crochet and complain

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.

4 Replies to “crochet and complain”

  1. Oh! I completely know this feeling. I was so nervous about going to my first knitting group meeting that I took me a few weeks of psyching myself up before I could make myself go. Now, of course, these women are big part of my support system in a new place, and I can’t see why I was ever afraid of them.

    Good for you for going!

  2. Oh, lord, I know the feeling. I get that freaked out feeling even when I’m going to go hang with my best girlfriends.

    The not being an asshole thing? That’s going to become my mantra, ’cause I’m FAMOUS for not showing up to things after having been invited. And I’m not an asshole! At least, I don’t want to be an asshole… just an introvert.

    good luck!

  3. I always get that feeling before going somewhere new, or any semi-unfamiliar group situation. I think with me it’s a control issue; and I solve it by mostly hosting everything at my place, where I feel more comfortable.

    I’m also trying to understand my [other] introverted friends who don’t come to things they are invited to; it really is kind of rude, but I’m doing my best to remember that they’re just freaked out and it has nothing to do with whether they want to hang out with me. :-)

  4. Before my gastric bypass, I had SEVERE social anxiety, and never went anywhere unfamiliar, that wasn’t already full of people that I knew (and even then I was ucomfortable as hell). One of the first things I did after I started knitting about two years ago was look online for a knitting group. The first time I went to the meet-up, I was petrified. But I did it, and that was such a huge deal. When I told my mom about it, she cried because she knew how long I sat at home hating the entire world because I was too afraid to go out and be a part of it. It’s good to jump outside of that comfort zone.

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