A Moment of Honesty: Things I've Somehow Managed to Avoid in my Early 20's

Being "socially awkward" isn't nearly as glamorous as Zooey Deschanel makes it seem. If you struggle with anxiety, you know this. Sometimes it's manageable and other times it transforms you into this sort of agoraphobic hermit. It's not fun but being someone who tries to see the glass as being half-full, I've gotta say that social anxiety has kept me out of a lot of compromising situations. I never had that buck wild "I'm going to tuck the bottom of my shirt through the collar like Britney Spears and drink this questionable liquid out of a red solo cup" phase that most experience in their late teens. Does that make me an uncultured loser? Maybe, but I wouldn't trade the vast wisdom I've gathered in my years as a recluse for anything. (Not even that GreekLife™ experience, however tempting it may be.) Here's my comprehensive list of things I've somehow managed to avoid in my early 20's:

  • A disheartening array of unflattering bridesmaid dresses: I've never been asked to be in anyone's wedding. Actually, I haven't even attended a wedding that I wasn't photographing since I was maybe 11 or 12 years old. It's alright though. Not having to buy weddings gifts has saved me thousands of dollars and also, the world isn't quite ready for my sweet dance moves. Even better, I've never had to make a toast. I'm aware that my chosen career path is going to involve a lot of talking in front of large groups of people, however, is there anything worse than having to make a heartfelt and often super corny speech about someone you care about in front of all of their friends and loved ones? Forget about the toast being good or not, I'd be worried about the inevitable ugly cry, which would undoubtedly be immortalized for future generations because, as a wedding photographer, I can admit that we eat that stuff up.
  • Crippling debt: I never actually "attended college" because my anxiety about leaving home and being among so many new people was terrifying. It worked out for me though. The lack of social interaction propelled me to be a successful self-starter. All of those Friday nights spent doing profit and loss statements really have paid off.
  • An honest to goodness pregnancy scare: Does this one really need explaining?
  • Line dances: I don't know if this is because of my general avoidance of large groups of jovial humans or the fact that I just think that line dances are really, really asinine. Jury is still out on that one.
  • A Mean Girls-style roast of my physical appearance: You know that scene where Regina, Gretchen, and Karen are standing in front of the mirror complaining about their pores, nail beds, cankles, etc.? Do girls actually do that? The thought of having girlfriends gave me serious agita in high school so the few friends I had were all dudes. (I know, I know-- that "girls are all terrible" is something that the patriarchy created to divide and conquer all women-type humans but I must interject and say that whoever came up with that theory clearly did not meet the girls I grew up with.)
  • Peer pressure: I went to a "party" once. Before leaving promptly at 10:30PM, I spent 90% of the time playing with a dog. A dog will never try to sell you drugs or slip something into your drink. In case you were wondering, the other 10% was spent nervously looking in the mirror because I had eaten a kale salad beforehand and was afraid to smile. (My lack of smiling was also a pretty great person-deterrent, for future reference.)
  • First Date Small Talk: Actually, nobody has ever been lucky enough to escape this one. If you've figured it out, please let me know.
I know, it's kind of a silly list but do you ever need to use ridiculous things like this to cheer yourself up? We all have. Let's talk about it.

xo,
e.m.

8 comments

  1. I love love love love this list. Thanks. I've struggled with social anxiety and trying to stay out of the "typical" 22 y/o stuff. It seems like everyone around me is constantly partying (and while that's o.k. if they do that, it's not for me!) I've felt guilty for it, too. A LOT! Anyways, I'm rambling. Like I said, love this.

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    1. Thank you! It seems like people like us are few and far between so it's easy to become disconnected. I didn't realize how many other people had these "issues" until I posted this and now I feel like I'm surrounded by family.

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  2. Love this. We could have been best friends in highschool...and gosh can I relate.

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  3. i think we're actually soulmates.

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  4. I definitely relate to a lot of this. I never partied much or did the girly things. I spent most of my friday nights in high school hanging with my guys friend or drawing and teaching my self photoshop. Now I get to do a my dream job without having earned a degree. I think it's definitely taught us to be self dependent and driven. I'm so glad you posted this! :-)

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    1. Same here! It's so good to hear. Any time, I'm hoping to start posting more things like this if for nothing else than just a laugh or two :)

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