Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Wisconsin! (and Social Anxiety)

I have more than a touch of social anxiety.  Many people who know me may doubt this, but let me assure you, it's for serious.  Medication helps, but only so much.  I think in my younger years some people thought I was snobby, some needy, some silly, but I realize now it was all born out of this stupid anxiety.

Back in the day, when I was trying to get pregnant for the first time, I  joined an on-line community.  That was 4 years ago.  I have made some real, true friends that have withstood the test of time. But you know, the internet allows you to hide behind words, to plot responses, to post only flattering photos, things of the like.

I no longer frequent the original on-line community, but via Facebook the friendships have persisted.  A smallish group of us, 16 to be exact, have maintained a close system of support, sharing some of our happiest and most challenging life moments.  We've discussed a group meet-up, but with budgets and kids and family trips, that hasn't happened yet. Part of me wants this to happen, but the other part feels super anxious that this would be a disaster. Luckily for me, one lovely lady and her family was in my area this week.  From Wisconsin.  Yep.  Exciting.  Only it meant I had to actually meet her, you know like, in person.

ARGH.  The possibility of awkward small talk (I run out of things about 5 minutes into this)? Voices that might sound weird? What if I say inappropriate things (I tend toward this)? What if she thinks I'm dressed wrong (Fashion is not one of my gifts)?  That I'm ugly (Profile pics are the devil)?  A bad mom (One kid was crying, one whiny, one skinny)?

Truthfully, as much as I wanted to meet Valerie and her family, I was completely intimidated and it did cross my mind to take the easy way out and make polite excuses as to why this wouldn't work.  But I didn't.  I anted up and went and guess what???  It was GREAT.  Of course the anxiety rears its ugly head even typing that. .  . What if Valerie didn't think the same?  Well, I'm putting it out there anyway.  It was GREAT.  Our conversation was smooth.  Flowed.  It felt like we had known each other for years.  . . which is convenient because we have.  I was actually sad for the time to be over because I could've kept saying awkward things talking the rest of the afternoon.  Maybe with adult beverages.  For those people who don't believe in friendships made in the anonymity of the interwebs, I say that isn't true.

Survival of the anxious.  Whew. Maybe that big group meet-up isn't such a bad idea afterall.

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