On Saturday night, I went to a very elegant St. Patrick’s Day party at which I discovered I am not a fan of corned beef, but I do enjoy soda bread and cake with Guinness in it. You know, all the things that are healthy and good for me. I drank a glass of wine and somehow let myself be convinced to attend a stitch and bitch that the hostess has every Monday night. Sure, yes, great! I said, and I was excited, I really was, because nice people! Social interactivity! Isn’t that what I’ve been complaining that I need? A night out? Friends, companionship, a glass of wine without feeling like maybe I am developing a slippery Problem.
I was very excited to be invited, feeling fancy, and then, panic. Oh God, what was I thinking, trying to go out and talk to people? Why do I want to be social when I’m just not good at it, and it fills me with anxiety and dread and unhappiness and tiredness in the best of circumstances? People I am aware are fond of me make me nervous. People who I have only just met, who are very gracious and warm-hearted but don’t actually know me and are extending an invitation partially out of politeness–that just makes my head explode.
It is good to do the things that scare you. It is also good to show up to things to which you are invited (no matter how churned up your gut is and how close you feel to panicking, since no matter how it feels you’re not really going to die, okay?) because otherwise you are kind of an asshole. A lesson I have, I hope, finally learned for all time. What am I afraid of? Being awkward and feeling kind of lame and having people talk about me? Not the awesomest thing in the world and yet somehow, I will go on. It is entirely even possible that it won’t even happen–that I could be way more comfortable than I expect, that I could not be lame (ha! ha, ha!), that there might be something better to talk about than me. I packed up my crochet, and I went off with a belly full of fear.
I also showed up on time, but still a full half an hour before anyone else, and that was kind of embarrassing. But Lyn is such a lovely host, and the wine was plentiful and the cats were cute and the conversation was comfortable, and the other women showed up shortly and we settled in the living room, and it turns out, with everyone’s head down over their projects, focused on their yarn, with a glass of wine at your elbow and a lamp over your shoulder, curled up in an easy chair next to a fire with everyone chatting comfortably, you can be comfortable, too.
Next week? they said to me, as I packed up my stuff to leave. This time? Same day? That work for you? We hope that works for you. Thank you for inviting me! I said. It was so nice, I said, and I had fun, and yes, I can’t wait to learn to knit, too, and your projects are so beautiful and thank you for having me and it was so nice. Next week, less panic, I think.