Plus side: meetings are a safe space. Minus side: I’m still an introvert.
This makes being in a meeting surrounded by 50 to 100 strangers who all know my story (or they lived their version of my story) overwhelming as all get out. Some of the people I see at this meeting, that meeting, or the other meeting are familiar with me clinging to them because I am so uncomfortable and feel so cornered.
And, again, I am so grateful for them creating that safe space.
But I still leave meetings exhausted and feeling a whole lot of feels because of being surrounded by so many people, particularly people I don’t know. I remember what it was like when I left the first meeting I went to for me. I was terrified and feeling cornered and surrounded by dozens of people I didn’t know, but who acted like they knew me.
Since that first meeting for me I’ve felt so much support. I’ve had so many people who’ve unequivocally been like, “Hey, here’s my number. Get in touch if you need anything.” Sometimes (okay, many times) this isn’t as overwhelming as it used to be. Yes, sometimes being an introvert in a meeting is overwhelming. Sometimes I go home, play hidden object games, listen to Netflix and nap like a champ, but the important thing is I got out of bed in the first place. I left the house in the first place. I real talked with real people face to face.
I’m trying to convince myself that’s enough. It’s what I would tell a friend and loved one is a heck of a good start. It still hurts, it’s still terrifying, still exhausting, but I did it. Someday that’ll be enough for me for me.