Do I Have To?


Today, I saw this meme on Facebook, and it made me giggle. It was also instantly recognizably me.

People who know me probably wouldn’t describe me as an introvert, because I have gotten really good at disguising it.

Most of the time.

There are many, many days when it is impossible for me to even imagine leaving the house. I’m not afraid to leave. I just… I don’t want to. I can’t think of any reason why I should. I have everything I need right where I am.

Now, when I do go out, I am fine. Mostly fine. Usually. Okay, sometimes.

There are things I like to do. Things I really enjoy and want to do, like going out for a day at a comic convention or to a concert. I psyche myself up for those things for weeks in advance, just to push myself out the front door, because once I go, I am going to have to engage.

But, before I do, I always find myself asking, “Do I have to?”

Concerts are easiest, especially if I go alone. I’m in the crowd, and part of the crowd, but I don’t have to speak to anyone. It’s loud; that’s a great excuse not to talk. Even if I’ve gone with someone, they will be someone I love and can speak to without being stressed about it.

Conventions are harder. As much as I love them, and as excited as I get over meeting people I admire (ALICE COOPER!!!), it is stressful. So, I push myself. Like, “Hey, girl! You’re going to get to meet Alice Cooper!! Get dressed! Open the door! Step outside! Go!”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes! The tickets are non-refundable! You promised the kids! Get a move on!”

Oh, the people. So many people. So much talking. Babies and small children crying. It’s like the grocery store times 100.

Except it’s so much better because Alice Cooper. Or, whoever else it might be next time I go. And I will go. I will push myself out the door and venture forth, I will talk to strangers and I will have a good time.

It’s so much better than the grocery store.

Look, I have been known to run out of everything before going to the grocery store. I hate shopping. Too many people. I don’t care if I’m in Denver or in small town Wyoming, there are always too many people in the store, unless you go at midnight or something. Plus, you never, ever run into Alice Cooper, so where’s the appeal?

Oh, yeah. Food. Soap. Toothpaste.


In 2017 we had a class reunion. It was wonderful.

I changed my mind about going about ten times. “I could skip it, who’d even notice?”

“No, I really want to see everyone.”

“Yes, but, what about…something or other that might or might not happen at home while I’m gone?”

“No, I really want to see everyone! Stop that!”

I’m really happy I went.

First night we met up in a local bar. That was really hard. Bars are awful for me. People get too close to you in bars, mostly by accident because there’s never enough room. But sometimes they do it on purpose. I was able to make myself do it because I already personally knew the people who were going to be there. Plus, I invited my sister to go along, which was great. Everything went well, but my stomach was in knots.

The next day was a pot luck in the park, and that was better for me, because there was so much more space.

Now, these are people I have known for years, some since first grade, and I was very happy to see them all and visit with them.

I was also happy to go home.

I am always happy to go home. Lock myself in the bathroom for half an hour and hyperventilate. Congratulate myself on having gone out.

What I like is when people come to me. Come over to my house, hang out. I will feed you. I will talk with you. If you are little, I will play with you. And I don’t have to go anywhere. Cool!

I will be really happy to see you, and really happy to spend time with you. But when you go home, I will breath a sigh of relief and go lie down for a few minutes to re-group.

And if you stay too long, I may lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes of hyperventilation. No offence.

I wonder sometimes if anyone really knows what a big deal it has been for me to leave my own home and live most of the time with my parents. I have carved out my corners, but this isn’t my house, and I don’t precisely feel at home here.

I also don’t feel precisely at home in my home anymore. It really has become my son’s home and just the place I go when I’m not here.

Life is weird.

I lived in this house for a little over five years when I was a teenager, and returned to it in my 50s. I sleep in the same bedroom I slept in as a teen, although now it is furnished with grownup furniture.

Almost nothing in there is mine.

Like I said, weird.

I don’t go out much, and sometimes when the opportunity to do so comes up, I still have to hype myself into getting out the door. This, even when I really want to go do things! It is not fun being this way.

But no one who knows me would think of me being this way, because when I am out, I am out all the way. I talk, I smile, I laugh. I engage.

And I do have fun. I do!

But first…I have to get out the door. And that is hard.

I saw this meme, and it spoke to me.

That is all.





2 thoughts on “Do I Have To?

    1. It has been a lifelong struggle. I really like being out, once I get there. Now my father has gotten this way–part of his dementia–and I work even harder, so I can get HIM out, too. At least it is something I recognize and understand, unlike some of the other things he’s going through.
      Oddly enough, social media, blogging and writing in general really help me be sociable.

      Liked by 1 person

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