About Me, On Mental Health

A Community Of Socially Awkward Morons

My buffet set up for my party this weekend. I’m a bit proud.

  • A friend just linked to me on Facebook asking me to promote a vote involving my boot camp coach and she mentioned me having “a billion friends.”
  • I had a boot camp party this weekend and told a friend how nervous I was and she was shocked as this seems like the kind I’m comfortable doing – having dozens of people over to my house.
  • Someone casually referenced recently that Kim, “knows everybody.”

Every time one of these things happen, something that reminds me how social my life has become, I shake my head a bit. How did this happen? How did I – the one who hid in an alcove during a blog conference once because I was scared of meeting people – become the one everyone else considers social with many friends?

I moved to Huntsville with no friends. After a few years a couple from my college moved here, but life wasn’t super-supportive of us hanging out. While I hung out with them as often as I could, that wasn’t very often as our lives were always so busy.

Basically it was Donnie and I and the kids from about 2001 to 2009.

While I don’t really see a concrete connection between my Dad dying and my life shifting to the more social; I do sometimes think there must have been a subconscious shift after he died. He was the one I turned to the most – apart from Donnie – when I just needed to talk about life. So, somewhere in the dark recesses of my scary mind, I believe a door opened to letting go of some of my social anxieties so I could fill the void he left behind.

I used to run in the other direction if I saw a familiar face at the store. I never went to parties or gatherings that were not run by family. No one ever came to our house. We never went out with friends to dinner. It was just Donnie and I. And while he’s more naturally social than I am, we really didn’t live any lifestyle that allowed us to make friends.

And now? I’m having big parties at my house every few months. I get excited when I see a friendly face at the store. I actually yelled at a friend recently because I was so excited to see her I didn’t want to miss the chance to give her a hug. I get sad when I have to miss things like book club, or birthday parties. I used to love having an excuse to miss something – or I’d make one up – but now? I get honestly bummed.

And while all of these things blow my mind; what kills me the most is that people see me as a social person now. Sometimes my friends actually scoff at me when I mention social anxieties – like they think I’m just humoring them. And I want to take them into my TARDIS to the time early in my transformation when Donnie and I braved a Halloween party where we knew no one. I basically stayed attached to his side the entire time and counted down the minutes until we could leave. I WAS SO TERRIFIED.

Now? If you invited me to a party where I didn’t know anyone? Unless it was a themed party against some sort of personal stance – like a fundraiser to block support for Gay Rights – then I’ll be on it in a heartbeat and I’ll walk around meeting everyone and trying to remember their names.

I’m still bad at names, by the way. I spent an entire day at an event at E’s high school calling a girl by the wrong name. See? I’m still humiliating myself regularly! No changes there!

I just want to look back at the old me and shake her sometimes. I mean, I’m still an introvert who needs my alone time to recharge desperately. But – the power of friends? Is something that makes my life so much better. Going through our recent miscarriage with a group of friends who took care of us in the days following? BLEW MY MIND. Do you know how much easier the miscarriages of yore would have been with that same group? Or when my Dad was dying? Having this amazing network of friends to catch you when you fall? How did I ever live without it?

So – if you’re like the Kim of yesteryear – don’t give up. If you are scared of humiliating yourself? You surely will. I do all the time. But let me tell you what I learned along the way – EVERYONE is scared shitless. No one is super-comfortable in these big social situations. EVERYONE is afraid they’ll make a fool of themselves. I’ve commiserated with several people now that I’ve been more open about my own fears. As a matter of fact – now that’s my token ice breaker!

Hi! I’m Kim. Do you get as uncomfortable at social situations as I do? Because I just spilled my beer on the hostess’ antique rug!

Or something to that effect. It turns out that if you totally commiserate with how much of an idiot you are? Making friends is easy!

I’m just often caught off guard by how different my life is now and it just makes me happy. Happy that I took several chances and sustained several awkward months of transition. I love running into people I know when I least expect it. Even when I’m in my pajamas and houseshoes!I love having a network of friends to turn to when I’m feeling down or to text when I’m angry. I’m just happy that a social moron like me discovered how to use that moron to find common ground with other people convinced they’re also morons.

Turns out…there’s a lot of us out there.

4 thoughts on “A Community Of Socially Awkward Morons”

  1. You give me hope that maybe there is a chance for me to overcome the same thing. It seems like my social anxiety/phobia is getting worse the older I get. Ironically my son has also gotten involved in theatre and the social interactions involved with that are killing me 🙁

  2. I am getting worse as I get older, too. I have become much more isolated since I became a stay-at-home mom. When my son started school, I tried to make friends with other moms, but that didn’t work out. I am not really sure what to do at this point. Maybe I’ll just live vicariously (sp?) thru your life!

  3. I am proud of you!!!! and any party with beer is GOOD =P I hate situations where I am not close to them, but people think I am sociable coz I have a friendly face..quite in a dilemma about it coz I really hang on to my time alone, and I need a lot of it. =P x

  4. this gives me hope, because I have to start stepping out of my social anxiety comfort zone, and doing things with… actual people. I am so not ready for it, but life isn’t giving me the choice. I hope that I can be open to people and fun and supportive relationships (I’m good at the ones I already have!), but making new friends seems frightening and daunting. I’m glad to hear that it’s worked out for you.

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