Y’all best quit reading right now because I’m whipping open the self-inflicted therapy session up in this here Whitney joint. It will most likely be pathetic, bore people to tears, and I’ll probably get the stupid violin out and play it for most of this here post. I warned you… no suing the messenger! I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to post about this publicly… and the heck to the no almost won out, but then I got to thinking that this blog was initially meant to be a public therapy session and even though lately it’s turned into a conglomeration of idiocy and silliness, at it’s core… it’s still a therapeutic blog for me and me alone. That, and I’m sure there are people out there in readerville having the same kind of issues… so maybe my public therapy will in some way be helpful to someone else.
I’m afraid of teenagers… in general. I’m afraid to be around them, I’m afraid to walk past them, and I’m definitely afraid to talk in front of them. In my mind they are equal to the boogeyman of my youth or being face to face with a hungry cannibal… okay, maybe that last example was a way over exaggeration, but you get the point. I am going to preface this by saying the majority of teenagers in my youth were very kind to me. I had some super sweet friends, so to lump all teenagery people into one big bowl of stereotype is really unfair. But, it’s like they say… one bad apple spoils the bunch. While most of my childhood consisted of nice people, there were always those few who insisted on making my life miserable… by mooing and oinking when I’d walk past or shouting some smart alecky, nonfunny remark regarding how much I weighed. And that was always the most humiliating thing in the world for me… especially in front of a group of friends or people I knew… because I did not want people to pity me… ever… that was like the worst possible thing for me. That, and being perceived as not normal and judged because I was fat. The biggest culprits were always teenagers… and I know it’s because they also have self esteem issues and are trying to sort out who they are and they want to be accepted by their group of peers. Some of you may have seen the video going around on the internet of the sweet bus monitor who was being called names and made fun of to her face by a gaggle of teenage boys for 10 excruciating minutes of video. She handled herself so well and yet I cried for her and I pitied her and I could put myself in her shoes because I had been there… not to the extent that she had because I could remove myself from the situation… but along the same lines. I could get really long-winded in this post… so I’m going to move on to the reason I even brought it up to begin with.
A few weeks back I was asked by a lady who I don’t know and who doesn’t know me if I would sing and speak at a youth conference. My first gut reaction was HELL NO!!!!!!!!! And I did tell her no. But, she didn’t accept that answer and called me back telling me that she’d prayed about it and had a strong feeling that I needed to speak and sing at her youth conference. I said no again… and she closed the phone call saying I should think about it. Persistent is her name… but not really. I eventually gave in and agreed I would do it but only if I wouldn’t have to speak… I would just sing a song and hightail my butt out of there. She seemed reluctant to give into that request, but went along with it anyway… sure that she had 2 weeks to talk me into the other part of it.
I ain’t going to lie. I dreaded the day… all the way up to it. It was this past Friday night and I was literally making myself sick with anxiety. It was a wayyyyy overreaction, but at the same time I was going to have to do something I had purposely tried to avoid my whole life. Open myself up to these teenagers… put myself out there to be judged and gawked at. It was a scary thought for me. I’ve sung oodles of times in front of audiences… singing is not a problem for me… speaking is. I had written what I wanted to say… and I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to say it right up until the last second. On the actual night, my nerves did get the better of me when speaking just like they always did. I stumbled through my speech, losing my place on the page several times and visibly shaking. The singing went haywire when my microphone wouldn’t work and I had to start over 2 times and eventually just sing microphone-less. By the time it was over and I was in the car I felt gutted. I’d ripped open my insides, laid them out for all to see and to judge and to pick at, and I felt so vulnerable and bare nekked. I wanted to take it back… make it unhappen. Run back to that group of teenagery people, gather up all my vital organs, and shove them back inside… never to be released again. I hated those feelings… and so I reverted back to my way of dealing with emotions of yore… and I ate them away. Shoved them down into my toes… because numb is better than feeling. And I was mad… she had received inspiration that I was supposed to be there and things turned out like this? I had envisioned that there would be a couple of overweight teenagers amongst the group and those were the ones I was supposed to be there for. But I had much opportunity to scan the group and all of them were skinny as rails.
I’m in a better frame of mind tonight. I took back my eating by planning my meals for this week and cooking them up tonight. I also kicked butt by tackling the leaning tower of clothes in the rocking chair in my room. I guess it was good for me to step outside my comfort zone… I didn’t feel that way after the fact… at all… but I do believe that somewhere down the road this experience will have made me stronger. I don’t have any intention on saying yes to anymore youth conference gigs… for a good long time… and I keep consoling myself with the fact that I will never see these kids again. They will thank me later!