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Social Discomfort

March 19, 2007

Seriously, now, does it ever get better? That feeling like you are a teenager at your first party, or standing alone at a table in the club scene as a twenty-something, making small talk at a party where you know noone as a thirty-something. I wish I could know that in my forty-somethings these feelings of discomfort and inadequacy go away.

Tonight I went to an after-work celebration hosted by a consulting company that is doing some work for my company. They were celebrating their customers’ successes with launching new Microsoft technologies. My company fits that criteria, and as the intranet manager, I was invited to attend.

First off, I felt akward because I didn’t know anyone there except a couple people. Second, it was a wine and hors d’ouvres event and I don’t drink (but I certainly can eat!) Third, I totally chose the wrong clothes to wear. My company attire is so completely casual that dressing business casual is like dressing for a black tie event. And I wore what was appropriate for my work (even nice, you might say), but for this event, I just wasn’t thinking. I wore the worst outfit ever to feel comfortable. I felt fine at work but then… here I was wearing my blue jeans (nice, fairly new), new pink hibiscus top, and my blue and pink Sketchers. Boy did I feel like a neon light. To top it off, it seemed to me that the other girls – and they were young, maybe 28 or 30 max – kept looking at me. Either they coveted my rocking cool new top, or I looked like a giant hibuscus tree in bloom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mac truck, but my hips are not the size of three year old toddler, which it appears to me how all young ladies are built these days.

And I certainly didn’t have the corporate wardrobe: cropped wide leg pants made out of jersey knit (uh, girls, you too will have cellulite someday), layered tight shirts coming down over the petite hips, or cute boots and shoes. 

Most of the time, I can hold my own in any situation. I rely on my smarts and my background (having traveled Europe, had a good education, and so on). I usually can converse fluently and intellegently, but I find in these situations I trip on my own words and mess up sentences without even the benefit of alcohol. (No, cute looking dude standing next to me, I’m just stupid and can’t form my sentences correctly.)

So, these were the thoughts going through my head on the 45 minute drive home after this event. I did enjoy myself for the most part and met a couple new people with whom it was probably beneficial for me to rub elbows. But you know what they say about first impressions (theirs of me.) I’m just overly sensitive right now because my physical therapist made comments to me earlier last week about my weight and how I’d get farther if I lost 50 lbs. (I’m sorry, gee, I wonder how I got this far without that excellent sage advice?) And I only need to lose about 50 or so anyway, so it stung. I usually rely on my intelligence, and tonight I just didn’t feel so smart. I just felt frumpy.

My brain is an interesting muscle.  It does catapaults sometimes in the most amazing ways. After all this negative self talk and sense of inadequacy, it would be understandable if I had feelings of resignation and concluded that I’ll never have the life I want.

Nope.

My follow up thoughts were these: I guess I need to adjust what’s on my cutting table. Instead of more tshirts, I need to focus on jackets (first and foremost) and then skirts. My mind started visualizing my fabric and pattern stash and figuring out what to make first, which fabric would pair nicely with what, and so forth.

I may never like those situations, I may never feel totally comfortable in my own skin trying to make small talk with people. But I can do something to ease it somewhat. I can sew. And I can make a jacket that fits me nicely and no other girl in the room will have one just like it. And they’ll be eyeballing me because they are secretly wondering where the hell I got it.

So there.

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3 Comments
  1. March 20, 2007 10:42 am

    I feel just the same way. I grit my teeth and scan the gathering for someone else who is sitting there lone and lorn. Then I go over and introduce myself and try to draw that person out. If I’m thinking about someone else, I’m not thinking about how wretched I am.

  2. March 20, 2007 12:44 pm

    the irony here is that most people feel this way, but we always think we are the only one. i try to come up with a few “ice breaker” questions before the event…..but, yeah….it feels awkward. btw, i bet they were totally coveting your new top. 🙂

  3. March 21, 2007 1:31 am

    I often feel like that, too. Mainly because I’m most often the youngest, and the smallest, so I feel so insignificant.

    I’m absolutely certain that those girls were envious at your fabulous hibiscus top, Claire. 😛

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