Sunday, May 6, 2012

Stepping Out

It's not that I don't want to leave the house, I do. But sometimes, I just CAN'T. I usually don't have a problem if someone goes with me, but going into an unknown situation by myself, is really not doable. I have missed out on so many things in my life, because when it came down to time to go, I couldn't leave. I have been asked by acquaintances to meet for lunch, or play dates for children, etc., in what would and should be a furtherance of a budding friendship, but I just go ahead and make an excuse. I used to say yes, excitedly, that I was asked to do something outside of work or school. Eventually, I learned to just say no from the beginning because I would end up canceling at the last minute. The acquaintance finally learns that I am not going to take them up on any of the activities that they invite me to do. There goes the budding friendship. They just quit asking and eventually quit trying to be my friend.

Sometimes, I feel deeply connected to someone, for some unknown reason, and I will do my very best to support them in their endeavors or make myself participate in an activity to further the friendship. This weekend, I had one such event. 

I have a friend at work, whom I have been getting to know through work and Facebook. I comment on her posts or pictures frequently, and she does the same. We talk a lot at work and I have really grown to love and respect her. She is such a beautiful and classy woman. Someone that I personally am trying to model myself after. I do not have many girl friends, especially ones that are girly and classy like her. But she is not one of those fake, shallow type women. She is real. 

I was excited to find out several months ago that she is pregnant. She started telling me about the baby shower that her friends were going to throw her. She was really excited about it and would bring in things to show me, like pictures of the color scheme they were going to use for decorations. I didn't really think much about it beforehand, but I never would have thought that she would invite me, because it was her personal shower for friends and family and we are just "work friends."  One day, she showed me the invitation and told me she is getting them ready and she is going to give me one. I was secretly thrilled. She is just one of those people, in my mind, that is on a pedestal, and you want to be better friends with them, but you know you will never be cool enough. Like the popular kids in school. 

When I saw the invitation sitting on my desk the next Monday morning, I felt a shiver of fear. Would I be able to go? 

I asked my friend if men were going to be there, so my boyfriend could come with me. She said he was welcome to come, but there wouldn't be many men there except for hers. I tried to get my sister to go with me, but she wasn't feeling well. If I was going to do this, I'd have to do it on my own.
The day before the shower arrived, I was feeling really nervous. I worked tediously on my gift to her: a basket of assorted things, tied up with pretty, curled ribbon and covered with one of those cellophane bags. I wanted to make it beautiful and special for her.

I usually never fix myself up, unless I'm going somewhere special, for several reasons. I get so hot and terribly sweaty. It is like my body cannot regulate temperatures. I never blow dry my hair because I can't stand the noise or the heat and it's bad for your hair. Since my hair is like my security blanket, I do everything I can to keep it healthy and soft. Today, however, I dried my hair, curled it a little (this is a big to-do in our house), and I had to sit unclothed in front of a fan to cool off so I could hope to get some makeup on my face. By the time I cooled off enough, and slapped the makeup on, I had to throw my dress on and rush out the door. 

I did not mention that my friend is very stylish. I, however, am not. I told her that she needed to come and be my personal stylist because I just am clueless. It is strange, though, because I can look at others and tell whether what they have on is stylish or not. I usually just throw something on, anything that's half way clean really.

I tried, I really tried, to look great on my friend's special day. I knew all her stylish friends would be there and if I looked frumpy, they would all look at her like, who is this frumpy girl that you have invited to our inner circle event? I wore a long, brown beautiful dress that I have never been able to wear before. Unfortunately, I didn't have shoes that really looked OK with it, so I just had to wear some stupid sandals. 

I had to speed in the car to get there on time. I was so worried that I would be the last one in and all these beautiful people would turn to look at me, the frumpy girl, and wonder if I've walked into the wrong room. To beat all, I really had no clue where the shower was and I totally forgot the invitation and to Google Map the directions. Thankfully, I asked her on Friday to give me a roundabout idea of where it was. I was doing my best not to panic on the way there.

I arrived a few minutes late, unable to find a spot in the parking garage. I was on the lookout for anyone who looked like they might be heading to the same party so I could tag along with them. Once I finally found a spot in the very back, darkest part of the garage and walked to the elevator, I was out of breath and sweaty. My makeup was not going to be pretty by the time I got there.

Thankfully, I found a couple of ladies on the elevator whom I could walk with. They made me feel uncomfortable, like I didn't belong, but whether that was them or me, I really couldn't say. 

When we walked into the event room where the shower was being held, I definitely felt out of place. There were maybe 25 tables with 4 seats each. Many of them were already filled with black ladies. I was the only white woman there. I looked around hoping that I would see someone that I knew. Nobody. I quietly put down my gifts and sat by myself at a table. I felt like they must have been wondering who is this white girl and why is she here! 

Thankfully, someone that my friend and I used to work with came in and asked me to join her table. One lady at the table, used to work with us, but I never met her before she quit. The other lady, none of us knew, but she was a joy. 

I just want to say that I do not state the fact that all these ladies are black for any negative reason, except to allow the reader to feel my own discomfort at being the only white person. The fact cannot be denied that there is still racism alive in the world, and I didn't know who of these ladies may be racist towards me encroaching on their time together.

As I sat at this little table with these four ladies, I had the best time that I have had in a very long time. I was so blessed to be a part of this special event. I really felt more at home there than I have in many, many social outings. It was joyous to talk to other mothers about the joys of motherhood, breastfeeding and pregnancy. I felt overwhelmed at being welcomed into the inner circle of my friend's friends and family. I was absolutely the only person that currently works with my friend that she invited to her shower. I felt really honored because of that. 

As I left, my feet did not touch the ground. I was floating on air. The laughter and joy I shared with about 40 black women that day brought me back to life. I thank God for my friend and for these ladies. I am proud of myself for stepping out and I hope that I will continue to grow and get better. I have more life to live!


  1. Hooray! Good job. I know exactly how you feel. Last year I attended a baby shower at the home of the sister of somebody I worked with. I really wanted to go but I really didn't want to go. I drank too much before hand and showed up late and bright red. I brought wine with me and shared it, we ended up having fun. I'm still traumatized yet proud of myself.The little one is turning 1 next month,I wonder if I'll be invited to the birthday soiree?

  2. Thank you, Penny. I am very proud that i was able to handle it fairly well by myself with no panic attacks! I'm glad that your shower went better than expected too! Sometimes it's the little things!