Struggles of an Introvert Part 3

Last night, I was blessedly called off my second shift of the day at work. At first, I  reveled in the idea of getting home, finally watching my Netflix that had come, and just chilling out all night. But then I saw that what is normally the opening night party for my alma mater’s first show of the season would be following last night’s show instead. Usually, this “party” consists of a bunch of theatre people standing around eating chips and shrimp and drinking soda. I love opening night parties, so I decided to go.

The show was great and I got to see a bunch of people I haven’t seen in awhile, so that was awesome. A new theatre classroom/rehearsal space was built over the summer, so instead of having the party in the tiny theatre lobby, the party was moved to that space. I didn’t think much of this; it was smart to move the party to a bigger room. I waited for Jess to close up the theatre and then she and I and our friend Sara went over to the party… which was not the usual low-key, low-pressure gathering, but a dance.

I hate dances. I have always hated dances. I went to one in sixth grade and one at another point in my middle school career and had such an awful time at both that I never went to another dance until my senior prom. The middle school experiences consisted mostly of a lot of tears and feeling out of place and overwhelmed, and I’ve always chalked that up to the fact that I was never asked to dance. I had a great time at senior prom, so I always thought I had grown out of whatever the problem was.

But then there was last night. I felt like I was back in middle school again. The flashing lights and the music were sensory overload, and people were dancing. I have an extreme fear of public dancing, mostly because I don’t understand how to do it. How do people know what to do? All of my friends kept saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing either,” but everyone always looks like they’re doing the same thing and they’re all totally comfortable. Also, they all seem to like pop music.  I, on the other hand, kept myself pressed into the darkest corner I could find. While part of me wanted to join my friends, most of me knew that if I got out there, I would have no idea what I was supposed to do. The few times I was pulled out onto the dance floor, I just stood there, feeling stupid.

It seems to be happening constantly lately that I feel uncool and behind everyone else, but maybe that’s because it’s the first time in a really really long time that I’ve put myself in social situations like this. And now I know why. It sounds dramatic, but things like dances really stress me out. I want to have fun, but I can’t seem to figure out how to, which makes me feel like more of an outcast and confused as to why I can’t be like everyone else, and all of this stuff makes me cry. I managed to not actually have tears fall down my face as I stood in my corner, but I was definitely tearing up. This, of course, made me feel stupid. What twenty-two year-old cries at a dance? But the situation was just miserable for me and I could tell my friends (who did not see me crying, as far as I know) didn’t know what to do about me.

The dance only lasted about an hour, thank God. I needed to get out of there, but the whole point of my staying as long as I had was to say goodbye to my friends. After I did that, I walked to my car and burst into tears as soon as I was far enough away. I don’t know if I’ll ever know why I’m so weird, why everyone in high school was so jazzed about the homecoming dance while it sounded like my idea of hell. Thankfully, now that I’m out of all forms of school, dances are pretty much a torture of the past. But I could tell that my friends were confused and annoyed by my behavior, to the point where I apologized to a few of them, saying that I hadn’t meant to be a party pooper; dances just freak me out. Hopefully none of us will be put in that position again.


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