Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I Really Hate About This Time of Year

Parties! I am not, never have been, a party animal. I was a terribly shy child. I learned at sometime to act as if I wasn't but it was hard work. Alcohol in my youth helped me fake it more easily but after giving up that crutch I find large groups terrifying unless I am behind the podium or on the stage. In short in order to deal with large groups, containing friends or strangers, I must have a defined purpose: Speech, role, agenda, photographer,  my art. Parties are work for me; not fun.

And since my CBT nine years ago, large parties are exhausting. And I don't mean just wiped out the next day but maybe a whole week. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy small affairs. Petite little groupings of 8 to 10 people whom I mostly know, but even those I like sparingly. The trouble with the Christmas holiday season is there are too many of those even to honor them all. And too many people decide to erase all their obligations for the year with one huge party.

I have pretended to be out of town but this causes issues with the one or two little dinners I want to attend. I have tried saying I don't like driving in the dark and hostesses have even arranged rides for me with other guests. Most of my long standing friends know me and will extend provisional invitations giving me the number of friends I might know to make me more comfortable, but totally aware that if I don't show up it has nothing to do with our friendship. But I do make new friends and getting them to understand I probably won't be at their grand affair is not easy.  They have seen me perform at a gallery reception and don't understand how exhausting it is so the truth seldom works. But why should I have to bare my soul anyway? Why doesn't, "sorry, I cannot make it" work without bruising their feelings? It is nothing to do with the host or hostess but with me. I don't like to party!

When I have to give a party they are open house affairs so people can come and go and not create a panic attack because of my people claustrophobia or I have a couple or two over for dinner. But even those small sorties into entertainment require a lot of downtime for me before and after. I like my solitude or my friends individually or small packs. I would not make a good elk. I fear herds.

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