Yesterday, I had a fun time seeing Star Trek Beyond with Michael. I definitely got cold feet before I went out to meet with him, but somehow I was able to push past my usual round of negativity (and excuses I give myself about why I should stay home instead). I have hung out with Michael one-on-one twice before. It also helps that he has social anxiety like me, but I still get self-conscious of the times I think I’m being too quiet.
My motivation for getting out of the house and seeing him was to just have fun for the day. I’m not saying the whole day was perfect. I had started the day off roughly, to be exact.
As I described in my last WordPress entry, I tend to not want to be seen when there are guests or strangers I don’t know who are in the house because the situation and the pressure I feel about having to interact with them gives me anxiety. My mom’s friend had stayed over for two nights and was going home on Monday. I assumed the friend was leaving that very morning, but she and my mom were hanging out in the living room.
I had an appointment that morning at 11:15 AM to meet with a coordinator at a yoga studio to discuss volunteering my time there in exchange for free yoga classes. However, I got so worked up thinking about how to put in a casual, preferably not visibly anxious or nervous face in the presence of my mom’s friend that I basically stayed in my room, did not go downstairs, and then I emailed the coordinator feigning illness while apologizing for the sudden cancellation and politely asking if she would be willing to reschedule our meeting for another day.
I’m not going to lie, had my mom and her friend not left the house when they did later at around 11 AM-ish, I probably would have also given Michael some fake excuse about a raging migraine that would keep me from honoring my promise to see a movie with him.
Clearly, I know how I’m dealing with avoiding houseguests, and how I’m letting it impact my plans for the day, are ridiculous.
There was even a time when I would get so anxious about having to tell my parents I’m going out before I actually leave the house that I wouldn’t be able to say it in the end. It was Michael who convinced me to start trying to overcome this. He persuaded me after I canceled one of our scheduled hangouts because I was too anxious to tell my parents where I was going for the day. However, he remains unaware of the situation with my mom’s friend. I did not tell him about it, but I did omit the truth considerably and told him I simply wasn’t “feeling well” on Monday morning and didn’t go to my appointment at the yoga studio, and that I was eventually able to meet with him for the movie because I felt better later on.
When I say I get too anxious, I mean I am so hung up thinking about how afraid I am of going through with the action that I confine myself to inaction.
I have somewhat made progress with my parents. I do feel extremely awkward telling them when I’m going out, and even more awkward when they ask *where* I’m going, and then I don’t have a choice but to say the truth, which is I’m going to hang out with a friend. I feel very awkward in this situation, but it helps to know there is no real negative consequence of saying I am going out.
Maybe I feel especially sensitive and uncomfortable saying where I am going because my parents know none of my friends. I was pretty much a loner in high school, and I can only count one person in that school who I considered a friend and who I spoke to on a regular basis. Back then, I was even worse at face to face interactions, so that made making friends hard, and often I felt more adept at just texting or emailing someone. I definitely had pen pals I wrote to the old fashioned way (paper and envelope, which I would mail out to them) so I would count those people as friends.
My parents know I have met people at meetups, but they have no idea it’s for social anxiety. The only way I felt I could explain it to them was to say it’s a meetup organization for shy people. I do not know if I’m being hypersensitive or overreacting, but I often feel it’s invasive when my dad asks me questions about the people I meet. Sometimes I am so impatient with his inquiries or just don’t feel like answering.
Such as when he asked me if most of the people in the group are white. What the hell does that have to do with anything, and how would that impact me? It’s a minor off topic thing, but it’s frustrating to me that he’s so hung up on race. It could be for any situation, such as when I participate in a volunteering event, go visit a museum or even a job interview. One of the first questions he always asks is about what sort of people were there, or who I interacted with. And I always know what he really means is, “What race is the person?” Maybe there’s actually nothing wrong with someone asking me this, but it’s also likely the question annoys me because I don’t like what the question itself seems to imply.
I’m not immune to having prejudice. No one is. But, I sense the degree that my parents have prejudice against other races is quite unnecessary. They are immigrants and didn’t grow up in the U.S. like I have. I get that, however, they live their lives almost like they’re in a bubble where they would rather not interact with other races if they can, and are not interested in being friends with people who are non-Chinese. I’m different. I don’t care if my friends come from different backgrounds or don’t have the same life experiences as I do.