Bio: Erin Rodgers is a writer, comedian and improviser. She is a former member of the Cage Match winning improv team “Bea Arthur” who travelled to New York City to perform in the 13th Annual Del Close marathon in August, 2011. She also formerly wrote for the sketch troupe “Radio Vault” and her short films have been featured at the National Film Board of Canada and on Cracked.com. Erin is part of the exciting new sketch duo “The Young Geologists” with the amazing Gillian English. Erin also produces the popular storytelling show “Awkward: A Show of Epic Fails.” Read her blog here: http://maximumtache.tumblr.com/
Note: I have had problems with social anxiety for years. This meant that I spent years avoiding social events as I would get so nervous that I would act like a weirdo. Or I would be so worried I was going to act like a weirdo that I would seem like a dick. Or I would have a huge panic attack seemingly out of nowhere. Yep, my teens and early 20s were really fun.
- I wish people talked about this stuff more. There is something comforting about finding out that a) a lot of people feel the same way that you do and b) there’s an actual word for it that makes you feel less alone and “crazy.” While I have gotten off fairly easy on the mental illness scale, its amazes me now how much shame I felt for years for being “crazy.”
- Some people try to “help you” by saying things like “Oh that doesn’t exist.” Those people are kind of dicks. However, it’s good to have friends that will gently push you beyond your comfort zone.
- The world is full of genuinely kind and caring people who will be there for you when you need them. Sometimes these people are strangers. I wish I could properly thank the woman who helped me through an extreme panic attack a few months ago.
- Therapy is great, but not all therapists are created equal. If one makes you feel uncomfortable you never need to see them again.
- Stop comparing yourself to people. Everyone’s path is different and while it might be taking longer for you to reach your goals then it is for someone else that doesn’t mean you are inferior to them. Have patience, and keep going forward.
- Deep breathing is super important. It sounds simplistic, but if you’re anxious take a few deep breaths. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel (well, you’ll at least feel a little better).
- You can never tell what someone else is thinking. Often the people you think really have it together are just as insecure and uncomfortable as you are. At some point they might get really drunk and blurt that out. This will blow your fucking mind.
- Being judgemental doesn’t actually protect you from anything. I used to try to “figure out the ways people would disappoint me” right away so that I wouldn’t be hurt (no, I was not a Goth). This way of thinking just kept me closed off from people and stopped me from experiencing a lot of fun times. Oh, and it never stopped me from getting hurt.
- People will always surprise you. Sometimes that’s delightful, and sometimes that breaks your heart. However, remaining open to new experiences keeps life interesting. It will also sometimes send you into a panic. Don’t forget #6.
- At some point everything you find humiliating now will be a hilarious story. Trust me, I’ve created a popular storytelling show called “Awkward, A Show of Epic Fails” around it. *cough* September 8th and October 6th, 2011 at 8pm at Comedy Bar *cough*. Also, if you work on your anxiety enough, you will one day get to the point where you can shamelessly plug your show on a friend’s lovely blog (Sorry Josh).