I feel that the summer months have watched me slowly slip back into my all-too-familiar social silence.
I went to a surprise birthday party last night. It was all people I’m acquainted with, but haven’t actually had a conversation with. A few months ago, I would have viewed it as a perfect situation–it’s weird to talk to someone you’ve never seen, and only sticking with people you know well can become monotonous. Acquaintance is opportunity.
But no…last night, social anxiety reigned and I could barely find my voice. (Except when a couple of young moms started talking about their birth stories. Those were the most interesting things I’d heard all summer–did you know that delivering a baby on your back is one of the worst ways to give birth?–and I forgot about my anxiety. But then, a new anxiety came…ha!)
It’s a really terrible feeling when all you want to do is interact with someone, but all you can think about is that you don’t want to bother them. Or that you’re too young, or not at the same stage of life, and so you are simply naive and don’t have much to offer–after all, they’ve already been where you are; they’re probably “over it”.
Reading back over that, it’s the most sickening sack of lies I’ve ever heard. Yet when they swirl inside your head with no outlet except for a couple of nervous giggles, it’s all you’ve got.
You see…there is a reason that all of those things take hold over me. Not only am I introverted, which makes me prefer to be by myself…I am also a recovering co-dependent. That means that I let people’s thoughts, actions, words, and attitudes determine if I am inherently good or inherently bad at any moment. A day where I am wanted and appreciated is much different than a day where I am unwanted or unappreciated…it determines my motivation, my mood, my view of my work, my self-esteem,…
And my coping mechanism has always been, as long as I can remember, to shut down and stuff my emotions way deep down, in the name of duty…and they always explode later. I’ve gotten better about that, but I still don’t really understand what I should do with them if I shouldn’t bottle them up.
While we’re on the topic of my problems, I struggle with not viewing myself as “good enough” to be a part of certain groups. I spent my entire freshman year of college wholeheartedly believing I wasn’t as good a trombonist as my same-age counterparts. I missed out on a lot of opportunities to perform and learn. Now…I don’t feel like I am good enough to “fit in” with other married people…especially those with kids. I know, it’s ridiculous, but it plagues me. I find these categories that I could fit into, and then I find ways that I’m not really good enough for them.
I wanted to start a blog that has encouraging, heartfelt, life-changing stories. The ones that you walk away from and you feel that life isn’t so bad after all; and now I have strength to face tomorrow.
But now…I’m thinking that I just want to go on a journey. Life is a journey…and it was silly of me ever to think that I should only tell stories after they are over. But if life is not over, my stories are not over.
This is a new direction. This is for accepting life as it is…whether I am where I want to be, or not. Whether I have something encouraging to say or not. Whether I have a point or not. I don’t care about getting traffic anymore. I don’t care about pleasing people; I just want to write.
And so dang it, I’m going to.
Here’s to the journey of life. Through my co-dependency, through my bottled-up emotions, through my skewed view of myself, through my successes, through my rule-following, my character, my introversion, my relationships, joy, anxiety, wisdom, foolishness.
This is everything. Spilling out. Whether it’s good enough or not.
And it’s gonna be awesome.