social anxiety

so i don’t really know how people perceive my shyness level right now; i’m guessing the people who have known me longer may see me as more shy, in part because they’ve had more opportunity to see me have shyness moments or social anxiety freakouts, and in part because i probably was more shy in general when i met them. someone who has known me for about a month was telling me recently that he can’t believe i was once “painfully shy”… but it’s true. i was:

i remember once as a small child flying or taking the train somewhere with my mom. we couldn’t get seats next to each other– i had to sit across the aisle from her. it was all i could do to tolerate this situation. i think there were a lot of tears. i remember pressing myself against the side of the seat that was closest to her and furthest away from the strange man i was forced to sit next to. my poor mom… how she put up with this crap i don’t know, and to be sure she lost patience and told me not to be so clingy plenty of times.

obviously, i’m a lot better now, but it still crops up, often unexpectedly.

today i went to a party thrown by some friends in the neighborhood. at one time we were pretty tight, i even went to their wedding which was a weekend event at the beach. i managed to have a huge social anxiety freakout during the wedding and left a little early. i tried to hide it as much as possible, but with all the emotions flying around (i always find weddings to be very intense) and the guests being comprised of almost nothing but couples, i was feeling very alone and very much the squarest of square pegs.

i also realized during that weekend that although i _know_ a lot of the people that are in their social circle… i’m not really friends with any of them… and i didn’t manage to change that during the weekend. i know for some people it would have been a great social opportunity and they would have come away with a dozen new friends. i’m not some people. i couldn’t do it.

so today i went to this party and as soon as i walked in i knew it was gonna be kind of the same way. and there i was in my shell again. i left pretty early, feeling rude and bad about it. but why put myself through the torture?

i don’t like this side of myself, in fact i am ashamed of it. i don’t like that it’s often unexpected and that i can’t always defeat it. now admittedly, today i gave up without giving it much of a shot. when i really, really put my mind to it i can do a little better. but it can be a strain.