Flying Solo

Jun 2, 2013 by

          Last night, my friend from work had a going away party at a patio in Vaughan. Before I continue, I am so proud of her! She was sought out for an amazing management position in St. Maarten. On Tuesday, she’ll be moving there for at least a year. A few weeks ago, this friend was debating about where in Toronto to celebrate her upcoming July birthday. Now, she’s moving to another country to take advantage of an incredible career opportunity, making an outdoor summer birthday bash in Canada the furthest thought from her mind. Life is insanely unpredictable, which makes it unbelievably exciting! I am so happy for her!

          Of course, I was planning to attend her celebratory send off yesterday evening. However, all day, I couldn’t get rid of an irritating pressure in my chest. I didn’t understand why I was feeling it. I’ve come a long way in the last month, becoming much more confident in social situations than I’ve been in years. I haven’t had physical symptoms of anxiety in anticipation of a social event since the day I went to Niagara to celebrate my friend’s birthday at the end of April. Although this was nothing compared to what I felt then, it was still annoying. It didn’t make sense. I haven’t been uncomfortable socializing in over a month, yet I was nervous about the situation I was about to walk into.

          I soon realized that it wasn’t the social aspect of the evening that I was worried about; it was the fact that I’d be arriving alone. If I thought getting to the cause of my anxiety would relieve it, I was wrong. While I continued with my day, I could still feel the dull pressure in my chest. I thought about texting my friend from work to suggest driving there together. I stopped myself before clicking send, deciding that this would be a personal test in independence. I knew that if I could get myself out of my apartment, arrive alone, and realize that the sky wouldn’t fall as a result, I would add to my building confidence. I was not about to deprive myself of that opportunity.

          As soon as I got into my car and turned on the radio, I began to feel better for just having had the courage to go by myself. My confidence was rising already. I knew that I’d be fine. I’d get there, see some friends from work, and the initial minutes of awkwardness between walking in and finding my friends wouldn’t matter at all. I jammed out to the music in my car, boosting my energy as I drove down the highway. (I am totally that girl who drums on her steering wheel like she’s at a rock concert and screams the wrong lyrics at the top of her lungs.)

          When I arrived, I took a deep breath and walked inside with my head held high before immediately busting out my phone to text my friend. I wanted to find her ASAP, but it turned out that she wasn’t coming because she had food poisoning. Shit. I didn’t see any of my other work friends, and anxiety was setting up camp in my chest again. Thankfully, I heard the girl of honour call my name. Bubbly and fabulous, as always, she directed me to the patio. On my first circle around, I did not see a single recognizable face. My immediate thought was to panic, but I told myself to breath and look fucking harder. I follow through on what I say I’ll do. I said that I’d go to this party, so I was not about to ditch it five minutes after arriving.

          To my relief, I spotted two girls from another department. I went over to their table to join them. I recognized someone else at the table as well. I began chatting with them, quickly getting to know a little bit more about their personal lives and letting them in on mine. Throughout the night, I mingled with a couple of girls from work that I sort of knew, and I was also introduced to friends of coworkers. It was beautifully warm outside and the patio was lively. Before I knew it, it was 1 am. I had socialized the entire night, even though I had arrived alone to find none of my friends there. In retrospect, I probably should have texted them beforehand to confirm that they were going, but I’m so glad that I didn’t. I wouldn’t have had the courage to go alone had I known I might not know anyone when I arrived. Now, I know that I am capable of going to a friend’s party by myself and making conversation with people. I was amazed by my own independence, never mind my continuously improving social skills.

          As a bonus, I told two of the girls that I’m looking for a boyfriend. One took down my number in case she meets any guys who she thinks I’d like. The other said she would definitely let me know if she thinks of anyone. They also mentioned a cute guy who’s my age in their office. They’re going to find out if he’s single. Amazing! By expanding my social circle for an evening, I doubled the number of people who are seriously keeping an eye out for me on the guy front.

          On top of that, my friend who’s going away overheard our conversation and commented that all of her friends that she introduced me to had told her that I was beautiful! Although her friends are too far above my preferred age range, I was incredibly flattered. One told her to tell me that I have beautiful lips. Strangely enough, I received that same compliment recently. Thanks Blistex! (Ryan, if you ever come across this blog, I know you’d be proud.)

Happiness Tip: Channel your independence. It’s an amazing confidence boost.

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