I don’t go to the mall that often. When I did go yesterday with my family, I found myself facing anxiety attack after anxiety attack. I kept making excuses for the trigger. I told myself it was because it was crowded. I told myself it was because I tripped and fell going up the stairs and that group of teenagers looked at me. I told myself it was because the Starbuck menu confuses me (It does, it really does). I told myself it was because I didn’t want people to judge me for what I was buying. That was close to what it was. The truth is that malls make me uncomfortable about my sexual orientation.
I’m not uncomfortable with my sexual orientation. I’m uncomfortable about interactions with other people who will assume things about me because of stereotypes, how I dress, how I shop, etc. I’m afraid in public that other people, including those in the LGBTQ community, will not accept me. I worry that people will say I’m gay or that I’m not gay enough. I feel awkward shopping in both and men’s and the women’s departments. I’m too nervous to go into a makeup store. Mostly because of an anxiety disorder but also because I feel I have to live up to a stereotype rather than who I am.
So what did I do?
I went to the bookstore and bought two books about gender and sexuality. If I’m not comfortable now, which I’m not, proven by how much I blushed when I bought them. I’m going to get comfortable. And now I’m going to buy myself some makeup and wear what I want.