Tuesday, October 19, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

Something you hate about yourself.

When I think of "hate" I think of some kind of self loathing, can't look in the mirror, raging out loud kind of feeling- none of which do I feel about any particular personality trait or character flaw of mine. Are there other things in this world I hate? Absolutely. Myself? No. Definitely not. I don't think I'd be writing this post if I did. So I'm changing this a little because I can.

Let's forget physically- because not one person out there is 100% satisfied with the way they look- and I'm no different. Personality wise though there are a several traits I consider "works in progress" or "under construction". There isn't one trait I posses that I don't believe I have the full capacity to change. I know that. Actually making the effort to change? That is a little more iffy.

Anxiety- I have some serious anxiety in certain situations- crowds especially. I hate being singled out in a group and I hate too many strangers bumping into me. Costco sucks and fairs too. For this reason I avoid most situations where I might find myself in too much of a crowd. I grocery shop early in the morning and I plan outings to start exactly when something opens (say a farm) because I know it will be less crowded. I can deal some with these places and I do (i.e. a farm) but the anxiety is always high, my temper and patience runs short and I have a hard time having as much fun as I wish I could. Most of the time I just wish people would go away. If you haven't guessed already Biringer Farms was SUPER crowded on Saturday. The pictures don't tell the whole story I guess.

Social Awkwardness- I keep to myself for the vast majority of the time. As mentioned above I get super anxious in crowds of people and I am terrible for whatever reason at small talk. I hate introducing myself and "chit chatting" with people I don't know. I've never been good at participating in conversations in a group of people. My hearing loss might have something to do with that as well. Tying that in with my anxiety- these situations usually shoot my stress levels through the roof- which is never fun.

But the anxiety and social awkwardness really bother me. I mean really bother me. I want to make new friends and new contacts. I want to hear what other people have to say. I want to have a good time. I don't particularly care if I am liked by everyone but I want to give people the opportunity to decide. I think the key to this particular character "flaw" if you will, is exposure. The more often I put myself in these situations the better I will be at it and the less anxiety I will experience- its just the actual going out and doing it that is the problem because it makes me sooo sooo anxious. A vicious cycle if I ever saw one.

Last week was my 10 year High School Reunion. I would absolutely NOT have gone if Stephanie hadn't gone with us because I didn't want to walk in there by myself. When she called an hour beforehand saying she would just meet us there instead of carpooling I had a little meltdown and decided I wasn't going. Really. I cried like a little baby. Over having to be in a group of people I mostly don't even care about. NERVES! Martin convinced me to go anyway- and since he came with it was better but I didn't know what to say to pretty much any of them. "Um...how's it going? Haven't seen you in ten years and barely remember you...so what's new?" Ugh. Awkward!!!

A bunch of people posted on Facebook after the event that they had so much fun and it was so great to see everyone. After about an hour and a half there I was D-O-N-E done and wanted to leave. Approximately 120 people in a 30'x30' room? Yikes! I did not have fun at all. But I guess give me some credit for at least trying???

On a slightly less serious note- I play with my hair. Pretty much constantly, though most of the time unconsciously. I do this weird twirly thing- my mom says its a residual habit from when I was a baby. I had a yellow blankie that had a silky soft lining. I used to feel the silk parts to soothe myself to sleep(awww so cute!). Having been pointed out recently as a habit that must be broken because it makes me appear anxious, I am seriously struggling with the idea and implementation. Playing with my hair has been my anxiety/stress reliever for basically my entire life! As an adult though it appears unprofessional. It drives me crazy that I can't just stop. The pressure of others wanting me to stop only makes me more anxious...making it even more difficult. But I'll try- like I said- I am a work in progress.

I know there are tons more "under construction" traits I have but I think that is plenty for today.

Anyone else experience "crowd" anxiety? What are your strategies for dealing with it (other than being a recluse, 'cause that's no fun either!)? Any stress relief options/ideas that don't involve hair twirling?