The In Crowd

It's funny that one of my biggest desires in life has been to simply be part of something. A ridiculous block to being a part of something, however, is fear of rejection/disappointment. For years I would unconsciously build up walls (sometimes very consciously, if I'm being totally honest), and avoid situations so I could avoid the pain of not being included. Funny thing about avoiding inevitably makes unhappy situations infinitely more painful. Yet I still kept chasing that dream to be a part of something...

I became lonely and un-fulfilled in my New York life so I went and lived in Community, in Scotland, for 7 months. Then I came back dreaming of creating a business that "created community through the preparing and sharing of food." I lived with roommates up until about a year ago (I still count my Sam as a roommate). I joined the church choir, found work that was actually related to my calling, became involved with the local opera chorus...

And still...I longed to be a part of something.

Then recently, I had a crazy epiphany: "I'm not letting myself BE part of the group."

Crickets. Lightbulb. Whoa.

All this time, and that's all I had to do?

Part of the process is getting out there...and BEING PART OF THINGS. Letting ourselves be seen and heard...taking chances (risking rejection, gasp). It's so easy to fall into the mindset of, "If I'm not REALLY part of the group then it won't matter if I'm turned away because I wasn't REALLY part of it anyway."

I started thinking these thoughts and then life threw a few situations at me to SHOW me that I am, indeed, part of the group.

It started around preparing for another opera chorus audition. I have been talking with some of my friends and fellow singers about performing, and have been learning that we all suffer from anxiety and fear of singing by ourselves in front of others. What!? You're kidding right? You mean, I'm just like everyone else??? Wow. (By the way, I got into the season, wink). I'm in the group.

Then my 39th birthday happened (yes, I am 39). In days of in, when I lived in New York, I would try and plan a big dinner out. I would have everyone say they were coming...and then slowly people would drop out at the last minute for various reasons and it would be down to my small core group of friends...which was always lovely, but undercut by all the flakers. This year I decided to throw caution to the wind and create a Facebook event and just invite away...people from all parts of my life and just go from there. Practically everyone came, and those who couldn't told me upfront. And everyone mixed and mingled so beautifully without a cell phone in sight. I had a blast watching my group.

Later that same day/night I was parking my car downtown and popped a tire in the presence of some of my new friends. And I need to add that this was the very same tire I had replaced (all by myself) about a day and a half prior. I had fixed it all without help and now there I was, needing help. And my friends were there and I took the help...leading to needing rides everywhere for a couple of days. I allowed myself to be surrounded by my group.

Fast forward to the following evening...after a long day of getting rides to and from work. I took my dog outside and was bitten by some fire ants. For anyone who doesn't know, I went to the emergency room last August after stepping on an anthill and was prescribed an epi pen. Also...I had been bit a little on the Wednesday of my first tire repair and taken care of it myself. Funny, huh? So, back to Saturday. I calmly get Sam back up to the apartment and do my usual ant reaction avoidance...but it doesn't work the same way this time. So here I am with a busted tire and a progressively swelling body. So I reach out to someone in my group.

(I also deployed my Epi Pen and took another benadryl. But speaking to my friend Emily helped to soothe me just as well).

So my conclusion is that I am very much part of a larger picture and am very grateful and happy that I have finally chosen to get over myself and BE part of the group. After all, I think I was the only one who didn't know I was in it...