This is Part two in a four part series about worth. Catch up on Part 1 here.
In September 2006, shortly after I puked up my then-husband’s birthday breakfast and realizing I was pregnant, I discovered an online group of women on iVillage.com who were also expecting babies in June 2007. Now known as the “June Jelly Beans” we’ve been connected through our children’s corresponding birthdates and now our friendship for over six years now. We are spread all over the United States and Canada and several of us have been lucky enough to meet in person. When an opportunity to meetup arises, most of us will take it!
I am doing a lot of traveling this summer. There was the long weekend in Portland, Oregon for #WDS2013 and then a week in New Hampshire and New York to meet my Beloved’s family and eat our way through the city. In August I’m departing on an Alaskan cruise from Seattle. As a result I had the opportunity to initiate some in person meetups with friends I’ve had for six years.
I hesitated at first. Social awkwardness sometimes takes the wheel from me and I default to what’s easier: just doing my own things. Managing my own wants in balance with my son’s and my Beloved’s; a delicate balance that’s challenging for me to maintain without the addition of other people and their needs and expectations and values and (oy, just thinking about it overwhelms me!)
But enough of what I push through results in damn good stuff so I waited until almost the last minute and let the locals in each trip area know where I was going to be. Both the Pacific Northwest and North Eastern groups were looking promising and then as the North Eastern trip grew closer we were down to one other person and myself.
Then the anxiety started to come back. It came in these waves that just say “give up” or “turn back” or “stop now before it’s too late” but I knew I wasn’t in any danger so I pressed pause on the panic and explored the feelings more.
Underneath I found the social anxiety rearing its head again. Sigh. I realized a few months ago that I would rather do something uncomfortable than ask someone else to do something ucomfortable on my behalf. ie, I’d rather go to a party with my Beloved where I don’t know anyone than ask her to come out to dinner with a friend of mine. Because what if they don’t like each other? Will I be able to entertain them both/keep them happy? ARGH?!
Is that what this was? Maybe… I kept exploring.
I also tend to be a bit of a Pollyanna, thinking that everything will work out all the time (it does, by the way) and because of this I oftentake on too much. This meetup we were working on was going to be in New York City, near the port authority (equals, not an easy area) and we would have luggage in tow, will have been fresh off of six hours on a bus and four days with Beloved’s family. We would also be a solid hour away from our final destination in Brooklyn. Maybe I was just realizing how impossible this all was turning out to be and wanting the comfort of doing what was easiest instead of what was the most fun?
Beloved and I talked it over and I was pretty clear that although there were some social anxiety triggers at work there was much more of the latter and it made more sense not to meet up. I reached out to my friend and as I started to explain my feelings around the situation I started to realize that I was worried about more than inconveniencing myself or Beloved, I was most worried about inconveniencing my friend. She was coming from two hours away and I was likely to be a hot mess. Was I worth it?
She and I communicated honestly and openly about the situation and when I received much reassurance from her about it being a pleasure for her to come into the city all of my anxiety faded away.
That’s when it became abundantly clear. When I realized I was willing to put inconvenience aside what was really underneath was that I didn’t think I was worth two hours of driving for a short chat over cupcakes. If I couldn’t promise someone a good time I wasn’t confident they would get anything of value from time spent with me. What if I wasn’t up to being my best self, would I disappoint her?
We met. It was great. I wish it was longer, but I don’t feel like I did her a disservice (nor would I had she not had reason to be in the city anyway). The brief bonding in person was totally worth the effort on both of our parts… but woah. What’s up with this worth stuff I’ve got going on in my head?
More to come on that journey, stay tuned for Part 3.