So today I had a conversation with a coworker and she told me she thought I was latina when she first saw me. I said "oh, no, I'm black and white." And then she says "latina is an ethnic group, not race." I knew this. But in my head I was thinking "then why did you ascribe an ethnicity to me by sight?" I responded something like "Yeah, I know, but I'm just black, you know, normal black." I know my comments were offensive because they other identities that incorporate both Latina and African/"black" elements. But in the moment, I said those words because I was attempting to answer what I perceived to be an implicit question— "why do you look this way if you are not what I thought you were at first sight – latina?" My thought process definitely doesn't diminish that I erased people's experiences- intent isn't magical. I'm just explaining what I was thinking. Anyways, after I said the word "normal" I whispered a rambling "blackumI'msorry" and "you know" and then shuffled away, horrified that I said something so stupid.
Things like this have been happening since I started working. Part of the problem, I think, is my anxiety about work. I'm incredibly anxious around people. I was hired maybe a month ago and have been around the staff for years, but the anxiety is not lessening. I still feel like that barrier exists when talking to people.
When people ask me something, I feel compelled to say something, even if that something is inarticulate and offensive, or, as I mentioned before, I blank out completely and just say nothing.* I feel completely out of control of my body and it's a terrible feeling. I want to fix this problem (yeah, I do perceive it as a problem because it impairs me/hurts others). I perceive every conversation as a big drama because I don't know how to orient myself properly within extemporaneous workplace discussions, much less fix blunders when they occur.
This is compounded by a pressure that I feel to be confident. My workplace is of the feminist "lean-in" variety - asking that women be confident, don't shrink away from shit. I feel like I can't express my unease or tell others that I am struggling socially. I can't be...confidently under-confident in the workplace. I feel like I have to express certainty and answer that question, even when I am not certain and cannot provide a clear answer. I feel like I have to respond in a timely manner.
Anyway, I'm just venting here/feeling like a shit person (probably less shitty that the poc I erased with my shitty shit comments, though). I don't really know what to do - this is just something that's happening a lot at work and it's freaking me out. Most days after work I end up driving home screaming internally about how fucking stupid I've been.
I wish I had insurance or something to get help, but I'm part-time. I've looked up free clinics in my area for mental illness, but I'm not a resident yet so I don't qualify.
Note: *my stupid idiotic neuroses don't excuse my offensive behavior.
ETA: I just reread this and realized people might think I'm expecting sympathy for my ignorant whateverIwanttocall them comments. That's not the case. Please tear me down if you think I need it.