How to deal with performance anxiety (Give Up Now)

I suffer from severe performance anxiety. I’m awesome at doing things when no one is watching, but if there’s anyone looking at me, I freeze.

With running, I can totally just hide in the crowd. No one’s sitting there going “Oh my gosh, look at her heel strike! What poor form! Her breathing pattern is far too shallow. She is clearly not running for optimal speed. Tsk.”

(Well, maybe some are, but if you’re picking me out of a crowd of people in a race to criticize me, that’s your problem. Although I do wear running skirts sometimes, so that might be a cause of justifiable ire.)

I’m a little overwhelmed by the crazy amount of blog traffic I got this week thanks to Shelby. (Thanks, by the way, Shelby!) Rather than sitting down at my computer going “Eh, what the hell, nobody reads this” I’ve been going “MUST BE FUNNY. BE FUNNY OR DIE.”

This anxiety has plagued me throughout my life. The worst was when I was a figure skater – that  ‘spotlight of doom shining on you while everyone eagerly awaits the moment where you crash on your butt’ thing never really worked for me. Always a people pleaser, I made sure to give the crowd what they wanted: lots and lots of falling on my butt.

This anxiety effects everything I do. Take cooking. I will make amazing meals for a party of two, but if I’m giving people food or having anyone over, I totally freak out.

  • “Oh God, I think my cookies are too crunchy. And the chocolate-chip to dough ratio is too low!”
  • “This spaghetti is a disaster. The noodles are soft, when they CLEARLY should have been al dente!”
  • “The steak is overdone! Underdone! Dammit people, why can’t we all just like pink steak?!”
  • “I only cooked four chicken breasts for four people. IF WE RUN OUT OF FOOD THE WORLD WILL END.”

Let’s not get into the days when I prepare scads of animal flesh only to discover my guests are vegetarians.  (Like, seriously people, when I ask if there’s anything you don’t like, mentioning an entire food group you find revolting seems like a no-brainer.)

90% of why I ran a half marathon. Sadly not joking.

I also inflict myself with anxiety, even when no one is really watching. Now that I have my awesome 13.1 sticker on my car, I’ve totally psyched myself out of running races. I’ve done almost all the distances now, and my 2-ish month running hiatus probably means I haven’t gained speed.

I hope you all don’t have any plans in the next few months – hopes, dreams, aspirations. Anyone planning to get married? You? Too bad. You – pregnant chick – forget seeing your child.

Screw your training plans. Give up your kale smoothies and frozen yogurt bowls, and live it up with some full-fat ice cream.

Because I’m planning to do a 10K soon, in spite of my better judgement.  I will probably not beat my time. And, guys, I’m really sorry about this, but when that happens, the world as we know it will end.

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5 Responses to How to deal with performance anxiety (Give Up Now)

  1. Kara says:

    This wasn’t funny enough. I’m not going to read this blog anymore.


  2. *sob* But Kara, you were my only reader for so long! You are my core audience!

    It’s because I don’t have a little charming toothless person or a dog, isn’t it?

  3. RoseRunner says:

    Shelby did you good. Even with the spotlight on you, you’re hellza cute and entertaining…blogger witty, ya know?

    freezing up + running = me at high school track. I wanted to puke all day before race days. too much pressure for 100 measly meters (and 13 seconds!!)

  4. shelby says:

    “Entertaining” gives me major anxiety too. I always end up cooking 3X as much food as necessary, with like eight different options in case someone shows up and suddenly announces that they are vegan or allergic to shellfish or whatever. GAH

    Good luck with the 10K! Sorry for flooding you with traffic! Haha, nah I’m not sorry. 🙂

  5. I adore the 13.1 magnet on my car, too, and I also hate when people watch me do things unless I ask them to (read: almost never).

    The absolute worst is when you’re in training to learn something, ie; at a new job. You know, that moment when whoever is training you is like “okay, now you try it with the next customer and I’ll watch!” My train of thought instantly turns to expletives and I will inevitably deliver the most awkward and unprofessional product presentation of my life. Super awesome.

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