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I See You

Mar 25 | Posted by: Rebecca Loebe |

In my line of work, I come into contact with a lot of socially awkward people. I come into contact with a lot of people period and, frankly, a lot of people are socially awkward. Including me. Don’t get me wrong - I know I’m outgoing and comfortable in conversation and have mostly conquered any fear of public speaking I once had. 

But also in crowds, I get deeply afraid that I am going to mess up somehow, forget someone’s name, make some offensive faux pas and hurt someone’s feelings or embarrass myself. The funny thing about this fear is that it’s self-fulfilling; in a big crowd, I will start to feel a little panicky and then my brain just starts to shut down. I start losing contact with the part of my mind that attaches names to faces and I convince myself that I’m going to screw up and then I do. 

At a big SXSW event a few years ago I tapped Raina on the shoulder in a panic and asked her to identify someone for me so that I could say hello properly. I knew I should know her name, I just couldn’t remember who she was for a brief terrifying moment. Raina gave me the name and a quizzical brow - as soon as she said it I realized that the person in question is someone I’ve known for years. In a smaller setting I would have known exactly who she was and remembered the depth and breadth of our relationship, but in my panicked crowd-mind I just couldn’t get there.

Good thing I don’t have to spend much time in large crowds. Oh, wait…

I’m saying all this because I want you to know that I see you. It is hard being human. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be called being human, it would be called being a chair or an oak tree or a mechanical bull (speaking of which, that would be a fun job). As I travel it is a privilege to get to know so many of you, share a little time, share some stories and see your sweet faces. I just want you to know that I see you.


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