Today was a day of overwhelming activities. The day started at 5:30 when I surprisingly beat my alarm clock at waking up. From there, I stumbled into the shower and out the door on my way to the airport. During this 35 minute drive, I had the thought “Hmm…I miss my old apartment” briefly….but only because it was ten minutes away from the airport. I could have slept longer.
Now for the overwhelming part, I flew alone for the first time…ever. This (and the whole conference I’m at this week) is a reason why I have social anxiety. I think over time my childhood shyness developed into full-fledged awkward adult introvertness. I’m not comfortable in places that I’m not familiar with. I don’t know how to initiate conversation. I can literally feel my skin crawling when I’m in a crowd of people and don’t have my buffer zone (aka my phone). It’s something I desperately need to work on. Anyway, I made it through security (TSA lady liked my hair – holla!) and located the Starbucks where I had a conversation with a pilot. Okay, it was early in the morning and I was making small talk with another individual. I deserved all the gold stars.
To add to my success, I made it through the first flight no problem. Then during the stop in St. Louis an older gentleman boarded the plane and sat in my row. There was a seat between us and I smiled and said hi after he got settled in. HE IGNORED ME! Like looked me up and down and then turned his head. Then a lady took the seat between us and he struck up a conversation with her. So the rest of the flight I wondered what was so wrong with me that he couldn’t even say hi.
After deciding to put on my headphones and go about my day without worrying about Mr. Grumpy Gus, I successfully navigated the airport, baggage claim, and catching a taxi to the hotel. Small successes. From there I spent the day curled up in my nice, comfy king size bed writing two papers I put off until today (hence the lack of grammar in this post – sorry guys…those papers got my good writing). Then here comes overwhelming incident #2 – the welcome reception.
Now I’m attending this conference for work, and I’m attending it alone. Oh, and there are 700+ people registered for it with multiple schools sending entire fleets of people. Needless to say, I was feeling mighty small to begin with. So there was a welcome reception this evening called “Spirit Night” (where you wear your school colors and all that jazz). Well I had decided before even getting on the plane that I wasn’t going to it. No way – no how was I going into a room full of people I didn’t know for a social function. That has awkward written all over it. After spending all day alone, I convinced myself that in order to meet people, I have to be where the people are. So I pulled on my little work polo, jeans and converse and meandered my way down there. What I saw was terrifying. A darkened ballroom, reminiscent of a high school prom, clusters of people milling about and loud music. Introvert Leah was like, “Oh hells no!” So I turned around and went back upstairs. Social butterfly fail. Finger crossed for tomorrow!
(Pictures are from the world war I memorial that is right outside of my window – I had to go for a walk after all my awkwardness).