Myers-Briggs tells me that I am almost 100% an extrovert. I recharge from connecting with people. If it wasn’t so terribly cheesy, I would just say “I’m a people person.” I believe this to be true about me. But also? I am terrified of people.
Can both be true?
In 1991, I was two weeks into my first college semester at a gigantic school a million kilometers (fn 1) from my all-girls Catholic high school. A vivacious, fun-loving group of girls invited me road trip with them to New Orleans. I wanted to say yes, but I just couldn’t. The fear was too big; it was too soon. I didn’t know them. They were from Houston, of all scary places. I gave a lame excuse about writing a paper, though I didn’t mention that it wasn’t due for almost a month.
For years, I have wondered about that particular No. I’m sure it wouldn’t have changed my life to say Yes at that moment, but I feel a twinge of regret that I was so riddled with fear. I am sure I acted (and really was) excited when the idea was presented to me, but still I said No.
Now it’s 2012, and I feel exactly like my college-freshman self. I want to say yes to an invitation to do yoga on Tuesdays with some moms at Sadie’s new school. It’s yoga, for God’s sakes, not a trip to the most humid and naughty city in the American south. I love yoga and have said OUTLOUD that I want to fit it into my life.
But, I don’t know these people. Doesn’t it seem intimate to do downward dog in front of women I don’t know? I have a list of reservations that boggles the mind: Will my ratty Old Navy yoga clothes be good enough? What if I get crotch sweat during class? What if I can’t do the poses? What if I am the best at the poses (fn 2)? What if I want to drop out? What if I want to spend a Tuesday holding Simon while he naps or finishing The Pale King? What if I am too bloated for yoga? What if I forget to put in a tampon before class? What if I fart?
I could go on, but you get the picture.
I want to say yes and stop the fretting over this commitment. My heart feels so panicky, and there’s no convincing me this isn’t a situation fraught with D-A-N-G-E-R. Do I think one of them is going to slip a roofie in my water and take advantage of me? Steal my liver and roll it up in a yoga mat to sell on Ebay?
It’s yoga. It’s Tuesday afternoons.
Why can’t I just say yes and be excited?
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FN 1: How pretentious is it to use the metric system when you are sitting in Chicago?
FN 2: No one likes the person who is the best– she will be mistrusted and judged. (But I don’t want to be the worst either.) Also, have I totally missed the point of yoga? (Yes.)