I've seen quite a few articles going around on Facebook lately in which the writer shares his or her reasons why people shouldn't walk to class or around campus with their headphones in.
These pieces stood out to me, first and foremost, because I am that person. I am not comfortable even walking to get food without at least one headphone on.
Contrary to what many may think, the main reason I feel this way is not because I don't want to talk to people. I am an introvert, so of course not wanting to walk into an unexpected social interaction is definitely part of it, but the main reason is that having music in the background gives me a feeling of security in an often unpredictable world.
I am prone to feeling anxious, and my anxiety stems from overthinking. I will question myself or my actions relentlessly until my stomach is in knots.
Often, this happens walking between classes or to and from my dorm. As my mind starts to focus on the things I feel I did wrong, I lose all tolerance for things that usually would only slightly irritate me. For example, slow-walkers, loud-talkers and, of course, those people who just stand in the middle of the sidewalk talking to their friend and expect those passing by to navigate around them.
Before long, I've spiraled down into a pit that it will take ten times as long to get out of as it took to get there in the first place. If I have some music in my ears, however, it will be enough to ground me when the anxiety starts to take hold and prevent my mind from spiraling out.
I know it seems like I'm missing out on things. I also know it seems rude but, frankly, I don't care what anyone thinks. This is something that I need to do for myself. I need to have something there to provide a little bit of solace during the events of the day, and music does that for me.
So, to everyone out there who thinks that their opinion about wearing headphones is important enough that it gives them the right to degrade people like me, stop pretending to be worried about my hearing because my music isn't even that loud. It's just loud enough to drown out haters like you.