Meetup Fear and Surprise

Laughing our butts off because of a very bad photo, which you'll see at the end of the post.
Laughing our butts off because of a very bad photo, which you’ll see at the end of the post.

The Meetup on Saturday, June 29th at MVM Co-op was a big challenge for me. I really don’t like throwing parties because I assume that if people don’t show up, it’s because of me and not because they have lives or are out of town or are generally preoccupied with other important things. In my mind, they either want to hang out with me or they don’t. It’s basically a mode of thinking that dooms me to distress and unhappiness every single time. This was a big lesson in reframing and managing my expectations. What I wanted was a get together that was packed with people. What I got was 5 folks hanging out, laughing, and having a good time. Y’know what? It was pretty great. It’s not what I went into it wanting but I really had a good time and I very honestly don’t wish it had been different. It was absolutely wonderful the way it was and we all had a great time.

I still feel twinges of shame when people ask how it went because I assume they’ll pity me if I say that there were only 5 of us there but I have to remember that what they think about it isn’t my business. It was a really special two hours and I got to connect with people in a different way. The whole experience was positive and while initially I was going “Oh god, I’ve failed at throwing a party!” I had a good time and I think I’m going to throw another one. I never in my craziest dreams thought that I would feel that way. I imagined that I would get done throwing the gathering and feel relieved that I never had to do something like that again but it was genuinely good fun and makes me want to throw more gatherings. I also think that my stress about it was totally out of proportion to the actual stress of the event itself.

For me personally, Scare Yourself Summer has an element of proving to myself that I don’t need to spend as much energy on fear as I do. I didn’t need to be so stressed out and afraid of the Meetup. It went well and we all laughed, snacked, and shared. I’m very much hoping that I can build a pattern of fear soothing up so the next time I react with fear I can remind myself “Remember how afraid you were of doing that? It wasn’t actually that scary in the end, was it? Maybe relax a little. It’ll be completely fine.” It takes work to change patterns you’ve put into place but I spend so much energy on fear and anxiety that the work of changing those patterns is a huge investment in my own happiness. I’m so glad that I threw this Meetup and that we had the good time we did. I’m ready to throw another one!

We asked a sweet guy to take our picture and this is what we got. We didn't ask him to take another because in our own weird way, we were happy with this one. It wasn't perfect but it gave us a lot of laughs and joy which meant a lot more than a perfect photo. I <3 this photo.
We asked a sweet guy to take our picture and this is what we got. We didn’t ask him to take another because in our own weird way, we were happy with this one. It wasn’t perfect but it gave us a lot of laughs and joy which meant a lot more than a perfect photo.
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About meganbob

Megan McKinney is happy to be living this big fear conquering adventure with Nora and Jamie. She's 27, teaches writing at DACC, and lives with her wonderful boyfriend and her awesome younger brother. When she isn't doing flying kicks into the face of fear she can usually be found sleeping or trying to plan when next she can do yoga or something fun with her friends. She also likes to try and stomach her way through watching Game of Thrones.

2 thoughts on “Meetup Fear and Surprise

  1. I love the insights in your last paragraph–fear takes energy! and it doesn’t produce anything; it stifles! I say keep stamping out twinges of shame, and glory in the fact that you put yourself out there!

    Perhaps the best thing about sports for my daughters (I’m not athletic at all, as you know) was that they learned to feel in their gut how intrinsically beneficial EFFORT is, although it doesn’t always produce the desired result. Losing a game can be heartbreaking (I almost broke Dave’s fingers during one city league basketball tournament final where Sam was at the free throw line one point behind with 5 seconds to go!), but even when you lose, you can feel and look back on what you DID achieve compared to if you hadn’t tried!

    Would Sam be any less successful now if she hadn’t sunk those free throws? I don’t think so. In fact, I have a cousin whose team lost after he missed free throws in the last seconds of the TEXAS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (1980?), and he’s a Wells Fargo bank vice president of some kind with a mansion near San Francisco.

    Although I’m sure an overemphasis on winning and competitiveness in sports can be devastating, it seems like participating in sports can ingrain that success and confidence come with practice. I missed out on that experience. Instead, I have the inner conviction that I’m ‘naturally’ good at some things and incapable of doing others. I will be looking for other ways of countering that belief, instead of letting it be a self-fulfilling prophecy!

  2. So true! Not achieving the ‘biggest’ success doesn’t negate every other success. It’s good to remember that.

    Way to go you for working on countering those beliefs! Those beliefs are powerful and dismantling them is deeply satisfying.

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