Originally written May 23, 2010. I thought I had published this one already....
I don't like going out in public anymore. It's not as bad as earlier this fall, but some days I really don't want to leave my house. Some days, the fear of rejection and confrontation is too much. I used to think that if I just smiled nicely and was polite, people would like me. I bit my tongue a lot and occaisionally went along with stuff that I wasn't comfortable with(opinions or gossip), because I didn't want to make waves. Then my world blew up. Suddenly a lot of people didn't like me anymore, even hated me. It was hard enough dealing with the friends who confronted me and told me in great detail why they thought I was a bad person. That was devastating in and of itself. But what turned out to be worse was the strung-out process of finding who else didn't like me anymore. It was checking out my Facebook account and discovering which people were no longer my friends. It was walking into church and noticing that not only were some people now avoiding me, if they did talk to me they were mean. Months later I'm still finding new people who have defriended me. This slow, silent rejection has eroded my confidence more than the explosive endings did. Now I am afraid. Afraid to make new friends, afraid to show my face in public for fear that someone will yell at me. It's slightly ridiculous, but also crippling.
A dear friend turned 30 yesterday and her parents threw her a party. We were invited and decided to attend. It was a drive, but she's worth it. However, when I accepted the invitation, I didn't count on the fear. Suddenly on the way there, I began to be overwhelmed. What if people showed up who hate me? What if there isn't anybody I know and the other guests reject me? It was stressful, but I decided to just celebrate my friend. Upon arriving, we discovered that no, we didn't know anybody else. That was slightly awkward at first, but my friend's mother took us under her wing. She had provided beachballs and bubbles for our kids and was incredibly friendly. Apparently I had met her before but I couldn't remember where until we left. She kept bringing up details about our family and I was trying to figure out how she knew them. It was awkward, but funny. :)
We had a great chat with her and then began meeting some of the other guests. The lunch was great. Our kids behaved, we have fun and it was great to celebrate a truly special woman. I was so blessed by the kindness of a host. She treated me like I was special, even when I couldn't remember how she knew me. Being loved on without knowing why was really healing to my damaged soul today. Happy birthday to JB, and a big thank you to your mom! :)