Monday, April 23, 2012

A recent FB post

Feeling very out of sorts, I posted the following on FB on Saturday morning:

You probably don't know how painfully shy the person who showed up at your club's group run is. Or how far out of her comfort zone she was. Last year, when she showed up for a run, people were welcoming, so she thought she'd be okay. A couple of you said good morning as you walked past her, but after 10 minutes of standing there, nervously clutching her water bottle, feeling anxious and out of place, with no one talking to her, she left. But you probably didn't notice that.

The supportive comments this post received meant a lot to me. You see, not everyone knows how shy I am. It took a lot for me to even drive to this group run. When I got there, it took a lot for me to get out of the car. I seriously considered turning around in the parking lot and just driving home. But I didn't. I metaphorically put on my big girl panties and got out of the car. I slowly walked to the club house, and nervously said good morning to the people who were already there. A couple of people acknowledged me, but most didn't. The few women that were there just continued on in their conversation as if I was invisible. And that's what I felt like. Invisible. I toughed it out for several more minutes, feeling more and more like a loser the longer I stood there. Funny how the big girl panties can quickly disappear in situations like this. Finally, feeling a panic attack coming on, I walked away from the club house, back to the car. I managed to drive away (past the club house, mind you) and get down the road a bit before I started crying. 

When I got home, it was not even 7:30, so The Aussie was still in bed. I climbed in beside him, doggies hopping on the bed to snuggle with us. He asked what time it was and I said 7:30. Puzzled, his asked "aren't you going?" I told him I was back. He asked what happened. While he's a very outgoing person, he knows how difficult things like this are for me. He just held me as I cried while telling him what had happened. He told me that I at least made the effort and that was what was important.

It was important. I made the effort. But I won't be again. Oh, I'll show up for races that this group puts on a couple of times a year, but I won't be showing up for group events. Want to hear something funny? When I was half asleep not long ago I thought about why I sign up for races. This is going to sound pathetic, but part of it is the pictures of groups of friends all running together, wearing goofy costumes, having fun. It's like I'm still the nerdy little kid, always picked last for the team, looking at a group of friends from the other side of the chain link fence. I want to be a part of their popular group. But I'm not. A dear friend left this comment to my post ... When you are out there in a race it is just you and the pavement. You have everything you need inside you right now... She's right. I do have everything I need inside me. I'll be fine. Just me and the pavement.


  1. That took a lot to admit what happened. You can't make someone like yourself and then people will want to know what all the fuss is about.

  2. Honestly, this breaks my heart. :( It is a challenge and difficult to put yourself out there. You did it, and it was disastrous for your self-esteem. I'm SO sorry. I wish I was there.

    I lead a run group and I make every effort to welcome each person so that no one has to feel like you did that Saturday morning. There are several running groups here in town and I never went for fear of what you felt. If you're ever in South Louisiana and want to join in a run with my group, our arms will be open.

    1. Some day I will get to South Louisiana, and I'll be knocking on your door, asking if you can come out an play!

  3. Oh can I relate to this!! There are times I have forced myself to stay (it wasn't a running group) and it usually all worked out, but other times it doesn't. I have to remind myself over and over again that it's about them, it's about me, just like you did :-)

  4. Obviously, I wasn't there. And I'm sorry you deal with crippling shyness. I don't, so obviously it's not a problem I have. But I will say, looking at things from the other point of view; It's often not about you at all.

    If you mumble hello, we can't see how much effort that is for you. What we know is you walked by and said ((((((...hi....)))))) and stared at the ground. I usually try to be open and encouraging to people - many of my good friends are shy, but a lot of times that sort of quiet "don't notice me, don't notice me, please god, don't talk me me" behavior gets exactly what it sounds like. It's often misinterpreted as "I don't want to talk, please don't talk to me."

    Especially if you're in a group, or trying to fit into a group, where people all know each other and everyone else is not EXTREME OUTGOING... other semi-shy people react to a shy person often by just ignoring them and talking to people they know. Frequently with a good dose of "wow, what a snob, look at her, waiting for US to go to her, she thinks she's something, don't she?"

    Obviously we all know that's not usually the case, and on a case by case basis we sympathize. Again, I wasn't there, but I do try to look at things in the best possible light. I think a lot of hurt gets carried around that doesn't need to be; it's unlikely that anyone specifically wanted you to be unhappy.

    I mean, my best friend calls me "that crazy lady on the subway who doesn't shut up, no matter how much you wish she would go away." We're friends despite that; but she doesn't LIKE to talk to random people and my tendency to talk to my neighbors (at shops, at the mall, in line at Busch Gardens, etc) drives her bananas.

    Obviously this has bothered you for quite a long time; but I promise you: NO ONE there would be happy to learn that you walked away, sobbed yourself sick, and are continuing to be upset for this long. No one wanted that.