The past week I’ve been rather proud of myself. I’ve opened up more and more to people who I’m close to and I’ve started to attempt relationships with those I don’t know. I’ve been fighting my ever-increasing introversion in both practical and weird ways – this is practical but totally weird – I’m giving up tuna as I discovered that excessive mercury (more than 9 oz of tuna a week that I was welllllllllll above) can cause shyness, introversion, paranoia, and all sorts of weird psychological ills that I was beginning to identify with (which may or may not be related). I went on a first date with someone and didn’t puke (though I totally thought I was about to when I saw her… wait… that’s not what I meant). I emailed one of the pastors at the church I’ve been sporadically (rarely) attending and initiated having coffee with her. I went to that church the next day and I actually shook hands and said “hello” to people – strangers. I came out to a friend (tried to just gently throw it into conversation in a matter of fact way… ). I’d been really scared to tell her because she’s ultra conservative. I emailed someone about checking out their small group.
These feel like huge things for me. Saying hello and not puking should be normal things for normal people. They were once totally normal for me. I started to withhold hellos and getting nervous to the point of being sick not that long ago. It was probably close to 2 years ago. That was about the time that I started to finally admit to myself that I was not the same person on the inside as I was on the outside. I realized that I had a great façade that was a fun church girl, but on the inside I was full of doubt, torment, self-hatred and massive amounts of shame. Once I could recognize those things, I figured others could too, so I started to withdraw. When people got close, I got scared and nervous. There were a few people who I let in and they were life savers last fall and winter when I had nothing left. They are some of the dearest and most amazing people who God ever created. Yet, at times, I still felt paralyzed talking with them.
So this past week, I think I’ve done an amazing job. Granted, things didn’t quite go as I wish they had. That friend… well, she backed away (can’t say as I totally blame her, I mean, I was deceiving her for quite some time); I booked it as soon as church was over so I didn’t have to really talk to anyone; and I didn’t go to the small group that I emailed (it started an hour ago). It’s difficult to get rid of a security blanket. Let’s be honest, the best way to avoid being hurt by people, is to not have people in your life. What I’m learning though, is I’d rather feel the pangs of rejection of one or two than the absence of love from the rest.