Intimidating People

So I went to this Party at the weekend. It was hosted by one of my student colleagues in her shared flat and I was just like one imagines such parties: Stuffed rooms, sitting on the floor and a bathtub filled with beer – how marvelous. I just knew little people, but I had great fun. I started talking to many new faces and danced to random music with random people.  The best place to be was the small kitchen – that’s always the place were people squeeze together and have the best conversations on parties. There I met a couple and as soon as I heard the guy talk I knew that he had the accent of my county. We later talked and found out that we actually were from the same place: He grew up just one village further. So we immediately had a common base and laughed about old stories.

But I want to tell you about this one girl. She was a bit older than me, maybe 30. She also was squeezed into the kitchen. She talked to another girl and mentioned sewing. I jumped into the conversation, because just now I have one of my sewing phases were I could design and put together pieces all day long. I was like “oh, you love to sew, me too!”. When we talked, I found out that she was just starting to get into it and she asked me how I learned sewing. I told her I taught myself and, gave her a view recommendations. Then she asked me what I do and I told her about my master program in sustainability studies and my bachelor in philosophy. The latter was an interest of hers as well. She asked me about Stoicism and I answered truthfully that I remember the basics, but that I never read that much of it. Until then everything was fine.

I moved around a bit, met people I knew, danced. Later I came back into the kitchen. The guy from my home place approached me loud and said something like “hey fellow…” using some insider. I already was a bit drunk and played along. And then I heard the girl from before say to someone else in the round: “Does everyone like her so much, because she’s so outgoing and confident, not like me?”. It was such an honest question, that revealed to me all her inner anxieties, self-doubt and insecurities. I was stunned and first couldn’t do anything than pretend I didn’t hear it. The question wasn’t directed towards me, maybe I shouldn’t have heard it. A few moments later I reacted and said, that the guy and I were just so friendly and excited, because we came from the same place and could joke about that. But it didn’t really help.

She soon after left the party. I just saw her once more, standing in the hall where all the shoes and bags were piled, reading demonstratively in her book of Epictetus, which gave me a feeling of embarrassment, but not for me, but for her…

I still have a weird feeling about this whole episode. She must have felt so intimidated by me. I had the same interests as her, sewing and philosophy, and in some way I was more advanced in both of them. When we talked about this I talked with great enthusiasm and excitement. I am as well very outgoing on parties nowadays and I feel very confident about my body and my outfit. I drink, I laugh and I have lots of fun.

I have a bad feeling in me, almost like guilt. I felt sorry for her when I found out that she was intimidated by me. I would have liked to help her or at least talk to her, because I was just like her once. Insecure and self-conscious about my body, in doubt about my life and if anyone could like me the way I am. I could have told her that my life isn’t perfect as well and there are so many moments where I am not happy and how I manage those.

But then I also felt some kind of anger. Why are you intimidated by me? Why is it my fault and why should I feel bad? I worked so fucking hard for the life I have now. It was so difficult to learn to love my body and I even managed to lose some weight in the last months (totally worth a post, that story). I gathered the courage to overcome some social anxieties of mine and started to become active in my life.

So inside I am torn apart. But if something like this happens again I hope I will be able to talk to this person. It is not our fault to have negative thoughts and feelings in us and if there is no form of empowerment it is very difficult to overcome them. The world is so beautiful and rich on experiences and they are not necessarily happy all the time. But I found a way for myself to enjoy this kind of world.

One thought on “Intimidating People

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  1. It’s hard, eh …. dealing with both empathy for the woman and also anger at feeling that guilt …
    Maybe a comment like this might help with both -> ‘I understand what you mean … I’ve been there …It does get better with time and soon someone else will say the same thing about you…’


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