Just like everyone else, I have fears. Heights and being eaten by an alligator are near the top of that list.
Thank god I don't live in Miami anymore, where kayaking brackish waters scared the piss out of me. Although no one could tell cause I was already wet. But, I digress. As a shy, introvert, my #1 top fear has always been social. Which is why I'm a writer. Blissfully alone with my thoughts, with a keyboard for a companion.
The thing is, I really like people a lot. I just want to meet them one at a time when I'm not dressed up to look presentable in uncomfortable clothes in the morning. That's when I have most of my energy to force myself to do things I absolutely don't want to do. Of course, that's not how social occasions work. They're generally large affairs with plenty of people, wearing high heels, in the evening.
Luckily, this one is smallish, I'm wearing my cute flip flops and a t-shirt dress in the late afternoon. Because after the initial stress of deciding whether to go or not to go. And making the phone call to commit, hoping against hope you'll get their voicemail, after all that, then comes the stress of what to wear. I never want to be the most dressed up person there. Or the most casual person. Both mean you stand out. And that's the last thing I want to do. I've even gone into my closet in search of a forgettable outfit to combat this. Usually, I try to go middle of the road and think about what the other party goers, who I don't even know, might be wearing. Which creates a lot of What not to Wear hypothetical scenarios for consideration. And, it's exhausting.
The day of the event, I'll try to distract myself. But, I won't. I'll obsess over what I'm going to say. Imagining I'll drop the salsa all over my dress and the cilantro will inevitably get stuck in my teeth. Making it uncomfortable for the person I'm trying to talk to while I do my friendly listening smile I practiced in the mirror that morning.
The more I try to stop this vicious cycle, the more it plays on repeat in my head.
Finally, when it's time and I walk in to introduce myself, I get so nervous, that I can never think of intelligent things to ask or say. I totally draw a complete blank and become a total freakin' moron. Every stinkin' time.
Which is exactly what happened yesterday at my friend's baby shower. What I didn't know when I rsvp'd is that two other friends of mine would be there. Thank god. But this moron amnesia, it's not just verbal. So, when it came down to playing the obligatory games like they do at showers, I had nothing. Absolutely nothing in my head to put down on that piece of paper. Which made me feel really awkward, so I just wrote down smart ass comments as fast as I could to look busy. While self-editing in my head. because I didn't know if they collected them or made us read them out loud or something at the end. Thankfully, they didn't. But, I was the only person to score an absolute zero on nursery rhymes. Effectively, I failed a pop quiz that a 3 year old would have aced. How embarrassing is that?
And that's when I went home and opened that really cheap, crappy bottle of merlot that someone always leaves at your house after a party.