Monday, October 08, 2007

Anticipatory Anxiety

Although I haven’t mentioned it here, I’m beyond thrilled to have an out from my company Christmas Party this year. The ordinary person may think I’m insane to dodge a free trip to Vegas and a stay at the Wynn, but frankly, I live in a town where gambling and prostitution are legal (which takes all the fun out of Vegas), and I like my house more than my coworkers.

There’s just one problem, I traded my soul to the devil to get out of the event. This year, instead of attending the Christmas Party, Rey and I will host thirty members of his ridiculously large family for a graduation party in his honor.

What will I wear? What will we talk about? How will they get here from the airport? Where will they stay? What will we eat? What if I crap myself? What if they don’t like my home décor? What if they want me to say something in Rey’s honor? What if they think I’m a horrible host?

Aside from all the customary questions racing through my mind, I’m largely concerned with the demeanor I’ll exhibit in such a large group. One-on-one, I can be charming and witty, which is not always the case, but it happens—I’d like to think—more often than not. Put me in a group of more than two and I clam up, sweat profusely, shake in my boots. Unless large amounts of alcohol are involved, me and groups don’t mix.

Aside from social anxiety, anticipatory anxiety is the form of anxiety I struggle with the most. Maybe they’re byproducts of each other, maybe they’re one in the same, but whatever they are, I know them both extraordinarily well.

Take that anxiety, throw in some quasi-in-laws, and that trip to Vegas suddenly ain’t looking so bad. “Don’t trade the devil you know for the devil you don’t” never had so much meaning.


Debaser said...

Yeah, I'd go to Vegas. And I really hate Vegas, too. That should say something!

Leila V. said...

You're a smart man, Debaser. Unfortunately, there's no way I'm getting out of this one.

Sean said...

Leila, let's decompress this one step at a time. You know, I try to always have a backup plan for my backup plan. So let's start at the top. Why not take 20 mins one day and write a short speech in case the folks do want you to say something. You could whip out your little piece of paper and it'll be on! Isn't that one less thing to be anxious about?

Sean said...

Okay, steps two and three. Relax, you'll be at home! That's your element. If you crap yourself, you're in the perfect place. Run to the bathroom and fix yourself right quick. And if you turn out to be a horrible host, you're at home! They're the ones that will eventually leave! And if they don't like your hosting skills, then they don't have to come the fuck back... which means less anticipatory anxiety is in your future.
Boom. Shaka. Laka!

Aimée said...

I totally agree with Sean, if they don't like being there than they won't come back and you won't have to deal with it anymore. Almost worth a sabotage to me! But I know exactly how you feel. The What if's drive you crazy! Try talking it out and coming up with a game plan for what you will do if the worst case scenario happened. That usually helps me.

Robert said...

Yes, anticipatory anxiety is the bugger! Often it's worse than the anxiety during the event that's being anticipated. Marie is plagued with it, and I have to confess to being a sufferer of it myself (albeit on a different level). I try positive thinking and devise plans to cover as many eventualities as possible. It helps both Marie & me.

Leila V. said...

You're full of good advice, you should drop teaching and pick up counseling. The sad thing is I know Rey's family isn't going to me prompt me to speak, I'm so conceded. You know the world does revolve around me...

You're right! I should seize the opportunity to chase these fuckers off.

Positive thinking is a hard one for me, but I know it's important. One of my favorite past-times is imagining myself in humiliating situations, (not very productive). It truly never is as bad as we think.

Anonymous said...

I know what that's like. You're not alone. I have problems with both social and anticpatory anxiety.