i'm really not good at dealing with people. strangers or acquaintances, people i know or don't know or really should know but can't remember, it doesn't matter who they are, other people scare me and i don't like it. the it being the fact that i'm scared and the fact that people are scary.
the problem is that i am not graceful in social situations. too many times to i find myself out and about, trying to make small talk and having nothing to say. or there are conversations going on around me and i have nothing to add. so i am there, quietly observing, doing my best to blend in with the scenery. or if i do find my courage to actually say something, i usually falter halfway through when i realize that people are actually looking at me and listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth. not that i really enjoy my lonely existence, but i am so much more used to being ignored than having people pay attention. honestly, it's unsettling.
the paradox is that i enjoy going out. i like to people watch and observe from the sidelines. and i'm actually almost comfortable in a small group setting. in fact, i can sometimes handle one on one conversations, especially if i don't have to say anything. as long as i am not the center of attention, i am fine.
i do know this, and try hard to remember it, that i will be ok and enjoy myself if i'm going to be somewhere that to focus is on others. or if i'm going to be with my very close circle of people who understand my issue and jump in to talk for me. the hardest part for me then is the actually getting out and going.
it's like i have trouble just walking through the door, but when i sit down i'm fine. or i will try and get somewhere early, and then i sit in my car for a while, hyperventilating, debating on whether or not it would be better to go in or to just go home and never leave again. of course, when i am done and back in my car at the end of the day, i always wonder what i was so worked up about. and then i make the impossible promise that i will be better next time.
i do try to remember that the world isn't quite as scary as i think it is. and people aren't waiting around just to point and laugh at me. and that if they're paying attention to me, it's because they're actually interested in what i have to say. or even if they're just being polite and paying attention because i was paying attention to them, it doesn't mean they're judging me in their head. i don't know why i am constantly surprised that i am able to have a good time in the company of others, but i am.
all of this, of course, only holds true if i am going anywhere by myself. if i have my hubby or my kids with me, it's a whole different ball game. which, of course, might be the whole reason there is a problem, because i am so out of practice at going out like a grown up. i don't know how to act anymore if i'm not filling the roll of mom wrangling three crazed monkeys. but i'd like a chance at trying to remember, i just need a little push out the door.