Music a huge part of my life. It’s always on in the background at home. When I leave the house, I have headphones in my ears. When I eat out, I’ll often go somewhere where music is playing.
When I was growing up, social anxiety used to be huge problem. I would often have a walkman (a cassette walkman!) with me. I think I started listening to it at swim meets and on the bus back and forth.
It was a way to distract myself from my surroundings. Something that is a problem for someone with social anxiety. Not only a distraction, I didn’t know how to communicate with other people. I wasn’t sure how to hold a conversation. It’s still something I’m working on. I’m slowly getting better at it. For instance, when walking into this restaurant, a lady was tying up her Boston Terrier to the railing outside so that she could duck inside to buy a burrito. While standing in line, she took a second to look back past me to check to see if he was alright. When she looked back, we had this brief conversation:
Me: That’s a cute dog.
Me: What kind of dog is it?
Her: A Boston Terrier.
Me: Nodding and smiling.
That was it. I hope she didn’t see that as flirting. I’ll never understand that. I just saw an opportunity to practice this odd thing people do called small talk. I usually don’t do it with people I don’t know. If I know you well enough, it’s rather easy. But, a stranger? Now, that’s been nearly impossible.
I grew up in Southern California during the 1980’s. So, of course I was a big fan of KROQ radio at 106.7 FM. It was and probably still is the hub of alternative rock in the US. Too me, the DJ’s at KROQ were kind of like rock stars. Richard Blade, Jed the Fish, The Swedish Eagle. One of the DJ’s used to even come to my little home town to DJ dances at the high school.
When satellite radio came into being, I signed up. And when the 3G networks in the US became reliable enough, I started using my phone as a way to stream music in the car.
It’s really unreal that I can listen to music from anywhere in the world just by turning on the computer or opening up WunderRadio or Pandora on the iPod Touch.
But, I have noticed something about myself as depression and anxiety aren’t as big part of my life as much. I’m often putting down the headphones. It’s getting easier to live in the real world without a soundtrack. Some of it is habit nowadays. I have to consciously think about turning off the music. But, at least I’m willing to do so.