop. Most of the time I feel like a boss, but occasionally this happens and it is extremely un-boss-like.
I guess Boss Ladies can also be anxious, but I wish I weren’t.