Those Pesky Social Anxieties
(I tried to edit this post for brevity because it was really long. And I did. But I also added a blurb so it's not really that much shorter. Sorry ;-)
I keep thinking that I ought to go to BlogHer; that it's good to be a joiner, to be a part of something; that it's a chance to have fun and hang with the cool kids (that would be you).
The fate of the world is not depending on this and it should be a really simple decision. But for me, it's not.
While I am not a classic introvert, it seems I still inadvertently fall into that general category. I'm not shy or antisocial by any means. I very much enjoy the company of others but after a lifetime of anxious discomfort in large groups, I worry, with good reason, about whether or not to spend an assload of money to go far away to get that horribly familiar feeling of being alone in a crowd. But what's worse than that is thinking, no — being certain — that other people can see how un-in-the-loop you feel. Honestly, the idea that all of you could just see right into my psyche and sense how embarrassed I am to be pathetically tagging along as a 24th wheel (well said, Kristen) is a horrid feeling.
Do you remember in grade school or middle school when the teacher would say "Okay, everyone find a partner and pair up"? Is there nothing worse than trying to find a partner and realizing everyone around you has already found one? And doesn't it seem like it's happening in semi-slow motion? And before you know it, there you are standing there with no partner and your teacher sticks you with the guy from the other side of the room that smells weird who also wasn't slick enough to pounce on someone. And just so you know, I really wasn't a complete dork or pariah like you might imagine. I generally had cool clothes , decent hair and a circle of close friends (and I smelled pretty good, too). I was just invisible sometimes because I didn't know how to navigate socially outside the confines of an intimate group. As I got older and away from the school caste system, I became much more savvy but still, even then, I had trouble when in the larger group and not within my cozy inner circle. This was a problem particularly when I was in the company of people I regarded as cool or superior to myself. (Big Sidebar: I actually dated an incredibly popular guy in 9th grade but when we got together with his unspeakably cool friends, I swear I couldn't think of a single clever thing to say so I just said nothing. Every Friday night was a mild form of torture. He eventually dumped me for a girl who was not a mute idiot)
Here's a parallel to the above that most will relate to... You know how when you don't really like a guy *like that*, you can be totally yourself; confident and flirty, and you don't even think about it at all? But when you're around a guy you like, you can't think of anything to say and you feel all weird and self-conscious and if another girl comes up and talks to him, you just feel like a stupid, uncool, unsexy dunce-y statue because you're just standing there without a damn thing to say and if you did say something it would sound hopelessly retarded so you just mumble something and walk away, hoping that you look better than you feel? Well...that's how I feel in groups (perhaps to a slightly lesser degree now that I'm all grown up, but still...)
One exception to the aforementioned is when I'm around people I totally don't care about. An example... This past Saturday I took my daughter to a birthday party. I knew all the parents there in passing because our kids go to school together. They're all nice but not what I'd call my peers. I am good friends with a couple of them but as a whole, I don't sweat this group at all. So I'm all funny and entertaining and regaling everyone like I'm a freaking celebrity and it's grand. This, however, is not the person you will meet at BlogHer. Why? because I like you guys and I consider you my contemporaries. I want you to like me so naturally I become the uncool, dunce-y chick referenced above and you all are the guy. The only way I can be comfortable is to have an intimate group to stick with. Not a clique but more of a safety net so that I never feel icky and 24th wheelish (or find myself wandering around all alone, covertly reading name tags trying to find someone I "know".) Pretty dumb, huh?
Part of me is thinking that unless I want to hear about Blogher for another year and regret not going every time, I oughta go and try to have some damn fun. But as always, I have these silly issues and it's really bugging me. I want to make up my mind before everyone pairs up like they did in bio class and I'm left standing alone, like the proverbial cheese.
As an aside... I have this vision of me going up to other well-known bloggers and saying "Hi I'm Izzy. I really enjoy your blog." and they respond with nothing but a stare and a polite half-smile, as if to say "Yes, but who the frig are you?" and then I pray for a rewind button right before I die of embarassment.
Tomorrow I will totally regret posting this but right now it feels good to vent and let it out. *big sigh*
PS: After fielding several requests for graphics and blog headers etc. I decided to gather up some that I worked on for various other projects and as comps and retool them as freebies. Take a look and say you'll put a button on your blog :-)