Walking through the noisy, crowded living room (beer in hand), trying to appear normal, I felt like such a loser. Everyone – and I mean, everyone – seemed to be talking and laughing with someone else. Im ashamed to admit it, but I was so frustrated at that point, I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I crossed the room. I had to get away and compose myself before someone saw me.
I was bee-lining for the front door, as I prayed that my co-workers would not see me – or worse, my boss. I quickly slipped my coat on and headed out the door. If anyone caught me, Id just say I forgot something in the car.
The cool December air was refreshing beyond description. My blushing face received immediate relief and that instantly improved the situation 100 percent. Not only that, but without the noise inside, I was able to regain my composure. I did feel like Id been beat by social anxiety once again, however. That was a depressing thought.
I decided to take a walk down to where the cars were parked. Again, if anyone was watching from the house, I could say I left something in the car. Fortunately, this house had a lot of property, so the walk was long enough to do some quick thinking.
I came to the conclusion that part of what makes us resilient and confident is our ability to take the good with the bad, accept failure, or partial success, and move on. Its the ability to handle a crisis with style – not to crumble under pressure at the first sign things are going bad. That was who I was working towards becoming, not a person that would allow himself to be owned like this.
That episode was a good example of how I used to handle parties – of how I used to feel. And though it felt eerily familiar, I was not the same person I was 2 years ago. That was a fact – period. I had been working my tail off so that I could handle situations like this. I had enjoyed numerous triumphs in my fight over social anxiety in the past little while. I was making solid progress; there was no doubt about that. The fact that social anxiety had kicked my ass a few minutes ago was superficial – a one off – certainly not the norm. I had to shake it off, pull myself together, and get back in there.
After 10 minutes of walking through the frigid winter air, Id had about enough. I felt confident that I could still save this day. I needed to rescue it because I couldnt handle beating myself up for the next two weeks.
Really, there was nothing to rescue. A couple of snobs gave me the brush-off, and I was going to let that ruin my evening?
In fact, everything that had gone on during the past hour was mostly in my head. No one at the party had a clue what had just happened.
I started walking back as more realistic thoughts flooded my brain. Hey, it would certainly take more than this to derail my plans.
I stood at the door (the noise on the other side seemed to be louder) *deep breath* as I slipped in quickly so no one would notice Id been gone.
I stood in the foyer. My face felt great after that walk as I surveyed the room.
Lets do this again – take two.