Friday, December 10, 2010

Birthday surprise

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!


  1. It sounds like a wonderful evening and like you handled all of the challenges very well! K and M both sound like caring women.

  2. What a huge effort Lydia! I can imagine how exhausted that made you. You should be real proud of yourself! You sound like you have good women friends in your life. A true gift

  3. WOW Lydia! Look at you go! Your courage is incredible. So wonderful you felt welcomed and looked out for. Awesome advocating for yourself by calling ahead.

    Happy Birthday a couple of days late. I wish you a very good year.

    (And I never heard of a red lab)?