I haven’t really been writing too much about my personal life for a variety of reasons, but I’m jumping back into the personal stuff now — at least for today.
It’s been pretty well documented that I am, despite the way I act and what I do for a living, a very shy person. For example, it’s still hard for me to ride in the car with someone alone. Even someone I am very, very close to. Weird, I know. Another manifestation of that shyness: I’ve never been able to share a room with someone who isn’t a family member.
This weekend my Brownie troop went away for the weekend. Amazingly, 14 out of 16 girls and their moms made the trek from Long Island up to Woodloch Pines. Almost everyone shared rooms. One room actually had three moms and three girls. I was one of only four moms who dragged along their husband and other kids. While I invited my husband because we really love Woodloch and were getting an amazing Girl Scout rate, the real reason he came along was because I was too afraid to ask any of the moms and kids to room with us.
It’s pretty silly, I know. We’ve been in a troop with these kids and moms for four years. I consider myself very friendly with almost all of them. It’s a great troop. Everyone is involved, sweet, and nice. And yet I couldn’t work up the courage to ask one of the other mom/daughter couples to be our roommates. The part that bothers me the most is that I deprived Big Girl of a really fun, really exciting experience: Doing a sleepover with a child her age.
There’s nothing I can do to fix the situation now. I know that. We went on our trip, we had a good time, and we came home. It’s over. But the experience has made me realize that maybe I still struggle with the image of Karen the Weird. The kid who got made fun of. The kid who no one wanted to be friends with. That kid is so far gone. The person who took her place is a successful, smart, friendly, well-liked individual. Someone who has friends who would drop anything to help her. Someone who people can’t believe is in any way shy. Knowing all that, why does the behavior of the 13-year-old awkward Karen still sneak in sometimes? Why can’t I make it — and her — go away completely?
Just before I left for Woodloch, one of my game night friends (one of three very dear-to-me girls) sent out an email with the following subject line: Overnight Girls’ Getaway. She wanted to know if we were interested in doing an overnight trip without our guys. (A good idea since they all go away without the girls twice each year: Skiing in the winter and a boating Fire Island trip every August.) Already feeling bad about my Woodloch roommate situation, I said I would love to go, adding, “We can do the quadruple occupancy and all stay together.”
One of my friends wrote back: “Karen, you would share a room? I thought you don’t like to?”
I told them that yes, I would share a room and I meant it. Sure, maybe it will make me uncomfortable at first, but I have to give it a try. I have to get over this silly fear and let myself have fun. Will it be hard? Probably at first, but it’s time to put my childhood behind me for good.