I'm proud of my anxiety.
I used to be scared of swimming. My friends would laugh and say, “It’s no big deal, Kaia. It’s just water.” But to me, it was a giant pool of fear.
I'm also afraid of the dark, so I like to be close to my parents when I fall asleep. I get shy around people I don’t know and my words get jumbled when I talk in front of crowds.
I know sometimes I think about things differently than other people. I notice things that other people don’t. I have anxiety.
I used to hate that my anxiety made me different. I thought I wasn't brave like my friends or that maybe it meant something was wrong with me. But there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s not weak to admit you’re afraid... it’s strong!
And I don’t just notice things that make me afraid — I notice things that make me smile, too. I notice when a rainbow is in the sky. I notice when you cut your hair. I notice when you’re sitting alone at lunch and need a friend. I notice when you need me, and I am there because I know what it’s like to feel alone.
Just like Spiderman has spidey senses, that’s what my anxiety is for me. Having anxiety — and always noticing the little things about people — makes me kind. So no, I am not going to calm down or get over it. And no, there is nothing wrong with me.
I’m proud of being who I am and proud that I’m brave enough to admit when I’m afraid. I’m proud of my anxiety because anxiety is my superpower.
Kaia James is in the 5th grade and her column 'Dear Diary' appears in every issue of Girls' World, a magazine for kids age 7-11. This article is from the current issue, available on newsstands now.
This article was originally published at Girls World Mag. Reprinted with permission from the author.