Earlier this week I went to my first neighborhood book club meeting. The introvert, anxious mess of a person in my head kept telling me to just skip it. I wasn’t feeling that well and I didn’t think there would be anything to even talk about at the meeting since we had already discussed a bit in our Facebook group. Yet I knew a few of my friends were going and I didn’t want to flake out on them. The ultimate struggle of an introvert.
So I went a number of houses down and arrived a bit too early. Classic Kayla. At the very least it was at a house where I had been before, and I really enjoy spending time with the couple and their kids. All easing me into this book club thing. That’s the trick for anxious introverts. There are certain things that can make a very anxious situation easier. A familiar place, some familiar faces, and being prepared.
This definitely wasn’t like school where I never read the books and had to pretend I knew what I was talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale (review if you’re interested) and had a lot of opinions on the topic.
Yet it still was a very nerve racking experience to sit down in a small circle with women from my neighborhood all of which seemingly have their life more together than I do, to talk about a book. And you know what? I didn’t suck. All the pieces came together for me to be comfortable enough to push my anxiety aside, at least for a few hours.
Nothing went terribly wrong and I didn’t make enemies for life. That’s the funny thing about anxiety. The worries and concerns don’t necessarily make sense or are rational, but they still grip to you like a needy preschooler who doesn’t want to go to class without you.
I managed to talk and participate and share some of my differing opinions on the novel. I spoke up during periods where a few people started to talk (you know how it goes in group discussions) and people allowed me to speak rather than talking over me. I was an actual part of the discussion and it felt really great.
Afterward I felt proud walking home and didn’t find myself running over the whole evening in my head like I usually do. I didn’t analyze everything I said, and just let it be. It was a somewhat alarming, yet comforting experience not stressing over what people thought of me or if I said something weird. I just let the evening be.
And I’ll definitely go back and do it again. Look out world, Kayla’s in a book club now.