Those of you that know me well may or may not know that I am REALLY bad at meeting new people. Putting myself in situations where I don't know people and just being me is hard - I think it's a deeply-ingrained sense of "why would people be interested in me?" that I have yet to get over, even as I have matured into adulthood.
So, when my friend Leila asked if I wanted to join her cooking club, I was excited - and scared to death. The first e-vite came...14 people I didn't know, Leila and myself. I said yes, but was still pretty scared. As luck would have it, I ended up pretty sick the week of the cooking club meeting and didn't make it to the first meeting. Well, last night was the cookie exchange/taco night...and I actually went (after getting lost and some other stuff I won't relay here). I walked into a room of people who, at least in part, seemed to know each other. Many of them are grad students/PhD students in the Education department at IU. I immediately felt ill at ease with my plate of cookies and my fear of people not liking me or accepting me for who I was.
The first few moments were pretty awkward, but then people started talking to me and introducing themselves to me and, well...it turned into a really nice evening getting to know people outside of my comfort zone, people I probably wouldn't run into in my normal life, and hear their stories. I didn't talk a lot. Instead I listened, laughed, and made the beginnings of some possible new friendships. All in all, they were a welcoming, lovely, smart, opinionated, and interesting group of ladies getting together once a month to share recipes, eat good food, and just get away from all that normal stuff that life throws at you.
So, long story short? I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself smack dab in the middle of a group of people I didn't know whom I didn't share a lot of similar experiences. I hope it was the first of many good nights of discussion and friendship.