Okay, so while I am certainly not shy online, I am PAINFULLY shy in person. To the point that I dread any sort of gathering, get together, or crowded place. Even family get-togethers are nerve-wrecking. Sure, I usually have some fun while I am participating, but I am a hot mess leading up to it. And then I end up feeling awkward and wanting to go home.
For example, if I were to walk into the club, this would be me:
Except I don't really go to clubs. I'm more of a dive bar, live music kinda gal. And I am a short, caucasian woman who definitely couldn't rock the dreads like that guy. (Those ARE dreads, right? I can't quite tell for sure.)
Anyway, social anxiety can be downright crippling sometimes. Sure, I have a lot less drama to deal with being an introvert, but I also have no one to talk to. No one to go grab lunch with. No one to call just to chat with. Having social anxiety is like living in a bubble of sorts. Sure, my bubble is totally awesome, but sometimes I wish I could learn to step outside of it without feeling horribly nervous and self-conscious. Or maybe sharing my happy little bubble with more people. That would be nice, too.
I used to be outgoing. Hell, I was a complete bad-ass as a teenager. Nerves? Forget about it. I would say anything that was on my mind without a moment's hesitation. But I think everything changed when I married my ex-husband way too young. (Why my parents allowed me to marry an absolute tyrant before the age of 18, I will never know.) My mind was not fully matured yet, so of course being in an abusive relationship changed me to the core. The fun, vivacious, relatively fearless girl I once was disappeared, and she was replaced with someone meek, afraid, and insecure. I mean, if you're basically cut off from the rest of the world for years and told constantly how worthless you are, after awhile you become programmed to believe it. Even many years out of that nightmare of a relationship, I still hear that voice in my head. It infuriates me that a man I have worked so hard to escape still has any influence over my thoughts and self-esteem. I guess it can take years to get over that, if one ever truly does.
Anyway, this is not a post about my first marriage. I have no interest in bashing my ex. I am remarried to an amazing man and have a beautiful family. I am happy with so many parts of my life, and no matter how often I recall the ex telling me I was unworthy of love, I know he was wrong. I have more love around me than I ever dreamed possible.
But I do wish that I could feel more confident in social situations. I wish I could form real friendships....Ones that exist beyond my computer screen. Since we moved here to Ohio, it's been really hard to meet people. I am home all day with the kids, and we don't really go out a whole lot. Of course when we DO get the chance to get out, I'm not the type to just go chat up a group of strangers.
I have to admit, it gets lonely. Don't get me wrong...I love my life. I have a great marriage, amazing kids, and tons of interests. I just find myself wishing I could find a way to shake this shyness and allow myself to get to know and get close to people. But it's SO damn hard.
Anyone else suffer from social anxiety? How do you cope? I can't be the only one who feels this way....