Hi y'all. This is looooooong. So PRE.PARE.
Well, I have so much to write. But I just don't know quite where to start. I want to write a recap about my Chicago trip last weekend, but I feel that I need to have a post before it, maybe to clarify things. Because y'all, this is some clusterf*ckedup shit going on. At least in my brain. Which is normal.
Ok, moving on.
So, I went to Chicago to meet 35ish strange women. Oh, wait. That's not right.......hehehe. Really, I went to meet 35ish amazing women, but they also happened to be strangers. To me at least.
Stranger danger folks, stranger danger.
But not really.
Ok. So, maybe some of you know, but some of you may not, I have the worst social anxiety. Ten bucks says that most of my close friends didn't even know that. (If I had $10, btw, I just got done paying bills and I am more broke than the tooth-fairy at a meth house. So I'll have to give you an IOU. Or pay you in unmatched socks, because really that's the only thing I have an abundance of.)
Back to social anxiety. Yup, I've got it. I struggle with it daily and I usually revolve my life around not being in a poop-my-pants-scared situation with strangers.
Which, clearly, I was smoking a heavy dose of crack when I booked my plane ticket to meet 35ish strangers.
I guess it was a step for me to get out of my tiny little poopy-pants shell and start to try and be more outgoing. Or whatever.
But the shits of it was, when I got to Chi-town, all I wanted to do was find a deep dark hole (aka 'drinking establishment') and drown myself in a good bubbly malt beverage. By myself. Alone. With no one bothering me. Ever. I think you get the point.
Well, one of my badass roomies, Ronnie, found me before I could hide in the bathtub and chug a 40.....or 3, damn her, so I was sorta forced to meet new people without the comfort of mentally preparing myself for meeting new people......or without being totally shitfaced and wouldn't care at that point. Well, meeting Ronnie was a breeze. Easy peezy lemon squeezy. We meshed right away. I'm sure she was thinking, "who the hell is this psychotic bitch who is running around Trader Joes, screaming at the clerks, trying to find a good cold beer???? And why the hell does she have to be my roommate?!?! WHY??????"
But I was thinking, "PERFECT! I love her long time and we will be best friends forever and get matching necklaces and hold hands while running down the street singing kum ba yah." Which now that I just typed that out, I'm pretty sure the only thing Ronnie is going to do is run the opposite direction any time I'm around her. Oh well.
So anyway. I met Ronnie. Things were good. I did find beer. It was good.
Then we made the decision to meet some more of the 35 strangers.
No really, the entire shortassfromHell walk to the outside patio at the hotel I was thinking, 'You can do this. You are fabulous. They will like you. You will be funny. Do I have boogers showing? And for shit's sake, under no circumstances should you guzzle your beer in one sitting, then belch loudly like you just walked outta the backwoods, around these fine ladies. No matter how nervous you are.'
Good news is, I didn't guzzle my beer. At least in public. And at that specific moment in time.
I put on my big girl funderwear and smiled and hid behind my force field (aka sunglasses), and gave hugs and giggled and tried to be 'normal'.
That lasted about 2.IhopeIputonmyDepends seconds before my heart was racing and there was sweat dripping down my back and my head was going to explode. I just knew it would. All over these pretty ladies. Then they'd for sure not like me. I was bombarded with questions and hugs and holy shit, my mind was racing and I was all, 'Was her name Beth or Bath? No, gotta be Beth. Bathtub is where you want to be hiding right now. Shit, what the fuck is her blog? I should know this. Oh wait, who the fuck did I just hug. Was that Angela?! Oh God I love her. Wait!, is that Jenn from AZ or the other Jen? BarBQued Shitballs on a stick, I think they're both from AZ. Shoot me. Hold it, I think that's Sandra. Wait, no. Shit, yes. Hug her, hug her, hug her. Be nice. Smile. Don't fart. Oh, Dawyna's coming over. You love her. You are her boo. Act normal. Be cool. Don't drool. Ok, she just said something and I can't remember. FUCK!!!! Here comes Beth Ann. Oh God, don't let me hurl. Oh crap. HELP ME baby Jesus!!!!'
See what I go through in high social anxiety situations?
It's not a walk in the park people.
It feels more like a psychopath is shoving needles in your eye, in the burning desert, next to a Justin Biebs concert. It just hurts people.
After that debacle, which I think I made it through without blowing chunks on everyone and they in fact think I am 'normal'. We went back to the room and the roomies just 'hung' together. That was sooooo nice. Maria was amazing. I was blessed with two of the finest chicks for roomies ever. I felt comfortable with both of them, like all three of us had been friends forever. Maria just has this way about her that kept me calm. She was funny and down to earth and immediately was cracking jokes and apologizing about her 'shrine' in the bathroom. Which I won't explain here, because, well, you just had to be there. I loved her instantly!!! And I knew right away Ronnie, Maria, and I would do the best friends necklace wearing skip of bliss down many Chicago roads in the next 3 days.
Seriously. Those two helped so much with keeping me calm. And they probably didn't even know it.
You know what else helped.
Lots and lots of beer.
But you know what comes with the relaxation of booze? That superpower feeling. That kryptonite stomping, lazer vision, badass spidey feeling that you are invincible. Even to social anxiety. So then you start thinking that you can be friends with EVERYONE. And really, at this point, EVERYONE just wants you to go to bed and pass out. Lucky for me, I had two amazing, beautiful, completely The Shit ladies who took me under their wing and steered me in the right direction. You know who you are. I'd just like to say that there are no words to express my gratitude to you ladies. You both have a special place in my heart for being my friend when I really needed one.
So long story long, that first night the blood thirsty villain I like to call Evil Anxiety from the Hell Social, took it's grip on me and pretty much never let go all weekend.
I tried to make an effort with those that I met, I even ventured out to lunch with some fantabulous ladies.
But I know I was quiet, withdrawn, and maybe even came across as a tad bitchy.
And for that, I apologize.
I sincerely apologize if I came across like that to anyone at any time during our trip.
I went to Chicago, expecting to fall in love with 35ish strangers, expecting to immediately know that we were all sista's from another motha, expecting to act like myself (which is how I write on my blog). Those things were high expectations. Real high. And you know what, I mostly have myself to blame for this. It took extraordinary strength for me to get on a plane and meet a group of people that I had never met before. Huge extraordinary strength. And I just didn't have that strength last weekend.
I know for a fact that I did not speak to everyone in our group. I know for a fact that I more often dodged speaking with others because I had already had my 'fill' of awkward situations and couldn't handle any more without having to change my funderwear 19 times a night. I know for a fact that I could have opened my mouth more and actually had a conversation, instead of just one word answers. I know for a fact I could have stepped it up and made more of an effort to make new friends and engage in conversation. And I know for a fact that I regret all those things. I regret them a lot. I did try. I really did, but I could have tried harder.
But I also know that my social anxiety wasn't the only thing that was holding me back from being more open with everyone. And I also know that I can't take all the blame for my expectations not being met. It was a feeling from others that I didn't belong. It was a feeling from others that I wasn't welcome there. Now, let me say that this was from a very few 'others', but those few didn't make it any easier to come out of my shell. And before some of you get your panties all in a bunch, I understand it's not others responsibility to make me feel comfortable in social situations when I clearly have a social phobia. But there is a responsibility of others that they should at least try to make others feel welcome. Try. That's all I expected. And while some went above and beyond. Others seemed like it was a waste of their time.
But you know what? In reality, it's really no biggie that those people didn't have time or want to put out the effort, because, despite everything that I went through and the shyness and feeling like a cracked-out-dolphin outta water, bottom line is I still had fun. Lots of fun. I met some amazing women, that I will be friends with probably the rest of my life. I found the most amazing pair of boots ever. For $40. (I win!) And I think I did start to come out of my poopy-pants shell just a little. It was one more step to being more comfortable in social situations and I'm proud of myself for that. I got to experience things that I'll never experience, probably, again. Positive things. And nothing negative about last weekend, or my feeling from others that I didn't belong, can take that away.
All in all, I'm a grown woman. I'm not going to resort to high school clicky bullshit, because I had plenty of that 13 years ago and hated every minute of it then. What I am going to do is thank those that made an effort to be my friend, even though I probably could have done a better job of being a friend back to them. And I'm going to thank those that made me feel comfortable and secure and wanted. I think those ladies know who they are, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You made my trip worthwhile.
And to the other ladies that could care less about meeting me, or making me feel like I wasn't wanted, or acting like they made an effort, but really didn't, (which I felt like happened, although others may not) I feel sorry for you. No matter if you think you had a good time or not, you really missed out. One other thing I know for a fact, I am a really good friend. Once I open up and relax, I will try to be the best friend that I can be to those I care about. I cherish friendship more than anything. And I will never overlook a new friendship because I'm comfortable with the friends I have now. (I may seem like I overlook it, but that's the shit in my pants talking, so just ignore that about me.) And you ladies can take this any way you want. And you can get all pissy pants and throw a tantrum, but I'm just writing how I feel. Because that's why I created this blog. That's why a lot of people create blogs. So, it's nothing personal and you can take it with a grain of salt if you would like. I don't care. I'm writing this to make me feel better, not you.
If I had it to do all over again, would I still go? HELLZ TO THE YEAH!!! Would I change how I acted and be more outgoing and try to kick the shit out of my social anxiety? HELLZ TO THE YEAH!! Will I most likely get another chance to hang with those amazing women that I can now call my real friends and not just my 'internet' friends? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY!!!!
And when that next time comes, I'm going to use this wonderful experience to make more of an effort to be myself, no matter how freaking nervous I am or how other people treat me. Because while you can't change anyone else, you can change yourself. And next time, that's just what I plan on doing!!!!
I know this was long, and I appreciate y'all reading it.
Stay tuned! Because there will be a more upbeat recap coming soon!!! Complete with pictures!