Thursday, May 15, 2014

Come Play In May - Raw

Hi, my name is Kirsten. I'm a painfully shy introvert. Once I get to know you, and feel comfortable around you, I'm not shy at all. I can actually be quite entertaining to be around. But getting to know you, that's a whole 'nother story. Even transitioning from knowing someone online to meeting them in person is panic attack inducing. Yeah... I've stepped out of my comfort zone a few times, in an attempt to meet up with new people, do something new, only to be reminded why I stay in my comfort zone.  A couple of years ago, I posted the following:

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.

Even reading this makes me cry. I'd rather keep to myself than to risk getting hurt more. I'm not invisible. I do have feelings, and they are very tender. I'm not a loser. Maybe you can't understand how a person can be this way, maybe you can. You may never know how fucking difficult it is for me to walk up to someone and introduce myself. If I do manage to get up the courage and introduce myself to you, please forgive me my awkwardness.


  1. we're pretty much twins. i'd hug you, but that'd be awkward.....
    so...i'll raise my water glass in your general direction...

  2. While I don't know that I'm this shy, I definitely understand how it feels to be left out by "the" crowd. Thank you for bringing this to my attention so I can make sure I am more welcoming to those who may need it.

  3. I'm an introvert too. I always say that I'm a hermit by choice, but the truth is, my anxiety is so bad and I always feel out of place or awkward, so I avoid pretty much everything I can. My kids have even started to tell me that I need to be more social. I've gotten to the point where I can talk to people in public, but I find myself making excuses about my awkwardness and that can be... more awkward. I'm even worried about what to write on my blog because I get so fixated on the way others will see me. So know that you are most definitely not alone.

  4. How lucky we were to have you as part of our little team :-) We'll need to start training for the HM in Sept soon!

  5. I wish I was more of an extrovert, but I guess it's not in the cards for me. I try to be more sociable, but then I lose my nerve, or I get ignored, and retreat back to my home. :/ Once I get to know you, then it's a whole different ball game, but even getting to that point can be downright impossible.

  6. I'm a total introvert, too. I probably would never have had the courage to even go to the clubhouse - if I'd managed to drive to the event at all, I can see myself chickening out before I stepped out of the car. Big fat NOPE! Hang in there and know that you're not an outcast... it's just that the rest of us who get you are too chicken to stand up and be counted.

  7. One of the reasons I'm not a runner is I know I'll never be one of those girls with the tutus and the group and the comradeship. That and missing toenails, but mostly I just .... it's so close and they've all known each other for-friggin-ever and no, I just can't even think about cracking that nut without feeling nauseous and my hands starting to shake.