after many years of working on recovery and healing I still tend to feel like the “weird girl in the corner” at social events. I had always been somewhat socially awkward all of my life. In fact that’s the prime reason I started drinking at an early age. The first time I got drunk I was suddenly transformed (in my mind) into a charming chatty debutante with no fear of the boys at the party. What a great solution! I can’t vouch for the charming ideal, and I certainly was no debutante, but I was definitely chatty…and fearless. And I definitely made acquaintance with many boys, most of whom I would have been better off without!
But it was not only the boys who intimidated me, it was also most of the girls in school. The popular ones, the pretty ones, the ones who buzzed around in little cliques like a hive of bees, usually following every whim and turn of fashion that was dictated some Queen Bee. The kind of girls that when you passed by them while they were giggling, you were almost certain they were laughing at you.
As an adult I have had a few good friends who have been with me for most of my adult life. Others have come and gone, but my circle has always been small, trustworthy and like minded.
and when I am at social events, such as parties or weddings I still tend to feel like I don’t fit with the women I meet. I suppose there are a good many reasons for this some rational and some not. What I do know is that I’ve come to a point where it no longer bothers me like it used to. I have also uncovered another amazing discovery. Most of my “isolation” has been self inflicted. Imagine that.
I had the opportunity last weekend to attend a women’s Spirituality Conference. The keynote speaker was one of my favorite author/activists and I was thrilled at the chance to hear her speak. When I first heard of the conference, two months ago, I began canvassing my little group of women friends to find someone to go with me. When I realized that no one would be able to I decided it was time to take the plunge, put on my brave face and just GO.
I have to admit I was more than a little nervous on the first day of the conference. But I took a deep breath walked in and immediately struck up a conversation with the woman next to me at the registration table. I soon found it was quite easy to make ‘small talk”with the other women and by day 2 there were a few of us who were already comfortable with one another from the day before.
The point of my story is that all that self inflicted isolation came from fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not being accepted. And, this is a big one, fear of someone knowing my big secret, that my life hasn’t been perfect. I realized at the conference, where no one knew me, or my past, I could simply be judged as who I was presenting myself to be at the moment. I was a clean slate, just another new person. It felt pretty good. I had a great time at the workshops and browsing the vendors and especially hearing the keynote address. And I met many kind and friendly women, because I allowed it to be, because I didn’t let fear hold me back. Because I didn’t believe that the shadow of my past was hovering over me like a dark spirit saying “look at her, she’s been abused, she used to be a drunk…” and like most scary monsters if you don’t acknowledge them, they have no power over you.
By the way I did happen to knock over an entire shelf of hand made pottery in the vendors area, causing every head in the room to spin in my direction and utter a perfectly harmonized oooooohhhhhhh. But I survived with my pride mostly intact.
After all I am no debutante!
Peace and Blessings,
copyright 2010 Jennifer Hazard, nanakoosasplace.blogspot.com