Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tilt and whirl


I'm wrestling with myself. I'm supposed to go and meet someone for drinks tonight, a person I have worked with but never met in the flesh, a lovely and funny woman over the phone, with a fascinating life story. I like her very much, and yet the introvert in me wants so badly to cancel, or at least postpone, even though I know I need to show up.

I'm not socially inept. I manage just fine once I do actually arrive but the agita associated with scheduled activities other than meeting already known friends or associates or anonymous communities (such as the co-working space), leaves me ruminating all day on how I might avoid the occasion, even when I know the grown up thing to do is just go.

Why is showing up so hard for me? What, really, is the source of the physical and spiritual anxiety I feel when faced with putting myself out there? Why is showing up so deeply uncomfortable to contemplate? Shouldn't I have grown beyond this by now?


35 comments:

  1. Honey, I can't answer your questions but they are the very same ones I ponder about myself ALL THE TIME! And for me, it's even the showing-up for people I know and love. It's just so damn hard. And why? WHY?

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    1. Ah Mary, the big unanswerable question, why?

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  2. Nah. I get that and am "guilty" of it as well. I think it's the way we are --

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    1. Elizabeth, at least you don't agonize. This is good.

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  3. i am the same, if that's any comfort. Wackos Anonymous--except who would go to meetings? not me. i make plans with people, lunch dates, etc., but unless it's with one of my 3 or 4 really truly close friends, as the time approaches, i start thinking of how i can cancel. so stressful. i actually broke off two friendships a few years ago, because the dread was so inevitable that it dawned on me that maybe those werent true friendships. we are Strange Birds.

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    1. susan, dread is the right word indeed. I would go to Wackos Anonymous. At least we would know we were strange birds together.

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  4. I'm not even shy or introverted but I often feel like this! Age perhaps? Half the time I would rather just stay at home.

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    1. Expat mom, maybe there's just too much energy swirling around out there! Home is a respite. Until we get cabin fever, that is.

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  5. I've wanted to break my own leg with a hammer just to have a good excuse to cancel some social thing that I knew couldn't be canceled. I didn't break my own leg, I did go, and I had fun. Classic introvert behavior.

    The best I can do is to know in advance that those feelings are coming and not beat myself up for it. Good luck, my friend :)

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    1. ellen, i went and i had a lovely time. isn't it always that way?

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  6. Ha -- I had to laugh at the comment above. I should probably attend Wackos Anonymous too :)

    I am the same way. I am a total introvert and while i like making plans, actually DOING them does often require me to force myself. I love playing softball, but each week, going to my games are a little hard. I always go and enjoy myself once I get there, but I am always, always defaulted to wanting to just stay home.

    Ironically, I have said many times that's why I enjoy living right in downtown DC. It forces me to be with people even if I'm not actually with them. Otherwise I could too easily revert to more isolation tendencies. Alone, together, if you will.

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    1. SJ, I know just what you mean about being with people in the city. New York is the same. I could easily isolate myself in my home, but then i get lonely, and i can always go out my door and see people. it helps to re-ground me. if that makes sense.

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  7. Arrrrgh. You could be my ghost writer. I cancel SOOOOOO many things.Or used to. Now I have my mom as an excuse. But in the newer now, with Dan gone, I have resolved to force myself. If we lived in the same city, we could form a support group...but then again, we might not show up.

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    1. Denise, I have been trying to analyze when it is easy to show up, what the features are of the particular interaction that make it easy. i have a tiny cluster of friends who i can be whatever self i happen to be that day. showing up implies a performance and with these women, i am simply being. that might be a clue to something, hmmm.

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  8. I'm the exact same way, all the time, and even today! I'm meeting a newish friend tonight for wine. We have so much to connect about--she's a writer and we have many other shared interests. I even made this date! And all day I've felt it looming and have been wishing she would cancel. There's some Larry David bit where he talks about how excited he is whenever someone cancels plans. That's just us. And it's okay.

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    1. Vesuvius, I hope you went on your date and drank good wine and laughed a lot. This is exactly how my date worked out, also with a writer. She was a delight. I love that Larry David bit about canceled plans!

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  9. Sometimes I want to just stay at home and watch paint dry, and the thought of going outside is a drag. But, then other days, I want to be outside, even if it's just to be by myself and take in the sun. I guess this is something like an introvert/writer's job hazard :)

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    1. Candice, maybe there are so many of us here who feel this way because it is the way many people who write are made? You might be right.

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  10. I think we often make plans with the best of intentions, but then life intervenes and coming amid everything else, the plans seem disruptive and unnecessary and we want them to just GO AWAY. I find that, like Ellen, if I just make myself go I usually have a good time.

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    1. Steve, you and Dave seem very social with your friends, and with people coming through town who stay overnight with you. I admire that.

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  11. Isn't it funny so many of us feel this? I too have to coax and cajole myself to get out there, go! And as you know, when you go, its almost always a "good thing". Almost.

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    1. Yolie, it's always a good thing. I'll admit something: I have secretly thought that if I were more comfortable with my appearance physically it would be easier to show up. But you are a gorgeous, slim, elegant woman and you have this same issue, so maybe it is something else entirely. And yes, it is generally good to push ourselves out there and connect with others. How better to enrich our lives?

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  12. Well this is very timely! My husband came home last night - announced that we are going to a persons house for dinner next week, people I have no idea about, of course I immediately went into "sorry, I have a headache" mode.I do not want to spend an evening with a couple I do not know at all , eating dinner and making small talk and being polite and staying too long- but of course I will go and try to behave, try to not embarrass my husband (one never knows)....this is a struggle for me and I do think a broken leg sounds like a pretty good option.

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    1. LInda Sue, and yet you will go and have a good time, and then you will come home happy and a touch relieved that it is over. This is how it often works for me.

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  13. the universal experience! you've nailed it!

    we should build a movement around it, although as Susan pointed out, no one would ever attend our meetings! But we'd all, I'm sure, enjoy knowing that we had a meeting to attend that we could blow off and everyone, everyone, would totally understand.

    ha.

    strange birds, indeed.

    We do, though, get a lot out of it if we can drag our sorry asses out to meet the world. I think what's key is that we have to shift our perspective, try to open up rather than protect ourselves. When we're fully open, we meet the most wonderful aspects of ourselves right there in the outside world!

    You're not alone, not ever.

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    1. Scott, I think your take on Wackos Anonymous is perfect! I love what you say about trying to be open rather than self protective, and of course we meet ourselves out there in the world, because we are all reflections of each other, we are all each other in fact. i suppose when our perspective is positively pitched, that is the energy we attract so its worth it to work on that. I am so glad to see you here, you have no idea. you have been writing some wonderful reflections on your blog and I am grateful you take the time to share it, i am grateful for you.

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  14. Adding my voice to the group I feel like that too and also usually have a good time if I just go on and do it.

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    1. Kristin, are you usually surrounded by family? i imagine that helps at lot.

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  15. I am very happy now, after reading your post and all the comments because I used to think that it was just odd, weird, strange, anti-social me who felt that way. My life is soo hard: My man comes from a family who feels strongly and with purpose that a stranger is a friend you haven't met yet and my daughter thinks the whole world is just waiting for her to come and visit.

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    1. Sabine, I think it is good for people like us to be connected to people like your husband and your daughter! And for sure, you are not alone!

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  16. I don't show up and I don't apologize for it not anymore I just say no thank you. My experiences in the world at large (and they are legion) are enough to keep me dazzled.

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    1. Rebecca, it's not luck of course. You seek the magic and you find it. I sometimes forget to seek the magic, and then I'm just lonely. The world at large can indeed be dazzling.

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  17. I know your feelings, though I seem less prone to them than I once was...I am not sure whether that is a blessing or a curse. I think my losses are reminding me that connection is important, even when it is difficult. I'm glad you went and had a good time.

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  18. I am catching up with reading and your post made me feel like we were comrades and less alone as I am notorious for making plans and then wanting to cancel them. All the comments made me laugh that we are all so similar and I won't feel so bad about my behavior anymore because I usually force myself to go and have a good time. I don't mind being alone but then I at times I get so lonely and I will crave professional meetings or art gatherings or go to pet stores to visit pets!! Like you and others I have a handful of friends I can always be up to being with. We are creatures of habit I guess. Sweet Jo

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  19. You certainly aren't alone as you can tell. I'm always better if there's at least one other person there. 3 is definitely not a crowd for me. I'm always terrified of the awkward silences with a new person. I'm always terrified we won't have anything to talk about. I hope the experience was well worth it. xoxo

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