After a wonderful trip for ice cream with friends, a visit to Mom's office, and a pot roast sandwich at Eat n Park, I headed home so that L could pick me up and we could go to the party (my Esther Bible study was showing One Night with the King at the leader's house). I was freaking out, texting about how nervous I was, when L texted me to say that she was really sick and just couldn't make it. I wasn't at all mad at her, but I started to bawl, because, well, I don't handle changes in plans well.
I had about a half hour to decide if I would still go. The answer seemed obvious. Go to a new place, at night, in the dark, all by myself, with no one even to meet there? I've been studying with these women for months, but I really only know H and L (who wouldn't be there) and the two women in charge (K amd M), a little.
But it was my birthday. I'm 23 now. I don't want social anxiety and autism to get the best of me all the time like it awlays has. Granted, this would be a huge step, because I don't go anywhere besides the church and the library without someone to keep an eye out for me. This would be the first time I truly flew solo maybe... ever?
So I called K, the women whose house the party was at. I asked if she had a pet, kids, or a spare room to escape to. She had all 3. K knows that I have autism and knows a little bit about what I deal with, so when I explained that I typically don't do parties, and never by myself, that this would be really unusual if I came... she said that she had some birthday things for me and would love it if I went, but understood if it was too much.
So I went.
I got here 15 minutes early. I can't walk into rooms full of people, so I get everywhere I go significantly early, and I think people are used to it. As L said, "I noticed that!" K introduced me to her dog, Ruby (a red lab!) and her kids, who are beyond sweet. I hung out downstairs with the dog while people filtered in. When I did go upstairs, I kind of wandered around by myself and didn't talk to people. There was over an hour of free time before the movie started. Finally, a woman who I actually ran into at Dr. J's office a few weeks ago after Bible study (she was there for her sons who have ADHD) came over and started to talk to me. While I can't approach people to talk to them, I'm just fine when people come over to me to talk... sometimes, maybe even a little too friendly.
So I talked for 10 minutes, which was good, for me. K gave me a birthday gift and said she had a birthday cake for me, which was so sweet. She asked if I wanted everyone to sing to me, and I said please no! I hate to be sung to, even by family.
I left around 9:15, an hour before the movie was over, but I was pretty tired. K and M saw me out and said that they were so impressed that I came. I like that they get it and understood how difficult it was. M really kept an eye on me and made sure I was alright. I emailed them both, thanking them for being so accommodating and helpful. I'm honestly kind of proud of myself for facing such a big fear. I can't say that I'll attend Bible study (80 women as opposed to last night's maybe 12) without someone, but it's a big step in the right direction for being 23!