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THE LYRICS:

I’ve spent so much time scared and confused, with no one to tell, no one to turn to. I’ve spent so much time trying to escape. I told the world “I’m a girl, who’s just too afraid.” So, here we go, around again. I lose control, lose my head. Doing my best to just stay calm, knowing that I can make it through, through the night. Yes I’ve fought the hardest fight, and I swear I’ll try to change my ways, but you don’t, you won’t, you can’t, know the price I’ll pay.
It’s been clear to me you can’t understand, I don’t need you here to hold my hand. Tell me all you see behind both these eyes. I don’t need you to be the one to criticize. I have tried so many times to make it go away. But here I am, stuck again in that same old place. You can poke and you can prod until you get your way, but I’m still here with the same old fear that I had yesterday.

THE STORY:

My anxiety is like abstract art. I always seem to be seeing and feeling it differently. Sometimes, it’s curling in on myself, convinced that squeezing my eyes shut even harder will make me invisible. Other times, it’s a furrowed brow, biting the inside of my cheek, and wiping sweaty palms on the back of my jeans— and believe me, I’m doing my best to plaster what is, at best, a watery smile on my face. Sometimes, you can’t see it from the outside at all, but I’m pretty sure my chest is being ripped open because there’s an ache in my lungs that crawls all the way to my toes. If you can’t see it, rest assured it’s always there and it’s always gnawing away at my peace. And I guess that’s the unfortunate thing about abstract art. No two people see it the same way. With that realization came the lyrics of Around Again.

Over the course of my life, my anxiety was often misinterpreted by those around me as pride, ego, and selfishness. Trust me, it’s definitely not that I think I’m too good to talk to you, it’s just that my mouth has wired itself shut. If it opens, all of the wrong words will come spilling out and I will have nothing to soak them up with. It’s not that spending time with you is a burden to me, but my mind has convinced me that it probably definitely is a burden for you. Of course, I could never tell you any of this. It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just that I need to do and say all of the right things all of the time so that I don’t hurt you. So, I guess it’s more like I can’t trust me.

I get it, it’s pretty easy to mix up the two. And that’s happened a lot. When I wrote this song, it felt like everyone who mattered in my life needed more from me than I could give them. But how do you explain the invisible? There was a constant voice screaming “if you do this, you’re only going to hurt yourself or the people around you and then you’ll be all alone.” At the time, I didn’t know how to put that into words. So, I did my best to give them what they needed, ignoring all of the toxicity that was bubbling inside me. Ironically, doing this always resulted in—you guessed it—hurting myself and hurting others. It was (and continues to be) a cycle that went around and around again.

Since I first penned those lyrics, I’ve made a lot of progress. I’ve come to understand that there is no instant cure and there is no willing this anxiety away. Getting better started with one person who, somehow, was able to see through all of the walls I kept around me. They saw the secrets I kept in a safe, and they picked the lock until the door swung open. After that, it was up to me to let those secrets go. Again, there is no instant cure. Some days it takes everything in me not to slam the door shut again, because everything feels so much safer behind lock and key. But other days I remember that if I hide myself away, nothing bad can find me, but nothing good can find me either.

If anxiety is something you struggle with, know this: your brain is lying to you. There is strength in your vulnerability, there is beauty in your imperfection, and allowing yourself to be yourself will free others to do the same. Get the help you need to be okay again, you don’t have to live in fear.

Thank you for listening to my music and my story. I hope a simple song about my life can become a part of yours, too.

All my love, 
Eraina Joy