Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Overcoming Social Anxiety

You'd probably never think that someone in theater, who shares as much as I do on a blog, is a fairly reserved person. But the more you get to know me, the more you'll discover that it's true.

This past Saturday, I met with Blogger Girl and a bunch of her fellow blogging and real life friends. Being over an hour late, I was seriously considering just taking my chances of finding them in the park, but I decided to stop by the restruant we were supposed to be meeting at.

To my surprise, they were still there! So I took a deep breath, walked in, and said hi.

Even more to my surprise, the awkwardness didn't last more than a few moments and then it felt like sitting around with old friends.

Afterwards, I treated myself to a Mocha from my favorite lounge in the Grand Californian hotel. Sitting down by the fire in the lobby, I took a few moments to shut down from the incredibly stressful week, and unwind.

It had me thinking, "I don't do this very often anymore." A little self-reflection never hurt anyone, and it reminded me how many labels and stigmas from childhood tend to stick around, if we believe 'em.

As a child, most people would say I was quiet. I was that tall quiet kid. However, when you got me around a group of my friends, I was usually the social director. To this day, some of that has really stuck. I can still find a myraid of free, fun, cheap, or different things to do. I enjoy it! And I've never let the fact that I am often flying solo to such events stop me from going ahead anyway.

Also, the "quiet tall kid" stigma has still stuck a bit as well. But maybe it's just something I've come to believe about myself that isn't necessarily true? I've never been "the life of the party" type, but over the past several years, I've gotten out of my shell and shattered this quite a bit. And I'm pretty proud of that.

While I was sitting there, a few older couples came over and took up some of the other seats. One particular couple was working together on a crossword puzzle until the wife fell asleep and the husband worked on it quietly to himself. It was heart warming.

Another couple sat down near by, probably in their 50's, sat down, enjoying a glass of wine each and some snacks. They held hands, talked quietly, and then fell silent, watching the flames and enjoying the moment together.

In watching these others, and delving into a little self-reflection, I'm reminded that life is good. My life especially. I have a job that allows me to live on my own, family that is there for me whenever I need 'em, a few friends I can call no matter what, and the ability to zip up to Disneyland when I need to hit the "reset" button on my stress-o-meter. Yes, the romantic peice still hasn't slid into place. But I know, like that glass of wine the couple was sharing or the comfort that came from the puzzle couple, such things can not be rushed.

As I eventually finished my drink and rose from the fire, I was reminded that everything happens when it's supposed to, and filled with a feeling of peace, and hope.

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