Sunday, July 17, 2016


I spent my Saturday with a group of people whom I'd only met the evening prior, plus one I've known a few months. We went rafting, something I'd never done before, and then out in the evening for dinner and drinks. I tied one on, for sure. I am a pretty social person, not shy really, but in the company of all new people, drinking definitely amplifies my ability to relax and just have fun. I drank a fair amount more than normal, but I was in good company, nothing got out of hand, and I'm pretty sure I good time was had by all.

It's a double edged sword, however. As I lay awake listening to the birds outside and quietly waiting for the others to wake, I replayed the night in my head. I recounted all the side conversations and noteworthy moments, analyzing my behavior, my choice of words, wondering what kind of impression I'd given these new acquaintances. Was I too loud? Was I obnoxious? Did I embarrass the person who invited me? What must they think of me, getting completely drunk the first weekend they meet me, they probably think I have a problem.

I think this is partially normal hangover stuff. Maybe.. I don't know if the delayed social anxiety kicks in with everyone else's hangovers. I think it's also a product of various times I'd been shamed and chastised after a night of drinking, my then husband telling me I'd embarrassed him at the family dinner with his cousin from out of town, but not remembering anything of the sort. It's not that I blacked out.. I didn't. I just remembered the night differently. I remembered everyone having a great time, and getting along wonderfully with his cousin's wife, everyone laughing and enjoying themselves. He ended up getting into a debate with another member of the group about something like whether garbage is public or private property. I asked someone who was there if I'd acted out of character or done anything obnoxious, and to please be honest. She insisted I hadn't and thought it strange that he'd suggest that. Other times we'd be out at a bar and I'd end up having a conversation with someone that seemed to me to go well, and he'd later tell me I'd made a fool of myself. Little instances of gaslighting that I hardly thought anything of.

I caught myself this morning along that line of thinking. Enough times being told I'd been behaving poorly when I remembered doing nothing of the sort got filed somewhere under ways to berate myself in my psyche. Even if you think and remember everything went fine, it probably didn't and everyone probably thinks you're the worst. I recognized this morning, though, that the criticisms in my head were in his voice. It didn't necessarily make all the shitty feelings go away, but it took away some of their power and allowed a foothold for the pro-me side of my internal debate.

I inquired in an attempt to not sound insecure or like someone with a problem would sound asking if I'd been an embarrassment. I tried not to think that the answer (no) was out of politeness. I reminded myself that everyone was right there with me drinking and socializing. I told myself that if these people had a problem with what I remembered to be perfectly reasonable behavior, then maybe they're not my people. I had fun, and all is well.

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