Saturday was a big day for me because I was able to do two things that made me really uncomfortable. What were the events that made me feel so victorious? Going to a restaurant with Z and T that I’d never been to before and going to a birthday party for a one year old. I was sincerely excited about successfully venturing into the real world, but as I write it down I’m feeling rather foolish. Sometimes, if I’m not paying close attention, I think I’m doing a good job with the anxiety. And then I realize my progress is embarrassingly minor. The restaurant was a short drive away, and the party wasn’t even a two block walk from my front door. And I’m all proud of myself for getting to these things? It’s really kind of sad.
And the party wasn’t even a real victory. Though it was hosted by a couple I like very much and want to know better, and though it was attended by several families I know (including my closest friend in Syracuse) I was uncomfortable and on edge the entire time I was there. Big events are pretty unbearable to me. My body seems to swell to three times its normal size. I become clumsy and just don’t know where to put my bulk. And I completely lose the ability to chat like a normal person. My face becomes bright red, my stomach knots up, I have to tell myself, “Just a couple more minutes until I can bolt,” the entire time I’m there.
I feel like shit about it. If the hosts of the party knew how I felt it would be humiliating. They graciously invited me into their home and my reaction to the party was most ungrateful. My bad behavior began before we even made it up the block. Z wanted to take T in the awesome sleigh we have that belonged to his great grandmother when she was a baby. It turned 100 years old last year. There was certainly enough snow on the ground to use the sleigh, but I begged him not to bring it. It is big and showy and I thought it would draw attention to us and be in the way. I was seething as we walked over, several paces behind Z, T, and the sleigh. And, of course, no one even saw him put it on the porch. If I’m being completely honest about it, it isn’t even that big. We aren’t going to have unlimited opportunities to use it, even if we do live in Syracuse. But I couldn’t think reasonably about it. Gearing up for a social event unleashes the batshit crazy. I don’t know why Z tries to get me to participate in them because he is often my punching bag as I struggle to come up with an excuse to get out of going, or as I become more and more unbearable as we get closer and close to the event.
Bottom line: I’ve still got a shit load of work to do when it comes to getting better. The good thing is I’m lucky enough to have the support and resources to get that help. I wish all Americans had it so good.
The sleigh during a storm last winter. T is buried under those blankets.
T has started to put his little ear against the guitar as his Daddy plays.