Last Saturday, I went to a party hosted by my husband’s coworker. No big deal, right? Except that the last BIG party I went to was in 2005, shortly after my father died. And the last time I went to a party hosted at THIS house, I was bitten by their miserable fear-biting mutt, badly enough that I should have had stitches and still have a scar on my right pinky.
So, 8 years since I’d been to a party with People I Don’t Know. 10 years since I’d been to The Dog Bite House. And I Did Not Want To Go.
Which is exactly why I did. The fear-biting mutt – who really couldn’t help himself in the first place – died a few months ago, so he couldn’t hurt me. The Husband’s other coworkers hadn’t met me, and I was SURE they thought I was his “Imaginary Wife.” Most important – I realized just how like my Mother I’m becoming in my anxiety and agorophobia, and That Must Stop.
As it turned out, only one of The Husband’s coworkers showed up. She is a delightful person and I wish I’d met her sooner. Her husband is a mellow, steady man much like my husband – just the energy I needed to be able to manage being around so many people. There was a dog there, but she is a mellow shy girl and I was comfortable with her in spite of her size. All of the other guests were friends and coworkers of the host’s wife – I told them upfront that I am very anxious in large groups of people, and while they were a boisterous bunch, each one of them was warm and welcoming and utterly willing to let me socialize or not at my own comfort level, without judgement. Nobody pressured me to drink, the herb cheese and pita chips I brought as an alternative to The Husband’s Salsa From Hell were well received, and I was able to enjoy myself just a little.
I’m not saying “Hallelujah, I’m Cured!” But I think maybe I won’t wait 8 years to go to another party.