Everyone is running back and forth after the blue disk as it flies through the air; everyone, except for me. I’m just standing a little ways from the group, watching the Frisbee as it flies back and forth between the players, hoping that my team doesn’t drop it. Every time they throw it, my insides tighten up as I hope as hard as I can it doesn’t come my direction. Even if it did, my hands are so sweaty that it would probably just slide out from between them. “It’s okay,” I tell myself. “There’s absolutely no way they would throw it to me. They know how bad I am at everything. Besides, most of the players are pretty good on this team, they wouldn’t risk it on me.”
“You could always just go over to where all the girls who didn’t want to play are hanging out,” I think. I eye the girls who are just watching us and chatting about… actually I don’t know what they were talking about, because I decided to stay. I didn’t want to quit. I was just standing there, but there was the vague possibility of working up the courage to actually play and enjoy myself. In all honesty though, it was torture. I didn’t want to quit. I wanted to prove to everyone that I wasn’t a crazy, morbid, socially challenged person, but at the same time I gave those labels power by telling myself that I was those things. That I did stink at everything, and that no one really could like me enough to throw me the Frisbee or talk specifically to me for any other reason than out of a sense of duty. Looking back, some of them did, but I was so blinded by fear of judgment that I didn’t see it.
So I stood there, watching the Frisbee as it arched through the air, and thought,”This is pointless. Why am I standing here!? It’s not like they’ll ever actually throw me the Frisbee!” Right at the last moment I realize that the Frisbee was actually flying right within my reach. I had been watching it this whole time only to watch it land right by me. I hadn’t even tried. I just watched it.
Everyone else was watching, too. I don’t even remember picking it up. Man, did I wish I was at home drawing or making poster board armor…
The other team won that round.
Somehow I stayed one more game. I’m trying to shrug it off, but not doing a good job at it. I miss another Frisbee, and the other team started cheering for me. I remember someone, who, after the other team beat us said,”Thanks, Haley! I’m glad you’re not on my team.” (Note: They apologized. They were just being facetious with a bit of friendly competition and didn’t mean to hurt my feelings at all. I just warped it until it added to the power of my social anxiety).
I decided it may be better if I was off the field, as in I beat myself up, because obviously, I only was making everyone mess up, too. This was actually only my second or third time playing Ultimate Frisbee, but of course I accepted the mentality that if at first you don’t succeed, you will not get any better.
That was about a year and a half ago. Times were tough. There are probably plenty of excuses that I could make for why I was on the verge of panic attacks every time I tried to talk to anyone, but the real reason was that I was letting myself think about myself that way and giving the negative voices power. I remember my shame over not catching that Frisbee lasting weeks. I cried about it, I went to bed brooding over it, I even drew a comic about it on my math scratch paper. I was wallowing in my failure. Eventually I did something else that made me look stupid (mostly because I was avoiding looking as insecure as I was) and got over it. It took awhile though.
Why did it take me so long to get over the mere missing of a Frisbee? Because I let it. I let problems get blown out of proportion and affect me more than it should have. What I really should have gotten out of that was: Pay more attention to what you are doing, NOT: Haley, you are a worthless human being because you let everyone down and made yourself look like an idiot.
Why did I put my worth into catching a Frisbee?!
Even though I say I’ve gotten over anxiety and depression, I haven’t. You never “Get over it”. You only stop feeding depression and start feeding yourself truth.
Today, I still have to remind myself where my value is. I still want to stuff it in my art, my writing, how many people actually read this post, and so on, but that isn’t where my worth really is. Those things are just part of me. My true worth is in Jesus. He was willing to die for me, not because I could do anything special, like draw, or write, or catch a Frisbee, but because he loved me. That is what really gives me worth and purpose.