The story of a phobia

Those of you who knows me probably heard me joke about being shy. And, most of you have brushed it off as a joke.

I have a phobia with being in a group of people bigger than 3. Three because I’ve had to go out a lot with friends who are coupled up.

This phobia comes from things that happened when I was fresh off the immigration boat and shoved into a class of French speaking Quebequois. There are quite a few painful memories and I don’t think I’d like to overindulge in these right now. Suffice to say that having the teacher ask the whole class if anyone pity me enough to include me in their group is quite a shameful experience. I still remember how people avoided looking in our direction for fear of getting me attached to their group.

Till today, I always have to mentally prepare myself, to convince myself that this is not the past, before any setting that involves a group of people. “It’s the best way to learn a language”, I think they read it from some book. It works, but I still don’t know if I should thank my parents or hate them for sending me to schools where there are no other Mandarin speaking people…

Maybe, you can understand me better knowing that I’ve never experienced or enjoyed high school life. It was as if though everything is buffered and delayed. Never in the moment. Lost in translation. Can you see me laughing at a joke 6 hours after, when I looked it up in the dictionary at home?

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