a tell-tale from childhood about anxiety.


I was walking on the sidewalk in my residential complex by a black metal fence probably bordering the park. It was mid evening, and summer because it was late but still bright outside. I often recall a certain event from that day. I’ve remembered this event since it happened it seems. It pops in my brain even now,  18 years later. I was walking with my babysitter and perhaps her little sister or some other younger child that she was also baby sitting. My baby sitter reminded me of Laura from Family Matters. She had pretty thick black hair, down to her shoulders and dark brown skin. I think she had on a striped shirt. I was no older than 7 years old.

I was walking behind her when I began praying to myself. Or chanting something to myself. Or, maybe I was just talking to myself in a hushed voice. Whatever I was doing was peculiar and my baby sitter told me to stop. But I began again. I was so compelled to continue I even attempted to talk lower so she couldn’t hear me, and she told me to be quiet again with much more aggression this time. I don’t know how many times she demanded me to stop. I believe she had to tell me that children don’t do that, and that it’s quite strange for me to continue to do that — to talk to yourself. I think at that moment I understood I was not like every other child. Maybe even most children. I remember feeling very embarrassed and very nervous and uncomfortable. And very small. Smaller than I had ever felt and I was only 7 years old. That was one of the first times I was filled with anxiety.


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