North Carolina. 2012. Homeschool event at a local farm.
Corn maze. Apple cider. Pumpkins.
We weren't meeting new people, in fact, we'd grown close to a few of the families who were going to attend.
My anxiety differed. I had to people and the thought terrified me.
An hour before we had to leave the darkness surrounded me.
Numb hands. Quickened pulse. Gut twisted.
The pain is real. I grip my stomach and focus on my breathing. Every cell within me wants to cancel but I fight through the darkness. I'm not always successful but I promised Logan we would go.
This is me everytime I have to people. Social gatherings are my Kryptonite. Even dinner with friends slice up my insides.
This isn't new. I've molded my emotions over the years. Learned to suppress. My therapist calls it unhealthy.
I call it survival.
Introvert. Socially inept. Anti-people.
I've heard it all.
Take meds, they said. Meditate, they said. Train for a marathon, they said.
It's not simple. It's an everchanging path through rugged terrain.
This week my dear friend forced me to people. She's learned to only give me a handful of minutes to ready myself because that way I don't have time to overanalyze the situation. My husband was out of town but I text Phil to inform him of my new plans for the night. Logan encouraged me to go.
She picked me up and we headed to Panera.
We were meeting up with 6 other women. A couple I am friends with but the others would be new to me. I prayed within. I asked for strength and for calm. In my heart, I felt Phil's love and encouragement.
We walk into Panera and I filled my lungs.
2 hours later...
I left with a smile on my face and happiness in my soul. The women were friendly and awesome. I laughed. A lot. Throughout I processed conversations, observed the interactions, it's what helps me. Also, it's great for my writing.
Later I text my husband to let him know I was home.
He responded with "Super proud of you."
Oh, the feels.
And I was proud of me.
For some people interaction is easy, for others it's torture. Even to call to set up a doctors appointment is hard.
I've been asked, how are you an author? Don't you have to interact with readers?
I do and the author events that I've attended were terrifying.
Please understand I love people. I do. Well, most of them. I have a close circle of friends but as a homeschool mom and author, social events are difficult for me. I've been accused of pushing my social anxiety onto my son, I promise I haven't. Not intentionally. He's socially quirky which is part of the Autism Spectrum but he's more comfortable around others than me.
Anytime people talk openly about such a topic there is judgment. I don't care because this is reality. My reality. I'm not about rainbows and kittens 24/7. I don't fakebook or glitter up Instagram. This is me even though I use filters for some of my food posts but I digress, this is who I am. This is my life.
Imperfect. Weird. Dysfunctional.
But it's mine.
Some people I still ew.
Full on ew.
But I will take the social victories as they come.
One day at a time.