I’m terrible at meeting people. I’ve never been good at it. I was not a popular child, nor a popular teenager. I wasn’t a total loser either; I just wasn’t there. A background player, smoking and sipping black coffee in corners. As an adult, I’ve made natural friends through dorm living, work and having far more socially-adept friends who do the bulk of the introducing work. But to this day, when I walk into a room full of people I don’t know, I have an internal freakout. Gah, small talk. Gah, having nothing to say. Gah, having too much to say and not knowing when to shut the fuck up.
As a result, I’m not a natural traveller. Natural travellers, like my dear friend sexy AB, are fantastic at meeting other people, partly because they have to be. Sexy AB has met more people around the world than I can shake a stick at. It’s impressive and not a little bit intimidating. I’m also not a natural joiner of things. Joining things means a first time, and first times mean meeting people and introducing myself and gah.
However, I married a diplomat. Basically the opposite of a person who is bad a meeting people (A.’s job actually entails meeting strangers ALL THE TIME. Holy terrifying batman). And the problem with being married to a diplomat, and thus moving about with said diplomat, is that you kind of, sort of have to just bloody meet people. You have to go to birthday parties, and social functions, and of course you have to make friends and join classes in order to make your life easier in the new place. Also I have children who I would prefer didn’t grow up with the same ridiculous social anxieties as their mother.
So where does that leave me? Forever out of my comfort zone, that’s where. And until tonight, I felt like I was clawing at a giant stone wall of social anxiety every time we had to go to things. I forced myself to introduce myself to people and not wait for them to come to me. I forced myself to go to the park with random strangers who have kids Budsie’s age, and found myself telling him to get out there and meet people, while secretly knowing that we both just wanted to go home and read books together. Force, force, force.
What changed tonight, you totally asked yourself? Tonight, I went to a yoga class. Now, I almost didn’t go because I was nervous about entering a room full of snooty yogis (you know the ones I’m talking about) and having to make small talk at the beginning or something. Knowing myself, I invited a new friend (setting a date with someone means I have to go, you see). I haven’t practiced yoga in a year and a half, but my body remembered everything. Every pose was like home. Yoga is something I can do, something I’m decent at. And it seems to instil confidence in me. When the class ended, I stayed after the class to talk to the teacher, a complete stranger (albeit with a friend, but still this is big for me). When I came home, I agreed to a play date I had been nervous about. Total madness. Before you know it, I’ll be able to introduce myself to a stranger without feeling any hint of fight or flight. Maybe.
I love me some yoga.