1. Turns out, shocking as it is, that I'm generally a whole hell of a lot less confident than I appear. Give me a task, a job to do, even something that needs teaching -- and I'm fine. But the unstructured social interactions of new acquaintances. Yikes. I become, or at least wish to, a shrinking wall flower. Today I participated in a three person group, one of which is a dear friend of mine. I broke into a sweat, felt a little panicky and was sure that I was making a complete ass of myself.
2. Likely contributing to my social angst is the fear that my authentic, unguarded self wouldn't measure up to the standards of those I'm with. I measure what I say, wonder if I laugh too much or too loud, then wonder if it was really funny or if I'm just nervous . . . avoid dangerous topics and generally try to find a quiet spot to watch from.
3. Then every once in awhile, I'm reminded that this is all about my own hang ups rather than what may or may not be going on in other people's minds. I had an interaction this weekend in which I explained to some other women a concern I had about something happening in my child's religious education class. I didn't anticipate crying but I did. Which I hate. But clearly I was afraid that they wouldn't be able to hear me -- I felt like the other. The only working mother, the mom who doesn't bring her child every week and I dared to have a concern. My politics and doctrine are all wrong. I was touched and a little ashamed by their open armed response. They got me tissues, patted and hugged me, reassured me that my concern was valid and offered ideas and support.
4. I crave reassurance. There is a scared and uncertain girl in here somewhere who really wants to be liked and admired. Someone to say that I'm doing a good job. While they're at it, I'm sexy and skinny and not a day over, oh say, 22 years old.
5. Balance. It is the word of the year for me. Part of balance is being able to hold my own ambivalence and uncertainty. Stay present. Observe it. Acknowledge its existence and not admonish myself to do better, grow up, etc. Just sit along side that scared girl and reassure her that we're in this together. We're not there yet. Our journey is still unfolding. This moment is good enough. I'm good enough.
6. I should probably change the title. Doesn't sound very self-accepting, now does it. How about Unfolding.