Skip to content
delivering in nyc

Delivering In NYC Helped Me Overcome My Social Phobia

I will preface this by mentioning that I am a Mexican American college student with Native Mexican parents from the state of Oaxaca.

I was born and raised in the borough of the Bronx in April of 1996. I went to grade school three minutes away from my parents' small apartment near Jerome Avenue (quintessential Bronx). I have always been an outcast in this neighborhood, or felt like one for that matter. By age 14, the entire block knew me by name, knew my parents, and knew that I had been granted the salutatorian title upon graduation from middle school.

I didn't like the extra attention. I remember asking my guidance counselor if I truly 'had to'. By this time I was very careful about the situations I put myself in, being sure to avoid drawing attention or at least minimizing it. My counselor insisted that I certainly 'had to' be gifted a plaque. All that ran through my mind was how many people would be at graduation, who would be there, what I would say upon receiving this honor, and what a crippling worry about what I would 'do with my face and stance'.

Throughout my four years at the Bronx High School of Science, my fears and worries became more serious. 'What do I do with my face?' became 'Where can I hide today during lunch so that no one sees me by myself?' Being a minority felt more pronounced than ever here. My poor social skills and lack of friends didn't make anything any easier. I felt awkward, but not the adjective. I felt like I was wearing 'awkward' over my clothes every single day.

delivering in nyc

I felt truly and competely alone for the first time. I could not see myself, in any scenario, having a conversation with the people who were 'above me' in mind. I believed that my ethnic background made me less, and my social awkwardness made me nothing.

The typical New Yorker has a strong personality, and has the 'keep to myself / don't care what you think' mentality. I've never fallen into that category and do not wish to, but man, it must be a peaceful state of mind not having to worry about what the white business man on the subway is thinking when he glances over at me and wonders why I am looking down, hiding my face with my hair.

I joined the workforce in 2015 hopping between different jobs. I ended up landing on a delivery job at a Lower East side diner. Things changed from here. This was a fast paced environment where I had no time to think about how my voice sounds or how I am moving my arms while I walk. I was biking to and from, back and forth, between the diner, classy apartment complexes, hospitals, and luxury hotels, hair salons, and a montage of fine business buildings.

This exposure made me realize how many people out there are in my shoes. Of course, I've always known about the 'melting pot' term. Swimming around in it changed everything.

The comfort I have gained by simply greeting the Greek doorman at the Gramercy complexes every morning and delivering lunch to the blond director at the Citigroup office and having a conversation about how we were at the same Radiohead concert at Madison Square Garden in 2016 feels gratifying and wholesome. Even the quiet elderly woman of very few words who orders her oatmeal every other morning has pryed open my eyes 'She's just like me, even if she lives on the 48th floor of this Chelsea tower.'

Living in New York City was, and continues to be a blessing. The phobias and anxieties are gone. The city itself is my therapy. It's a small world. All one needs to do is stand with open arms, this city will make sure you see a bit of yourself in every single soul you come across.

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN

Previous Karina Vetrano & Victim Blaming

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields