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  • To comprehend my social anxiety, one could picture two scenarios: a phone number written on a post-it note waiting to be called and the open door of a plane accompanied by a parachute. Calling the doctor or jumping out of the sky. To fully understand my social anxiety, one must understand that I would choose the latter. So, naturally, when someone invited me to a Dave Matthews Band concert held at a venue made to hold 30,000 people, I was wary and hesitant to acquiesce.
    Let me explain to you a thing.
    To be at a concert with 30,000 people would involve the following:
    accidentally bumping into someone,
    having to make conversation with a stranger,
    feeling random breath on the back of my neck,
    an inevitable sense of claustrophobia and the general sensation of wanting to throw up or faint. If I couldn't handle calling the dentist to reschedule an appointment, there was no way I could handle this concert.
    But it was Dave Matthews, and I had to go.
    Yes, in the beginning I was more than uncomfortable. I got that queasy, about-to-vomit feeling a few times, and my vision would go black around the edges. There were people literally everywhere, and for a while it did feel like I was suffocating. But then Dave began to play and instead of a giant crowd of strangers that were watching and judging me, the ocean around me slowly became a band of unified souls. No one was there to point out how red my face was, or how I mumbled and looked at my shoes all the time. They didn't make a point of making me feel isolated. Instead, they invited me in and wrapped me up into their family. Rather than asking why I looked so nervous, they asked me to dance with them. They told me they liked my shirt and asked if I was having a good time. I was finally able to reply that I was, and what's more extraordinary is they heard me.
    It's not as if I go to one concert and all my anxiety is suddenly drained. I'm aware of how far I have to go before I can even pick up the phone and call the dentist's office. But for one night, one night of Dave Matthews, I felt a little free.
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