As I have mentioned before, I have subscribed to a blogging email group that helps to provide topic ideas for upcoming blogs. One question came across that I wasn’t sure if I would ever write about but I kept it in mind so here it goes: What’s the thing you are most scared to do?
The answer was easy for me. I’m not afraid of flying or skydiving. The first flight I remember taking was so I could go skydiving and I nearly died (that is another story). Lots of people are afraid of bugs or spiders. Every time Rizzo sees a bug in our house she immediately starts freaking out. I’ve seen her run out of the room going “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, big bug, get it, get it” because there was a dust bunny or a ball of string on the floor. I’m not afraid of public speaking. I don’t mind getting up in front of a big crowd to spout about some nonsense. I prefer that I know what I’m talking about but I don’t get scared if I don’t.
My biggest fear, the thing I hate doing more than anything else in the world, the thing that keeps me awake at night, the thing that makes my skin crawl and my heart race, is meeting new people in small groups. Just the thought of it while writing this blog is making me feel uncomfortable. I just hate going to a small party where I won’t really know anyone. I despise having to make introductions and idle chit chat with a person or two. To me, this is the absolute worst thing on the planet. When I’m in these situations I may look like this:
But I feel like this:
Let me give you a few examples.
In July 2010, one of Rizzo’s best friends (and now one of my good friends) Shawna was getting married to her fiance, John. Rizzo and I hadn’t been dating too terribly long at this point but I was still her plus one so I hopped a train from Fredericksburg to join Rizzo at the festivities. I was absolutely terrified. I would know a grand total of four people at this event, one of them being me, one of them being Rizzo, and the other two were the Drusteps who I had met maybe once before. Not only that, Rizzo was in the wedding so I would be spending most of my time hanging out with strangers. The memories make my stomach queasy.
The weekend turned out fine. I went out with everyone the night before the wedding, carrying around a bag of lettuce for some reason (you know what I’m talking about Kevin). The wedding was beautiful. I remember the ceremony had to be pushed “inside” under a canopy because of rain but that didn’t make it any less romantic. I went to the reception with everyone but I was soon overwhelmed with all the new people and crowds. My head throbbed and stomach churned. I ended up staying in the hotel after the reception while others went out because the stress was just too much to handle.
I am now friends with nearly everybody that was at that wedding. Rizzo and I visited Jawna (that is John and Shawna. I just made that up and it is not funny at all) in 2013 for our A Christmas Carol show. In 2012 I spent a week with the Drusteps touring England and Scotland. There was no rational reason for me to be scared to meet or talk to these people but I was terrified.
Here is another example that is much briefer but relays the same message.
I remember one day in high school I was at my friend Bryan’s house just hanging out. The group included several people, both boys and girls (we were like 15 or 16 so we were still awkward boys and girls at this point), just sitting around talking. As per usual, I was sitting and listening but not really saying anything. At one point one of the girls leaned over to me and asked me if I was ok? “Yeah, why do you ask?” It seems that I never really talked much in groups like this and she was worried that I was depressed or something.
Looking back it was a very touching thing of her to ask. The question wasn’t asked in a mean or accusatory way that some teenagers can be known to do. You know the way they might say “What is wrooonngggg with you?” as if you are weird. It was a real concern. I didn’t say anything at the time but I was terrified to be in that room because it was full of people I didn’t know very well and I had absolutely nothing to talk about. I won’t mention the girls name because I don’t want to embarrass her or out her on the internet but she is now one of my very good friends and I still get to hang out with her all the time.
So, that is my biggest fear. Meeting new people is absolutely terrifying to me. I know it is something I have to do and it is very rewarding after it is done. If I didn’t just push through this irrational fear I wouldn’t know anyone or do anything. So if you happen to see me out somewhere, perhaps at a party of one of Rizzo’s coworkers or at a barbeque for a friend of a friend of a friend, and I seem to be uncomfortable, awkward, and a little difficult to get along with, I am terribly sorry. I’m a nice guy that can be funny at times. I promise. I just have to know you for 2 or 3 years before I stop feeling like I’m going to throw up every time I talk to you. It’s not you. It’s me.
P.S. What is your biggest fear? How do you overcome?