We are in New York City right now (YAY!) because we were invited to participate in some summer institutes for teachers. Well, today was my first day of class and I am so unhappy with how it went. Not because of the class, but because of me.
I have a hard time talking to people. I don’t enjoy small talk or talking about myself and I especially don’t like speaking to strangers. I’d always just considered this part of my “LGMF style” but lately I’m thinking that it’s a problem. Not just a preference.
I can’t even explain how excited I was to be selected for this opportunity. I also can’t explain how nervous I was this morning on the first day of the session. It started out much like most classes do – “Please introduce yourself…” and I was one of the first ones. The fourth one, to be exact. I wish I could describe the level of anxiety I experience when asked to do stuff like this. I just want to crawl under a rock. Run away forever. Sometimes I do.
But today was different because I could not run away and I actually wanted to make a good first impression. So I introduced myself and because I was so anxious (even though I took 20 milligrams of CBD) I totally sounded like a fool. Whether that’s actually true or not, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty convinced I was a bumbling idiot.
Please don’t say “I’m sure you were fine,” or anything along those lines. That’s not what I need to hear. In my mind I was stupid and I did not let it go for the rest of the day and it is clearly still with me.
The problem is I don’t know how to talk to strangers. One-on-one I’m alright, but in a group (especially a large group where I’m going to be forced to interact) I’m a mess. At the end of the day we had a “cheese and wine” gathering and I forced myself to go. I spoke with someone for a few minutes, but then she left and I stepped out to use the restroom. When I got back everyone was engaged in conversation in groups and I just didn’t know what the fuck to do. Am I supposed to barge in to one of the groups? Am I supposed to stand there until someone approaches me? I fully understand why these things include wine, but I don’t drink anymore so that’s not an option for me. (On a side note, I started drinking at a young age just so I could take the edge off my awkwardness…)
So I ran away as fast as my feet would take me. And it felt so fucking good and I actually do not regret it at all, but there’s a part of me that questions whether I should regret it?
I know I should “just do it” and force myself into these situations. Make myself fit in, accept the realities of life. On the other hand, I really like being myself. I like that I don’t need to have people around me to feel ok. I don’t have to share things about myself. I like my private world.
So is my antisocial, introverted behavior a problem? Is it keeping me from accomplishing things? Or do I just feel this way because society says my type of behavior is not ok? Because I really feel like our culture doesn’t want to accept people like me. Society wants people that will engage. It doesn’t like the wallflower.
People think wallflowers are not having any fun, but I don’t think that’s true. I have plenty of fun silently holding up the wall all by myself. At the same time, I do appreciate having a friend nearby and my antisocial tendencies are not good for forging friendships. You see how my mind goes in circles?
Anyway, the best thing to come of this is that I’m going to start blogging again. Hopefully for real this time. There’s something inside me, or maybe outside of me(?), that keeps telling me to do it and I have to pay attention.
Thank you for reading.