Let’s talk about social anxiety for a moment, shall we?
More specifically, let’s talk about MY social anxiety for a moment. Those who may think I am superfab, may want to read this whole ass-long entry and be educated in one of the realities of “Being Loralee”.
On Sunday, I was invited to participate in a blog reading with 10 other fabulous people (All of whom are funnier than I am. Seriously.) It was appropriately titled “Live Blogging Thingy ’08″.
Here we are, from left to right:
Looks fun, no?
This mic had incredibly good sound quality and pickup.
That doesn’t look so bad, right?
Before I begin I have to say that this reading was the HIGH point of the day and that I did have fun and a good time. (Promise!)
To understand, you need to hear about how my morning went before I even got up to the pulpit to speak. I have a hard time meeting new people. Especially when I am on my own. This was also the first “Big” thing I faced without having a can of Diet Coke in my hand. I know that sounds lame but as I’ve said, I feel like Linus sans security blanket.
I started off fighting with my spouse, which never puts me in a grand mood. I thought I left Provo in plenty of time to get to downtown Salt Lake. Not only that, but I alloted for “Down Time” to find a quiet corner and review my readings, put my notes in order and take a few deep breaths before going into the presentation.
That was before I came to the conclusion that the Universe considers me its favorite toy to eff with.
First, I got pulled over for going SIX MILES over the speed limit. I was also chastised for my gas door being broken and part of my front fog light grill missing. I was beginning to think that he wasn’t really a cop, but one of those people with fake badges and uniforms that get women to pull over because of some trifling thing and they end up ravaged and dismemebered in multiple hefty bags in a landfill somewhere.
He didn’t even give me a fix it ticket or written warning.
It was very bizarre.
When I left, I was so rilled that I got off on the wrong exit and then became totally lost. Not difficult to do when you have the directional sense of dirt. I seemed to get more and more lost, when it happened. I hit a pothole and my non-Diet Coke drink spattered all over the front of my shirt.
What to do?
I finally found a gas station and asked for the location of the nearest on ramp. Turns out I was near Nordstrom Rack. I could write a whole post about how much I love this store, but that is a post for another day. Not wanting to risk the chance of getting lost again finding a lesser known mall location, I decided to try and find a shirt in there.
Everything was either staggeringly expensive or too dressy or too tight or too hideous or too sheer and too dark to wear with a white bra.
There was one shirt that kept catching my eye. An adorable white button down with the cutest puffed sleeves. It would have looked better with a sweater vest, but it was adorable.
The only one I could see was an extra small.
The very flustered dressing room attendant was getting rather annoyed with my back and forth changing at record-breaking speeds. Who cared if I screwed up my hair, I had to find something to clothe my naked body.
I checked my phone and saw that I had 20 minutes to get to my reading and I was still blocks away.
I made my way to the front door, resigned to show up at this event even if it meant wearing a soaking wet shirt that made me look like a nursing mother in the middle of a lactating accident, when I saw it. A peek of white puffed sleeve sticking out of the jacket section of the men’s department.
It was the shirt! In a size medium!
I didn’t even try it on, just rushed to hurry up and wait to be checked out by the cashier that was being trained.
I got into my car and raced to the library. Miraculously, I found the parking complex and changed in my car. If anyone was in the library parking lot and saw a half-dressed flustered chick in a Volkswagon Passat wagon, I’m really, really sorry.
Looking in the salty reflection of my unwashed car, I noticed that the shirt was a bit too snug and see-through, which added to the overall feeling of new, discomfort and anxiety.
Then I got lost in the library (Directional sense of dirt, remember?)
The place is huge, there were no maps and no one was available at information and I rode four different elevators to try and find someone. The only person I managed to find was the homeless guy with a slush puppy that kept getting on every elevator I was in.
By the time I found it, I was well over 15 minutes late and they were already on the second speaker.
My mouth was dry, I felt nervous, sweaty and shaky and this feeling increased when I realized that the final page of one of my posts wasn’t there.
I scrawled down as much as I could remember on the back sheet and when it was my turn to get up to the podium, I was a freaking MESS.
My choice of selections kinda sucked. I mean, I am very proud of the entry I read about the woman in the grave next to Matthew’s, but let’s talk about bringing the room DOWN.
And my second? It was the piece I wrote about Matthew McConaughey on Friday. It wasn’t my funniest piece I’ve written by far, but I truly just didn’t have time to comb through and select a piece. I was baking fattening French food, remember?
I LEFT A PAGE ON THE CHAIR NEXT TO MY SEAT.
Not the one that was missing in the first place. ANOTHER ONE.
So? I had to pull out a good 3/4ths of that post out of my ass and make it sound like I was reading it. I’ve been through lots of things like that on stage. You HAVE to learn to fly by the seat of your pants or you are DOOMED. It was kind of a blur, but I lived through it despite my throat being as dry as the Salt Flats. (I obviously failed to notice the bottled water placed so kindly on the table.)
The thing is? I usually have a dressing room to have an emotional freak out by myself afterwards.
Here? I had to meet lovely, charming people while in a state of mid-level anxiety.
What is the worst, is the aftermath. The thinking and the analyzing on the way home. Because that is what I do. I have social encounters and then I freak out and analyze what went down and then post my shame for all the world to see.
Here are a couple of examples:
One blogger (Who shall remain anon for the time because I didn’t talk to her about writing this conversation) came up to me and said, “I wanted to pipe up and say that I like Matthew McConaugheyBECAUSE he is dirty! I think it’s a turn on. When you said you wanted to scrub him down with Lysol and a loofa I turned to my friend and said, ‘I do, too!’.”
To which, I answered some total piece of crap mumbling like, “Well, I guess it’s because when I think of him I’m picturing him as a boyfriend or husband and he’s just skanky. Maybe I should step out of the box and picture him as a dirty, whorish, one night stand to find him attractive.”
Hours later (You know, during the analyzing freak out) my mind translated that statement into the following:
“I am a pure, judgmental person who would never even fantasize about anyone outside of a monogamous relationship. Since you fantasize about “Oily Boy”, you are obviously a total whory slut who has one night stands standing up by the urinal of some random airport restroom, you slutty urinal whore, you.”
I kinda want to stick my head into the earth.
I open my mouth and lame things just pour out of it.
I’m also concerned that I may have come off as being slightly homophobic because when I was flying off the seat of my pants I am fairly certain my wording sucked and could have been misunderstood.(Which, please for the love of EVERYTHING be that not the case. I would die.).
I also rambled. OH, how I rambled.
Why can’t I keep my freaking mouth shut? Or at least train it to say non-stupid things?
When I left, one of the bloggers called out after me and we rode down the elevator together. By such a huge coincidence, the same homeless guy that I shared the last four elevators with was in the same car.
My conversation with my blogging acquaintance was very random and stuttered. I have learned to at least ATTEMPT to keep my mouth shut before unleashing anxiety and words over people. However, it’s still like plugging up a leaking hole with your finger. You may succeed at holding back a torrent, but water still seeps out.
So, what came out pretty much sounded like this:
“Argument…lost…shirt…drink…ill-fitting…cleavage…see-through…no maps…No Diet Coke…Linus without blanket…elevators…homeless-guy.”
(Tip: People LOVE this. Try it some time.)
My evening wrapped up by having decaf coffee with my friend, Rachel in Ogden. It was nice to unwind, but I’m sure I wasn’t much entertainment for her after my day.
In the end, I DID have a good time, really. I had a lot of fun and laughed at the sheer wittiness of some of these bloggers. All these people were so lovely and kind and funny. It was a blast, I just wish I had been better prepared. I also wish my social anxiety would disappear. It is much better than it used to be but MAN, does it cause me needless stress.It wasn’t nearly as bad as it has been and I know a lot of it was due to external bizzarness of things out of my control.
I need to chill the hell out.Anyone else do this? The social anxiety freak out?
Does anything that isn’t in pill form help?