The Devil Made Me Do It

I’ve always considered myself extroverted.  In my growing up years, I enjoyed chatting with my classmates and friends.  I didn’t think anything of how I enjoyed reading a good book over hanging out with friends, I blamed my lack of time or lack of transportation.  Besides, my older sister constantly had friends in and out of the house.  I felt adequately socialized through my interactions with them.

The fear, though, the fear did confuse me.  The suffocating fear that I feel when I am going to an event all alone.  Without a friend or my husband.  That fear convinced me of my real tendency toward introversion.  But, as with all things, facing this fear helps me to grow.  At least I’d like to think so.

In February, I decided to attend Sue’s bloganthropy brunch.  I mean, it sounded fun.  I would get to meet fellow bloggers, dine, and have a great time!  Sure, I didn’t really know what “bloganthropy” meant, but I thought, what the heck?  Can’t go wrong with a good time, right?  I signed the McLinky assuring the hosts that I would be attending.

Well, if you remember, February turned out to be a blue month.  Blue meaning SICK month.   So, on the eve of the brunch, after I had bought a few pastry items to share, I realized I couldn’t go.  Ben wasn’t able to watch the kids and both of them were sick! Besides, other kids were going to be there.  The mothers would have been horrified if I brought sickness in! Yes, I did manage to ignore the real reason I couldn’t attend: my fear.

I shot of a quick e-mail to Sue explaining my situation and breathed in a sigh of relief.  There was always the next month.

March came rolling in much too fast.  Without warning, Kristina announced the next bloganthropy event: Snuggies for Seniors.  This fundraiser would also include a blog brunch.    Despite the fact it was being held at a buffet, I signed my name to the McLinky and immediately made plans to attend.

Two days before the event I realized what I had done.  I had agreed to attend a brunch, at a buffet, with my two kids, without knowing any person there previously.  I had basically signed a death warrant for myself.  Cause of death?  Heart attack.

I started thinking of millions of reasons why I couldn’t come.  It was a 45 minute drive.  It was during nap and lunchtime.  Andrew is kind of fussy.  After confessing all these reasons to my husband, he told me I needed to decide.  If I didn’t want to go, I really didn’t have to go.

Decision time.

At 2 am I finally convinced myself I was going.  Even if I died of a stress induced heart attack, I was going to attend.

Attend I did.

I left reasonably early.  I didn’t realize, though, that my directions were based on a route that would take me 20 minutes longer than I had calculated.  So, I was late.  Late!!  By the time I got there, I was sweating profusely and my heart was pounding.  I was on the verge of tears.  I sucked up the last of my courage, slung my humungous diaper bag and Emily on one arm, grabbed Andrews car seat with the other, and headed inside.  I am sure I was a sight to behold.

Inside I quickly (and luckily) located Kristina to ask her where everyone was congregated.  She pointed and I boldly marched into the room.

The rest of the memory is quite hazy.  I am sure I met a few people, said many embarrasing things, and managed to exude confidence.

After I left I promised myself to never do it again.

Except for one thing: I am now a member of the service soap box team.  Gulp.  This means I am going to do this whole meeting thing once a month.

This month’s service event is a baby shower.   Not any baby shower, but a baby shower to benefit the March of Dimes Teddy Bear Den Program.  While it does have a pretty cool event planned, it also includes a virtual shower component! That way, if you don’t live in Utah, or are absolutely terrified of other bloggers (like I am), you can donate this way!

What am I going to do? Well, I’m going to attend the shower of course.  Yes, I will be taking both kids, again, but at least I kind of know the other bloggers.  Kind of.  Well, I still have 16 days to prepare!

Anyone want to come with me?  I would really love the extra hands.

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “The Devil Made Me Do It

  1. You were great! I didn’t spend a lot of time with you, unfortunately, but you were perfectly lovely. And I will be there on the 24th too.

    • You WERE kind of busy at the brunch. I wasn’t too worried. : ) I am looking forward to seeing you again later this month. Seriously, though, I may be frazzled. If I look sick or anything just take the kids and run. Fast.

  2. I’m glad you soldiered through. I’m sure it’ll get easier every time.

    I’d love to do something with my bloggy friends one day. There are a few local bloggers in my area, but they aren’t the meet-up type.

    • I sure hope so. I’m kind of going through min-panic attacks just thinking about this next one!!

      Are you attending Blogher this year? I’m not, but I know of a few mutual blog friends that are. Luckies.

  3. Sue

    I’m so glad you’ll be there. 🙂

  4. Blogatherings freak me out too, but I’m still going to the baby shower, we can be freaked out together 🙂

    See you there!

  5. I am sorry you end up with anxiety like that. That would be tough. I would love to meet you someday. Where are you again? email me at karenmburton@gmail.com

  6. What a wonderful idea! (And if anyone can understand the perils of a working lunch with two kiddos in tow, it’s a roomful of fellow moms and bloggers.) Hope it goes more smoothly this time! =>

    • My husband said the same thing. He, and you, are right.

      I think I will plan on arriving there quite early. The early bird gets the … worm, right? In my case it would be the comfy chairs. I think a comfy chair would help alleviate my stress.

  7. I have done the same thing many times. I don’t know if it’s introverism or just social anxiety (which I know I suffer from a little bit of anxiety). It’s always easier to make excuses on why we shouldn’t do something–even when it’s something we really want to do! I’m glad you braved it anyway 🙂 I’m sure it was worth it.

    • It was worth it. It took me 2 weeks to realize that, but in the end it really was worth it. I am sure it won’t be nearly as bad next time. At least it isn’t at a buffet!!

  8. As a fellow sufferer of social anxiety, you have my sympathy! And my admiration–you did it!! I’m proud of you!

    • I wanted to e-mail you before I went to the event for any advice. I know that you did this recently. I can’t believe how hard it is!!

      Thanks for your support!

  9. You know the saying – “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    Anxiety before something that frightens us is so much worse than the actual “thing.” Usually! You were very courageous to meet your fear head on and go. (Especially with two little ones to bring along.)

    Pat yourself on the back, take a deep breath, and yes – get the comfy chair! You can also bring along a prop or a few to break the ice and make people laugh. (Prowl through your local 5-and-10 and maybe look for a few party favors like silly plastic sunglasses, or a groucho mask? Show up in that and bring a few extras, my friend! See what happens! Then blog about it. . . )

  10. Amber, good for you for stepping outside of your comfort zone. Not an easy thing to do especially with kids in tow.

    I used to get anxious when I have to attend an event alone. I remember being in my 20s how terrified I was when I had to wait for a few minutes for some friends at a swanky bar in SoHo. Looking back, I don’t know what I found so threatening about it.

    Now, because the work that I do requires me to attend a lot of functions, I don’t even notice the moments when I enter a room alone.

    I love BigLittleWolf’s advice. See what happens and then blog about it. I know I’d love to read about it.

  11. Bri

    Amber,

    Oh how I sympathize, though I hesitate to admit it – I like the idea of exuding confidence. My first year in Utah was really difficult because I didn’t know very many people. I had grown up in the same place for a long time and been the confident person that welcomed newcomers in. I had forgotten what it was like to be one myself. Absolutely miserable. Grant has been gone a lot of weekends this semester with VP and that means going to church alone. Even though every time it is difficult to get there, I know that I’ll be much better off than if I had stayed home. My sunbeams need me and I sure need them! 🙂

    Maybe I just haven’t admitted it to myself yet, but I don’t think it has to do with being introverted. I think a lot of it is about the situation. The more social something is and the less people you know, the harder it is to find the courage. I’ve known plenty of people who feel that way and I’ve been the friend to reach out to them and help them feel comfortable because at least they’ll know me. Now I’ve been on the receiving end. I think a lot of us feel that way and it’s a good reminder to always be friendly and welcoming to others who might feel even more adrift than yourself.

  12. I completely understand (and have backed out of several social gatherings for similar reasons……)
    But you went!!! That’s awesome 🙂 Have fun at the next one!

  13. Pingback: Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy » Blog Archive » What’s the perfect icebreaker?

  14. Funny you should bring this topic up, Amber, because I have an awful time with this same kind of thing. I’ve been a member of the Sisterhood at my synagogue forever and never gone to anything, I’ve been a member of Hadassah, another Jewish women’s organization, that I’d really LOVE to go to, and don’t go to any events. Why? Time, Day, Kids, other demands. But really, just a big chicken. I like my life as it is and don’t want to stretch myself any further. I’m afraid to walk in and not know everyone and have them all know each other. I’m sick of starting over and, at 50, don’t want to.
    So I have no answers. I have only empathy.

    • Hey, I appreciate your empathy!! I find that courage is not the only thing needed to attend a social functioning without someone you know, I believe a woman needs a strong sense of self. And a valium. Is that even legal?? : )

  15. I react the same way! Although those bloganthropy things sound like so much fun and I’m jealous I can’t go and hyperventilate with you.

    • Charlotte, just picturing you and me hyperventilating together makes me laugh. I think the next one will be a little better. It is far easier to attend a second than to attend a first.

  16. Years and years of practice – as well as carefully constructed ‘armor’ – is the only way I was able to overcome my own social anxiety issues. And by overcome I simply mean brainwash myself into thinking I am a socially competent person until after the event. That’s when all my self-recrimination comes out and I replay conversations over and over again. I’m going to post a funny story about myself to make you feel better.

    *I emailed McNeill about his site and posted the link to his blog in the meantime, but you can consider yourself entered x3 🙂

  17. Well done! I hope next time is just a wee bit easier for you and as you get the opportunity to do it more and more that you grow more comfortable.

    I have no issues with getting out into new social situations on my own, I’ve been known to go to concerts and other gatherings by myself. But let me share my deep, dark secret. I have huge professional anxieties related to the people I work with everyday. They can be paralyzing, and I have to face them on a regular basis. I feel it inside myself and I recognize the feelings you mentioned here. I’d like to think that facing them helps, but honestly I can’t be sure.

    Also, these are fabulous ideas! I wish we had networks like this in our area.

    • Christine, I believe the next time will be easier. Now that I do know a few of the people, I won’t feel as out of place as I did.

      As for the blog network, you might have some in your area! It may require a bit of research, but you may be pleasantly surprised!!

  18. I know it’s hard! I think it’s great that you shared this – so many people can relate. I try to remind myself that everyone else is too busy worrying about how they come across to spend much time thinking about how I come across… ;).

    Peryl

  19. I am feeling big waves of sympathetic social anxiety for you. I don’t enjoy things like this. At. All. In fact, if I go to hell, I am reasonably certain it will be an eternity of things like this alternating with occasional scout campouts and elders quorum moving assignments for people who aren’t packed and have lots of cats everywhere.

    • My husband has nightmares about unpacked moving assignments, too!

    • As the wife of a former EQ president, I can relate. Especially the cats part–my husband is severely allergic to them making the experience 20 times worse.

      Your description of hell closely resembles mine and really makes me laugh.

  20. Facing a fear is always the hardest part and now that you’ve taken the first step, I do believe it will get easier and easier for you. I wish I could have been there to give you a great big hug as you walked into that first event…. maybe one day I will! xox

    • Becca, the thought of you giving me a hug is oddly comforting. I won’t be going to Blogher this year, but perhaps next year I will make it!

  21. I’m impressed that you conquered your fears and went and also impressed that you were courageous enough to post about it!! It sounds like a wonderful and supportive bloggy community. I’m glad you found each other.