If I were to be honest – really honest, I would write about my overwhelming anxiety. About the physical sickness (a cousin of the flu) that overtakes my body with aching limbs and sore throat. The struggle for balance the day after having guests over: compulsively recounting every grammatically incorrect phrase I uttered, every sharp-loud laugh I dumped out.
Was I annoying? Silly? Weird?
Did I make them feel uncomfortable?
My heart pounds so hard it hurts. My eyes ache from the over concern of it all – as if I have been physically focusing for days on this tiny dot of insecurity that has preoccupied my life.
I swing from one social experience to another – analyzing, questioning, aching. Attempting to satisfy my extroverted need for people in my life, genuinely enjoying the company around me, yet not enjoying my own role. How does one become a part of something if the only social tools they posses are the trembling tools of a wallflower?
Yet somehow it’s getting easier. Easier to dial the phone without scripting what to say. Easier to bump into a familiar face in the grocery, when I’m focused on my cart of allergen-free edibles and completely unprepared to present the put-together version of myself. It’s getting easier to laugh real and loud (and every once in a while, snort) without feeling like I just attracted the attention of the surrounding neighborhoods (even though I probably did).
I think maybe it comes with age, maturity, wisdom from experience. Or plain old rote exposure, de-sensitizing my over-sensitive emotional nerves.
Whatever the reason, I am relieved. Though I still experience the flu of social anxiety, I also experience the satisfaction of friendship. Pretty soon, I expect, I will discard the carefully written script, lean back into comfort, and get to know the social Me.
Though, I doubt I will ever get over the blush-inducing shock of hearing my own laugh.