***UPDATE***In case anyone thought I was exaggerating my party fears, about three or four days after I wrote this blog, I decided to cancel my upcoming birthday party. I'm not arriving in Australia until 3 days before it, I wasn't organised and the whole idea of it was making me unhappy. I'm sure I'd have had a great time once it transpired, but I was sick of my stomach being in knots leading up to that. I'll have something small and relaxed. *sighs with relief*
The last big shin dig I arranged was for my 28th birthday. I was back home in Melbourne and it seemed like an excellent chance to gather all my friends since it was often hard for me to see everyone I know during my short visits. Everything seemed to be falling into place, I talked about it for months, advised people there would be a party on January 7th (two days after my birthday) so they would keep the date free. I was even nerdy enough to make an iPod playlist months in advance. It's not as pathetic as it sounds. I was thinking about it and had the time at that moment, and I could foresee packing my bags at 3am the night before we were to leave and remembering I hadn't made the playlist and then having to add that to my endless list of things to do before departure.
It was all exciting until the serious planning began. Oh good lord, how could I come up with enough people? As it turned out, I had about 40 people show up which is a great turn out, especially so close to Christmas. Aeek or so before the party is about the time that I forsee a disaster. Even if the people turn out, will the party be any good? Will there be enough food? Will there be any wall flower people requiring special attention?
'The Wallflower' by Norman RockwellStephanie did her best to include me and introduced me to her friends who were almost all very nice. All but one, who is just the kind of person who keeps people like me in a state of mortal terror. We'll call her Jamie. Jamie, after being introduced to me, stuck out her hand apprehensively, and seemed to be so busy looking me up and down with scrutiny that she did not state her name after I stated mine. I had to ask. When she said "Jamie", it was cold. Soon after this painful exchange, I responded with merriment to something someone else said only to catch the sight of Jamie and a long disapproving stare at me which she obviously began when I wasn't looking at her. Just when you try to tell yourself that you are overreacting about being perceived as a dolt, you meet someone like Jamie.
Randomly, here's a picture of me with Bernie Kopel who played Dr. Adam Bricker on 'The Love Boat'.
Even when I evaluate my paranoia and discomfort in these situations as I am doing right now, my feelings don't seem unfounded or paranoid to me. If people have a bad time, sure, they can deal with it, but I just don't even want that to happen on my watch. When going to other parties, well, a few drinks always eases some tension, but it would nice if I could just eat it and NOT CARE. Ugh.
I hope I haven't painted myself in such a way that anyone reading this wont come to my parties and wont invite me to parties. I'm actually great fun, I promise! I don't need a drop of liquor to get up for karaoke! I just get a little uncomfortable sometimes... It's an internal struggle. Nothing to worry about!