I had read an article in the news that was of interest and related indirectly to a local women's group. The article was about something I am passionate about and consider myself knowledgeable, so I decided on a fluke to contact the group. They invited me to a monthly meeting so I agreed, a bit hesitantly since I have dropped out of every social group thingy in my life, and have learned to just avoid them.
I tried to be on time -no, I tried to be early to avoid the socially awkward anxiety of being the newbie- I'd rather get there early and ease into things. Being a mother of two little ones, you can plan to leave five, ten, thirty, one hundred minutes early and you will be fifteen minutes late no matter what. Oh God, I have become my mother! Anyways, I was fifteen minutes late.
I walked into the meeting place, playing the role of that rude person who walks in late while the meeting is in full swing and the crowd is hushed at attention. Great, I think, as I see a few heads turn my way, like, who the hell is she? Then, to add to my dread, everyone is my mother's age or older. I have nothing against the older generations but when you are the only one even near your sge, you feel like the black sheep and the center of attention.
I endure some glances and whispers amid the reading of board minutes, and I shifted nervously in my seat. I so don't belong here! I nervously sipped my water and compulsively glanced at my newborn, part to send psychic vibes of "shh be a good baby" and "if only you were older so I could converse with you to get this awkward feeling off my chest". The board minutes ramble on and suddenly I am handed a bouquet of flowers and am briefly introduced. I stand and smile and breathe a sigh of almost relief. A woman hands me a little card with a Bible verse that I find familiar; reminding me of a song "come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest". I hummed the tune and finally felt at ease.
The meeting adjourned and a handful of ladies went out of the way to come chat with me. They were all so excited to see someone so young, and they all fell in love with my newborn. I got compliments and friendly inquiries on the fact I babywear, unusual in this town. I got invited to three different churches and a charity group. I shared my passion for education with two women, one who even helped me lug my baby and belongings back to my car.
I really felt genuinely welcomed in this group, even if I still feel like the oddball young'un in a group full of senior and nearly senior citizen women. You know, sonetimes just one commonality or cause can overcome silly or even just percieved social barriers. I do intend to attend the next meeting! Ok so given my track record I probably will "drop out" in a few months but nevertheless, a possibly awkward situation turned out way more positive than I had built it up to be.