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!
You know that I love you long time, girl, and I so wish that I could have come to Chicago so your anxiety and my anxiety could have hung out together in the bathtub (or wherever).ReplyDelete
I think that for those of us who do have anxiety problems meeting that many people at one time can potentially be paralyzing...it's much easier in smaller groups and based on what you experienced I think I will keep any future meet-ups to small groups. I'm glad you met some great ladies (I knew you would) and I'm sorry you had to deal with all of that other crap...it's their loss 'cause they didn't get the chance to get to know the amazing person you are.
And BTW, when you come back to NOLA we HAVE to see each other...like for realz...or else I'll stalk you at your hotel until you break down and agree to meet me...or I'll drag you by your hair to that bar on Bourbon Street that you fell in love with...whatever works ;-)
Dude, you are awesome. You know it, I know it, and that is all that matters.ReplyDelete
Awww Honey, I had no idea about your social anxiety but I sure wish I had been there because I'm one of those over-tryers! I will make you my friend whether you want to be or not, I don't give up. I have this crazy need to have everyone like me.ReplyDelete
I wish I had been there to hold your hand and suck down beers with you. Next year my dear, next year!
Love you, babe!ReplyDelete
I LOVED meeting you! I think you are just as gorgeous as in your pictures on your blog and funny as well!!Glad we met and hopefully next time, we'll get to spend more time with each other..ReplyDelete
Us AZ Jen's are confusing huh?? :)
I get confused over the AZ Jens too. Lol. I hope one day to keep them straight. ;)ReplyDelete
I also have the social anxiety... although people I know and love would not think that. It takes me a bit to warm up, but once I do... I am hard to shut up. lol
Wish I had been there to meet you and all the ladies. And Ronnie told me how crazy you are. She is scared. Very.
I kid. I kid. ;)
I would have been the same way quiet too. I could have went I'm in Detroit so fairly close to drive. I didn't but maybe next year...thanks for posting.ReplyDelete
I love Wyatt !
Come to AZ!!! :) Even if we have to hang out in a closet or bathtub!ReplyDelete
Wow, you sure you don't know me....you are describing me to a T. You are great and I am sure you shined more than you think you did. Can't wait to meet you next year...we can just toast each other and hug....I do those things great!ReplyDelete
Laura Belle....I like you. I really, really like you!ReplyDelete
Before I get started on my comment, I just have to say that the "Beth or Bath" comment cracked me up.
Speaking eloquently is not one of my assets but I will try to respond in the most respectful way I can.
I can relate to everything you said about the Chicago trip as far as the camaraderie with some of the ladies. So without pointing fingers......
it's hard to admit or take ownership in our faults. Am I satisfied with my behavior and how I treated others. I am.
If given the opportunity, would I do some things differently? I would.
My brother said something to me once and it has stuck with me ever since. "People "show" you who they are."
So someone can appear one way on a blog, in an email, or on a facebook comment, but it's what you get in person that truly matters.
I've seen a few comments on blogs that in a roundabout way said they don't give a shit about how someone felt about certain behaviors.
I believe in giving second chances. Not only for the other person(s), but for myself.
I was watching a show once and several people talked about the first time they met someone and how much of a jerk they thought they were.
They said if they didn't give them that second chance, they would have missed out on someone who became a big influence in their life!
Sorry, so long. And thanks Laura, you helped me in more ways than you know.
I should add......., if you get the same thing on the second go around....it's time for your ass to move on!!! lolReplyDelete
I love that you went in spite of your anxiety. I love that you put yourself out there. I love that you walked away from it all thinking "you" should have tried harder. I think you did above and beyond. You made the ultimate effort by booking the trip. I hate the notion that because you don't have a band that you therefore are an outsider. You are not. You are incredible support in this community and we all are stronger with your presence. For people to not appreciate that is on them. Not on you. But they made you feel that was your short-coming. It's been amazing with these recap blogs how many are voicing similar ideas and how many are responding "it's all you, ladies". BS. This is a group thing aimed at group love and group support. Friendships taken to another level, yes, that's on the attendee. But warmth and inclusion, that's on the group.ReplyDelete
I am proud of you for dissecting this and seeing what you see regarding yourself as well as regarding others. Don't let anyone tell you that you're wrong. Your feelings are based on your experience and no one can say otherwise.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Oh. And you are gorgeous! Inside and out. Some people are probably jealous of that.ReplyDelete
I heart you and totally understood. You are still one of my favorite bloggers and I do hope you come to az soon you are welcome at my house anytime.ReplyDelete
Well I hung with you at the Blue Frog, and I found you lovely...both inside and out. I didn't really spend much time with you aside from that, but that was more due to me, not you. You were lovely.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad I got to meet you and loved our time we got to spend talking at the end. Let me know if you have any free time when you come to Fort Worth!ReplyDelete
Miss Laura I had no idea about your anxiety! I had a great time with you and the other ladies at Dick's. been cuttin' any glass lately? Seriously though, you are a beautiful lady inside and out! Sincerely, BathReplyDelete
I could totally tell from the poo smell that you had problems... But lucky for you I can tell the difference between shy and bitch - the bitches shit don't stink... or so they say. HA HA - Im so fucken funny!!! When you sat next to me on Saturday I totally wanted to hug you but I didn't as I was afraid it would send you screaming. You are awesome. When you spoke it was pure and real. My lack of filter did not keep you from trying to talk with me and I love you for your courage. I used to freak out socially but I ate instead of drank. Could you tell? I am keeping this trip close to my heart as it was part of my journey and I am a better person for it. You are among the keepers from this experience and I don't have time for those who don't matter. Im sure we will meet again - there's great hunting up here in Canada... ps. bring your Wyatt we have a big bed - him and Tango can take over the kids room. xxooReplyDelete
As we discussed earlier, you KNOW I can relate to this post. Life would be so much easier if we were allowed to carry a flask, huh?ReplyDelete
Proud of you! (For the drinking and the meeting people) What? Nothing wrong with being proud of someone who appreciates beer ;)
Oh Laura, you are without doubt one of the sweetest bloggers. I can totally picture you getting all freaked out by a whole bunch of strange people even though you know them well. You have serious balls to be able to do all that with your anxiety and anyone who didn't take the time to make you feel more comfortable whilst getting to know you is missing out.ReplyDelete
I can't wait to meet you next year. I shall hang my head in shame that all I can do to establish where people are from is tell the difference between countries. You can then follow me round going ... "See, I'm smarter than her. She doesn't even know what az stands for."
Remember those of us that count, love you just as you are. xx
What you don't have a band? Who knew and who the fuck cares... I love your postsReplyDelete
Laura, I applaud you for going and working through your anxiety. I made a lot of excuses about money and crap, but the reality is I was afraid. I was afraid of being awkward and no one liking me or just needing to hide and having no place to hide.ReplyDelete
As I was reading your blog I actually felt guilty, because I think you are great and I have a feeling we could be great friends, but I didn't even come to find out.
I mean, I didn't not come specifically because of anyone, I know in reality everyone is probably as wonderful as their blogs tell me they are; but, I have wanted to meet you forever (and Wyatt too) and I missed a chance. Forgive me.
I am happy you went and glad I got to meet you!! You are just as beautiful in person as you are in all your pictures!ReplyDelete
You better know how much I love you. I'm glad you had fun and I'm looking forward to doing it again sometime!! Next time, I won't be lameass sick. :)ReplyDelete
Wow! I had no idea that you were going through all of that! You just looked beautiful and seemed very nice -- wish we'd gotten to talk more.ReplyDelete
Anxiety blows big monkey chunks. I am glad you had a mostly good time. This reminded me of when the Bloggess talked about her trip to California in her book. I don't have social anxiety (just really fucking awful general axiety), but I can imagine it was really fucking hard for you to get on a plane and go meet 35 women. You rock for doing that.ReplyDelete
Just the fact that you smiled through all of it shows me how strong you really are. I can't imagine how hard it was to get on that plane, but I'm glad you did.ReplyDelete