This has nothing at all to do with being gay or coming out or my fancy rainbow hair for Pride Month.
I just want to tell you a fun little story about the social anxiety few people believe I have.
I'm in Pennsylvania for the summer and had to get a prescription refilled. Since my refill was at a pharmacy in Utah, this involved three phone calls because I didn't know the process. I hate making phone calls, but I put on my big girl pants and did it. Today I realized that the prescription I picked up a couple days ago was wrong (don't panic, anyone. It's just birth control. I'm not dying. "But why does a lesbian need birth control?" *eyeroll* BECAUSE IT DOES MORE THINGS THAN JUST PREVENT PREGNANCY! GO TAKE YOUR VIAGRA WHICH IS ACTUALLY A HEART MEDICATION AND LEAVE ME ALONE! *ahem* Because when I don't take it, I bleed all the damn time. 3+ weeks out of the month. Aren't you glad you asked?)
I digress...it was not a serious mistake, but after consulting a friend, I decided it was best to go have them fix it. To give you an idea of the lengths to which I will go to avoid confrontation/talking to strangers: if I hadn't also needed to buy tissues and batteries, and so needed to go to the store anyway, I probably would have taken the wrong pills and not worried too much about it. But, I did need tissues, so I literally put on pants this time, went to the Wal-Mart pharmacy (don't judge), and explained to the pharmacy tech what had happened. As expected, he told me that the pharmacy in Utah had sent the wrong information. He went to talk to the pharmacist. I waited and ran through all the possible ways this could go horribly wrong in my head, causing my anxiety to increase. I was about to be up to having to talk to two strangers and maybe a phone call. Best case, they said, "no worries" and handed me the correct pills. Worst case, they came back and said I had to call the pharmacy in Utah to fix it. Another phone call. More strangers.
The pharmacist was very nice to me. She said they'd need to contact the pharmacy in Utah, but they didn't open until noon PA time, so they'd give me a call when they'd sorted it out. This was a totally acceptable resolution. Everyone was nice to me and sympathetic. No one yelled or got upset. This was a perfectly normal interaction between humans and probably you're all nodding along thinking "yeah, that went as expected. Why are you telling us this?"
I'm telling you this completely boring story about a completely innocuous interaction because as I walked away from the pharmacy counter, I nearly burst into tears. That situation, which went about as well as could be expected, was so stressful for me that I wanted to cry. That I actually felt tears welling up and did an extra lap around the women's clothing to calm down before I went in search of tissues.
Here's the thing, I'm a friendly human with rainbow hair. Strangers talk to me. Sometimes little kids openly stare and I think that's adorable. I smile and am generally polite. Sometimes even funny. And if the entire conversation goes something like, "I love your hair." "Thanks!" "I'm not brave enough to do that to my hair." "You should do it! It's just hair! Go for it!" and then you go away, everything is fine and dandy. I can charm the socks off a cashier or waitstaff because those interactions are brief and have a defined end. I'm really great at those. If you stay past my 45 seconds of charming, I run out of words, become increasingly uncomfortable, and stop making eye contact. You are now completely in charge of any further conversation and my participation level decreases the longer you stay. I have used up all of my social-ness and do not know how to proceed and am now silently willing you to leave.
But! You're so well spoken! And friendly! And you're not like that around me! You love people!
Yes. These are all true things. Because, probably, you are my friend, and I don't have the same anxiety around my friends. I totally understand why no one believes that I'm an introvert. I'm loud, laugh easily, like to tease my friends, and those 45 seconds of charming are *very* convincing. (Because what if the cute waitress actually IS flirting with me? It would be rude not to flirt back, right?) But if you are one of those blessed extroverts that I so enjoy and surround myself with, and you see a stranger approach me and they stay past "I love your hair", please, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, come to my rescue. I'm about to be out of words.