Let me tell you a little bit about my life: it’s lame.
Let’s imagine me, an introvert who minds her own business and doesn’t like to be social a whole lot. I like conversing with friends and close family, but prefer not to explain my life story to every person in the world.
Now let’s imagine an introvert’s nightmare: family reunions.
Once upon a time, I traveled 3.5 hours to go to a mission farewell for my cousin. All this is fine, of course, except for the fact that I had to talk to a lot of extended family that I only see once a year.
Of course I tried to chat, but it always ended up awkward. Always.
Now let’s continue the story. Bothered by the fact that my mother thinks I have social anxiety (no, I’m not afraid of talking to people, I just prefer not to), I decided to step out of my comfort zone and eat lunch with my fellow peers.
So yes, I bring my paper plate out to the deck where a freezing cold wind is rushing past my shivering arms and I sit with the cousins… because they love sitting in 50-degree weather on damp lawn chairs.
I sit awkwardly, casually gulping down rice krispie treats as I listen to the conversations going around. I occasionally speak up, adding to the noise and invoking some laughter. All is good. I don’t have social anxiety.
And I thought I could get away with being normal.
Just as I was starting to actually enjoy the conversation, I raise my strawberry lemonade to my lips. As I sip, I laugh from one of my cousin’s remarks….and I begin to choke.
I start to cough, my throat closes up and I can’t breathe. I cough and cough and cough until water comes to my eyes. I try to act like it’s okay, but I can’t breathe. I really can’t breathe.
I take another sip to try to stop the coughing, but the demonic punch worsens my condition. My peers, who once respected me, begin to question my appearance. Did I need help? Why was I choking?
I continue to cough and hide my face in shame, mascara running down my cheeks. I finally am able to take a deep breath and stop the coughing, only to start back up again.
Finally the coughing stops, but it’s too late. My face was red, pink punch ran down my dress, and my eyelashes were wet with tears. As rain began to hit my cheeks, I ran from my peers (who began to ignore me as it took forever to stop coughing) and went inside, wiping smeared makeup away from my face.
I spent the rest of the social gathering sitting on the couch by my mother, too embarrassed to talk with my cousins any longer.
Perhaps destiny chooses to prevent me from socializing without making a fool of myself, or maybe it is my own self-will forcing awkwardness upon me. Either way, this is a daily part of the life of Charlotte Emelia.
Do you understand the pain I went through? Share a story or two to make me feel better.