June 10, 2012

moving beyond comfort

my favorite game as a kid was library. what's library you ask? it's exactly what you think it is. i'd set out books, on my bed, which could be checked out by my siblings. yes, they had library cards. yes, you had to always be quiet. my sister HATED this game. she's a tree climbing, mud loving wild child. by my standards

i always preferred staying inside to playing with the neighbor kids. i was only friends with one family anyway. i got in trouble one time for going up to sarah's to pick raspberries (they were terrible) without telling someone. i never wanted to go back again. summers were a struggle because i like running through the sprinkler for about 10 minutes. then i'd make my mud bricks for a few minutes. then i was ready to come inside and be clean again

summer camps were not my friend. i recall going to camp precisely six times. dance camp twice, girl scout camp, lacrosse camp and two CTY summers (let's just call it nerd camp). i cried at dance camp because i fell out of a split. i almost cried at girl scout camp because i couldn't swim. i got heat stroke at lacrosse camp and missed half the week. i felt most at home at nerd camp, but there were still ridiculous camp activities after class was done. i eventually had some fun at each, but getting me to smile, talk or make friends was definitely pulling teeth

what do all these things have in common? my fear of other people and being judged. i'm sure you're all so shocked by this revelation. i've always found it hard to interact with people and relate to people my own age. it's not been until recently that i seem to have found people who get me and make me comfortable from the beginning. i was a kid who never made friends easily, which translated into an adult who had to have friends made for her. ok it's not that bad, but i do still credit claire as the biggest reason i didn't beg my mom to come pick me up a week into my freshman year of college. when you don't eat for three days because you're terrified of going to the dining hall alone, you may have a problem. claire solved that problem, and the people i met are still my closest friends

fast forward a few years to when i started blogging publicly. i started putting myself out there more and more. i got to know people through 20SB, their blogs and twitter. i attended the occasional DC meetup. i went to a few SMC-DC and -Balt events. i actually felt like a part of things and not like everyone's antisocial shadow. then, this semester, i started an internship that really forced me to face my fears around meeting people for the first time. thanks to that experience, i set a goal to compensate for it. technically, i probably set that goal without thinking when i started meeting my online peeps off the computer, but whatevs :p

my goal is to basically stop making myself part of the scenery. stop making myself less memorable. stop willing people to not notice me. i'm an introvert, but that doesn't mean i have to be shy. i can be just as bold, honest and open as i am when i'm hiding behind my droid. going to vegas was the first real step in acting on this desire to grow. the next step?

i'm going on an adventure. to new york. by myself. sorta. my dad's from new york so we went a lot before my brother was born. i wasn't the first grandchild, but i was my grandmother's favorite. i went a couple times for school field trips, but only once just for fun with friends. that was the day i vowed to never EVER drive to new york again, but damn it was a good day in the city. i did venture to long island while heather was finishing up her master's, but i don't really count long island as "the city" ;) this trip will be my first trip to nyc in four years, and i'm traveling completely by myself. that's part one of the adventure

the rest? i booked an apartment through airbnb [yes, i get a little something if you decide to sign up with that link]. staying in a random strangers home? scary shit and kind of fun. i will take every precaution possible to keep myself safe. already emailed mom all my reservation details since she was freaking out. she's not used to adventurous michelle; neither am i... i'm going to a show with alix friday night, and i'm tagging along with her sunday for the nyc pride parade (insert crazy squeeing). saturday is my REALLY BIG SCARY DAY. why? because i'm hoping to hang out with a few biscuits in the city. i already met them, and i'm still terrified of spending more time with their awesome faces. how insane am i??? i'm more nervous about hanging out than i am about figuring out the subway system [though if i can't, i can always uber my way around town - yes, another link that'll pay me if you sign up. it also pays you. just saying...]

i 100% mean it when i say i want to meet the wonderful online people i know. i would love to make trips to chicago, texas and california. i will also be a bundle of nerves before, during and after said trips if they happen. i am already a bundle of nerves about nyc, which is two weeks away... ugh, i'm a mess. i think the moral of this story is "i like you. please don't hate me" because i'm still working on myself