I want to warn you ahead of time that this blog will not be as organized or well-thought through as past blogs, and I don’t expect it to be profound or even inspirational…Basically, it is 1 o’clock in the morning, I am tired and this is bothering me so I want to write it out…maybe someone can relate?
(by the way, I am quite nervous about posting this – after 99 posts of intensely personal content; I find it interesting that this of all blogs is what makes me shaky and question if I should expose myself so much…but I will nonetheless.
Tonight I spent time with a small group of people who get together every week and they have been doing so for I don’t know how long. This was my second time, so I am still the ‘new one’, the one that people turn to and say ‘Have we met?” and who they ask stereotypical questions like “Where are you from?” (which, in my case, requires a very LONG explanation) or “What do you do?” (which, again, is not as straight-forward as say, ‘I waitress’). Why am I saying this? I’m not sure; basically, I’m painting a picture of me being new to a group. New is something I’ve never been good at (or comfortable with). I like old. I like the same. I like expected. I like familiar.
Tonight I was out of my element and that scared me. I met a lot of great people who wanted to get to know me – that scared me too. And I spent time [in a social setting] with some people who I work with – that scared me even more.
1. I don’t like mixing my business and my social life. Why? Because if there is a fall-out between me and someone I work with, then what happens to my work? It’s better to not mix the two.
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2. I don’t like getting to know new people; actually, I’ll rephrase that: I don’t like letting new people get to know me. Why? The answer is cliche, but I have been hurt one too many times. Tonight I was nervous. How much do I tell them? Do I tell them I grew up in Africa? Then they will ask questions. Do I tell them I write a blog? Then they’ll ask me what it’s about. Do I tell them I write on eating disorders? What if they judge me? Or worse, what if they pity me? What if I trust them and they use it against me and try to tear me down? (see blog On Mean Girls).
3. I’m afraid of guys. OK, I’m not afraid of them like a phobia or anything, but I realize I only let them in to a point now…and that point stops around the ‘swap a humorous story’ stage. I often don’t look at guys much anymore (especially in the eyes) either, and as soon as I find a guy really invested in what I am saying, suddenly I shy away. Why? Because I don’t want to become attached. If I feed off of their interest, which then fuels my interest, I am only setting myself up for hurt. I have personally been victim to: violence, verbal abuse, mockery, manipulation, condescension, deceit, explosive temper and – worst of all – situations where it just didn’t work out.
4. I’m afraid of not being in control. Tonight, I was not in control. Those weren’t my people (and by ‘my people’ I don’t mean to say I have an army who I control; what I mean is, around MyPeople I am comfortable because I know what to expect of them and I can be myself). I didn’t know them; they didn’t know me. I had no clue what to expect. Immediately I longed for the comfort of familiarity – I wanted to be at home working. Why is it that at 11pm when I am out with fun people I would rather be at my desk? Well, it’s simple, at work I am in control. Even though I run a fairly casual non-profit, the truth is, I am the boss. Every decision comes down to me. I don’t feel like the shy girl in the corner trying to weigh in with her off-beat sense of humor, hoping people will accept her.
I’m not sure how to overcome these fears, but I do know that, although justified/understandable, they are not healthy or even necessary. I suppose I can use this to ‘reason’ them away.
I really have 2 choices: give in to my fears and let them drive me back to my desk where I can control my world from a pink swivel chair, alone and protected from the world. OR I can overcome them: be friends with my coworkers, don’t panic in unfamiliar territory, and, yes, maybe even look a guy in the eyes.
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