Social Anxiety…..Working With What Ya Got!

So, little known fact….. I am a shy, shrinking and self conscious piece of work, which in turn comes across as arrogant, confident and rude (well known fact).

I have suffered from this disorder for as long as I can remember. But as I have gotten older, I had just assumed that I had grown out of it to a large extent. However, I recently realised that actually, I have just subconsciously managed to build my life around it. Through maturity (old age), I have learnt of ways to only allow myself to be in social situations that I can feel comfortable with, and surround myself with people I feel comfortable with. Of course, this is not ALWAYS going to be possible (unfortunately), and in attempting to weed out the ”can do me’s” from the ”cannot do me’s”, I have offended many. 

So essentially my family have had no choice, and my friends who have accepted me for the way I portray myself, are the friends that see beneath the surface, understand me and are those that I feel most myself and safe with. Of Course there have been some lightweights over the years that have come and gone…..but for me that was just excess baggage that needed to be thrown overboard…..so you don’t get me? Abracadabra, hocus pocus….where did you go??? 

Now the word ”unapproachable” has been bandied around a number of times by friends and family over the years, none of which I have found offensive, as it is all perfectly true! Besides my awful personality disorder, I also have a very unapproachable and grumpy resting face. Even I myself have on occasion been taken aback when I have seen photos of myself, or have inadvertently caught a glimpse of my reflection somewhere. And that is my ”happy face”, so I can ONLY IMAGINE what my not so happy face looks like.

If I am together with other humans, and everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves, even when I am having a whale of a time, I, in all probability have the face that gets people wondering ”I wonder if she’s enjoying herself?” Or even worse, ”she looks like she’s hating every minute of it!”

What people don’t understand is that if I’m not enjoying myself, there will not even be a shred of doubt in that regard. So……to keep you up to speed…….angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face….having fun. Angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face……hating every second of it. Not so confusing surely???

I was never that person, nor will I ever be that person, who when having oodles of fun, displays  joyous, jovial,  jubilant, uproarious, and backslapping jollification. In my dreams and fantasies….sure…and yet………angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face.

Unfortunately, it took me until fairly recently to see what other people see. I knew what other people thought, but never actually saw what they saw. It is quite frightening actually. But as I said, it seems I have craftily managed to live my life around these issues.

Now in case you thought that was where my social disabilities ended, you 
could not be more wrong!! I am not going to paint myself as a paragon of virtue, I mean I swear I smoke, I drink……… none of these excessively (well maybe the swearing), but one thing I cannot deal with is CRUDENESS OR VULGARITY!!!!! If I am in the presence of a song, film, tv show or person where this type of behaviour is being displayed, every hair stands up in a ridge along my spine, sometimes ending in a puff of erect hair at the base of my tail……. oops, sorry that’s an agitated cat….but same same!

The minute something is threatening to be visually or verbally crude, I will get up and leave the building. If I am not in a position to do this I feel very trapped and angry that I have had no choice but to endure the situation.

A lot of times, the line between humour and vulgarity is so faint that even I myself sometimes get ambushed into allowing the situation to cross the line into vulgarity before realising that this has actually happened. Then I am REALLY p***ed off!! 

So now I was recently invited to a bridal shower for a work colleague, and not having been to that many in my lifetime, or certainly not for the last thousand years, I did not really know what to expect. 

At this particular shower one of the friends had organised a male entertainer. Now this might sound very raunchy, but for the most part it was just pure innocent fun. Well, other than the inbetweeners that crossed that line from funny to crude, but not offensive to a normal human being…..of which I think we have established by now, I am not. 

So in walks this Adonis of a man child, probably around my son Pepper’s age. He was acting very ”normally” when introducing himself, and getting ready for all the ”fun games” he was going to entertain us with. At that stage, the only (in my mind) cringeworthy behaviour, was when chatting to us, he made sure that he put his arm around each of the ladies seated at the table. There were squeals of delight from all the ladies, but me….I wanted to take him down by reaching over my shoulder, grabbing his wrist, and throwing him over my shoulder, only befitting a martial arts expert. Firstly…….best you stay on the perimeter of my pretend bubble! Secondly……COVID!!!!!!

Now, if I had joined in with the others earlier, and had a few drinks, I might not have been QUITE so uptight, but I was driving so refrained from doing so.

Thank the heavens above, he immediately realised I was not gonna be like the others. Perception perhaps? Angry and/or irritable and/or grumpy face perhaps? Or perhaps it was holy f**k expressions on my face?

In case you think that I could not have felt more awkward, I just need to mention that my son Salt had been asked to take the photos of the function. Cannot lie….best thing that could have happened. The bride-to-be was asked to pick a partner for the first game, and she said that she would have picked me, but my son was standing right behind me. Bless her soul. She knows me well and I think she just wanted to assist with any doubt that the man child possibly had left, in case the holy f**k expression didn’t give it away.

So there I sat…observing…as I do…the remaining 45 minutes of the entertainment. To be honest, he was very entertaining. He really had the ladies squealing with delight, laughing and just all round having fun, fun, fun. 

But me….despite the fact that I was actually for the most part (vulgarity excluded) enjoying myself, could literally feel myself bringing the room down. You know when you are having fun in a group, and there is that ONE person, throwing disapproving and judgemental looks at everyone? The person that manages to make everyone who even cares, feel like they just rolled in from the land of the uncivilized, ill bred and uncouth? Yep…I felt like that person.

That got me thinking about how my whole life has revolved around sitting on the outside, fantasizing about how I wished I could throw all my inhibitions to the curb, and just join in with the fun. You miss out on a whole life by having this wretched social disability.

But, like so many before me, and so many to come, you is what you is, and you just have to work with what ya got as best you can.

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