THE DREADED SCHOOL RUN

When my daughter started primary school, I had a master plan. Despite suffering from crippling social anxiety, I was going to shove my insecurities deep down where the sun didn’t shine, pull up my big girl pants, and be sociable. I was going to make an effort to introduce myself to other mums because I understood that I was the gateway to my daughter’s social life, and I wanted her to have positive experiences. I didn’t want people to see me as the awkward and antisocial person that seldom spoke and therefore, unfairly judge my daughter.

So in the first year of school, I tried getting to know people. I soon realised that there were many cliques and not all were welcoming, not everyone was friendly and some would outright ignore me. It surprised me to see strangers becoming fast friends within such a short space of time. People were enjoying family holidays together, picking up each other’s children and organising play dates.

All the while, I was struggling to get an invite to the end of term park gatherings and classroom parent dinners. Most of the time, I was invited as an afterthought or at least, that was my perception. I couldn’t even secure play dates successfully, bar one mum who took me under her wing.

I would watch with envy and disappointment as groups of mums would leave for coffee dates after the school runs. Why didn’t they invite me? These situations would evoke powerful emotional childhood memories of insecurities and inadequacies, making me feel like that outcast once more. Suffice to say, I spent a lot of those early days hidden in the car until the very last minute.

Fortunately, I did make a few good friends that year, and I’ve clung on to them since (You know who you are – thank you!). School runs can be intimidating, especially for someone who suffers from social anxiety. On days where I don’t find a friendly face, I feel anxious waiting around. Small talk is a mammoth task for me, especially with people I’m not comfortable with or know well.

My husband doesn’t understand my irrational fears with the dreaded school runs. How could he though? He doesn’t have social anxiety. He wasn’t an outcast as a child in school. He is confident in his own skin and has his tight-knit group of childhood friends. He has no problem with small talk or meeting new people, even though he is an introvert by nature.

I, however, allow this debilitating mental illness to dictate almost every social interaction that I have. It has become a stranglehold that keeps me from meeting new people, forming friendships and sometimes even keeping friendships. I’m plagued by insecurities and anxiety over forming connections but at the same time, I doubt why anyone would want to be my friend. I’m not interesting, I don’t have hobbies, I’m not well-travelled, and I’m not worldly or cultured.

My husband made an observation that gave me pause. “Why is it you think so little of yourself? Why wouldn’t people want to be your friend? Why don’t you ask to join them for coffee?”

Upon reflection, I surmised that I am simply scared. I’m scared to put myself out there, to allow myself to be vulnerable and be judged. What if I’m found to be wanting? What if people don’t like me? What if I let myself hope for friendship and be sorely disappointed? What if I’m rejected for being me?

Recently, I met a wonderful and kind school mum, by chance, at one of my daughter’s friend’s birthday party. It was only upon getting to know her that I realised I am not alone in my feelings and perhaps there are many of us with our own doubts and insecurities. She made me understand that having meaningful social connections and friendships are important, and is worth pursuing, particularly for people who suffer from social anxiety.

This year, I haven’t hidden in my car or pretended to be on the phone as much. I’ve continued to work on my small talk and forming connections with other people. I would like to think my social anxiety has lessened in intensity and my communication skills have improved.

But as we creep towards a new school year, where undoubtedly there will be new faces to meet and new connections to make, I know my anxiety levels will rise and there will be an overwhelming urge to hide in the car.

Does it get easier? Can someone overcome social anxiety? I really hope so because I don’t like the idea of hiding in the car for the next decade.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/

THE LIEBSTER AWARD

The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The award is a way to be discovered but also to connect and support the blogging community. A great idea in promoting your own blog and others. Originally it was given out to blogs with less than 2000 readers but this has slowly lowed as the reward has gained popularity. It is now only 200 readers or less. It’s really an arbitrary number. If you like helping other blogs out go ahead and do it regardless of its size.

I would like to thank Rivergirl at River’s World for the nomination. This lovely lady was one of the first few people who started commenting on my blog posts, reaching out and forming a connection. In doing so, she gave me a boost of confidence. Instead of typing up a response and then deleting comments, I began pressing the enter button. Ok, enough of my mushiness!

River’s World is full of funny gifs, witty remarks, and good humour. Her posts are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Go check out River’s World and have a laugh!

Rivergirl’s impossibly hard questions for me:

1.  You’re a pigeon newly arrived in Hollywood. Who do you poop on first?

So many people, not enough poop to go around. It’s too hard to choose just one person.

2.  Donald Trump has been impeached. Mike Pence has been trampled to death at a gay pride parade. Nancy Pelosi has resigned her position and run off to Tahiti with a member of BTS. You’ve been chosen to be the next President of the United States. What’s your first executive order?

Wow. Just wow.

Such power could do serious damage if wielded poorly and I’m not sure I’d be the best commander of anything. I either make grand, life-impacting decisions without in-depth thought or struggle to choose between ham or salami sandwiches.

So… if the United States was unfortunate enough to have me as President, my first order would have to be a ban on salami sandwiches. You know… to make life choices easier for everyone.

3.  The Brussels Sprout is a much maligned ( and extremely gassy ) cruciferous vegetable. You run a PR firm and have just been hired to tweak it’s image. Go!

Scientists have discovered that eating twenty brussel sprouts a day will form sufficient gaseous fuel to allow humans the ability of self-propelled flight. You wanna fly? Eat those darn sprouts.

4.  Your lifelong dream of being a stripper has come true. What’s your stage name?

Candy Crusher (I was addicted to Candy Crush at one stage).

5.  Your cruise ship is sinking and you’ve scrambled onto a life raft only to realize it’s overloaded. What… or who… do you push overboard?  A case of craft beer, your significant other, the oars, a beloved pet wombat, or the ship’s navigator ?

*Note – if you say beer or wombat, you are dead to me*

This is an easy one. I’ll need sustenance in the form of wombat and beer. I’ll need oars to bat down those circling sharks. The significant other could come in handy for keeping insanity at bay, fishing and other survival needs. I’d push overboard the navigator because of you know… the best indicator of the future is the past.

Now for the nominees:

1. Seetha from 3 Little Birds. Seetha is a writer, a poet, a mother and an amazing, compassionate and supportive woman. Her work is emotive, empowering and insightful.

2. Kerry from Stories of Then. Kerry is an accomplished author with stories published in several anthologies, Ink Dreams and Heart of a Child. She offers valuable writing-related tips and advice.

3. Janea from My Dream Is To Tell Stories. Janea is the author of Searching for Fire, writer of poetry, short stories and writing-related topics.

4. Nathan from Nathaniel Fiction. Nathan is a new author, who has just released his book, Voices in the Dark. Part of the novel is free to read online.

5. Iain Saunders writes about mindfulness, life and business skills.

I recommend you check out the above bloggers and show them your support!

Post these rules:

1. Acknowledge the blog which nominated you.
2. Answer the questions your nominator asked.
3. Nominate two to six other bloggers who might appreciate the boost.
4. Ask them several unique questions.
5. Let them know you have nominated them.

And answer these questions:

1. It’s your first day at a new job, you’re in the lunchroom about to get your delicious leftover casserole, labelled with your name. Only problem is your new supervisor is sitting there eating it. What do you do?

2. Your phone is ringing. It’s a very important phone call that you must answer as callback is not an option. You’re stuck on a public toilet, surrounded by people in other cubicles. What would you do?

3. You’ve got two bags of rubbish and your bin is full. Your neighbour is prickly and doesn’t like other people putting their rubbish into her bin. You sneak out in the middle of the night to dump your rubbish anyway. As you lift the lid, your neighbour shines her torch on you. What’s your excuse?

4. You’re on a deserted island. A crate washes ashore. Inside you find the one thing that would make your life more bearable. What’s inside?

5. You’re on a reality TV show and to win you have to eat three of the following: bull’s testicle, monkey’s brain, fish eyes, bull’s penis, maggot cheese or soft-boiled fetal duck. What’s the lucky three?

While I would love to hear your responses, there is absolutely no pressure to participate. I am just happy to have you as part of my online community and this nomination is my way to recognise and help support your blog.

Thank you to everyone who likes, shares, comments and follows my blog.

xx Kathy

SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD

Hello everyone! I’ve postponed last week’s blog post to thank Jenny Furse for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I am humbled and heartened that you thought of me for this award. It is a privilege to share the journey of motherhood, self-discovery and life with you and the blogging community.

Please check out Jenny’s wonderful blog: http://progressinbloom.com

The Sunshine Blogger Award is peer recognition for bloggers that inspire positivity and joy through their creative blogs.

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  2. List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post.
  3. Answer the 11 Questions the blogger asked you.
  4. Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  5. Ask the Nominees 11 new questions.

Jenny’s Questions:

1. How long have you been blogging for and why did you start?
I began journalling to practice mindfulness and promote good mental health. I found upon reading back on them that most of my entries were funny snippets involving the children and their antics. I wanted to share those experiences with others and so my blog was born seven months ago.

2. What makes a blog article worth sticking around for— one you truly enjoy reading?
I love reading uplifting, inspirational or humourous work. The best articles are the ones that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside or have you snorting your coffee accidentally from laughter.

3. What is your favorite thing about Fall?
Escaping from the sweltering heat of an Australian summer.

4. What is your go-to drink?
My life elixir comes in the form of a daily mochachino.

5. What favorite treat really hits the sweet spot for you?
Either a tiramisu or a cream sponge cake.

6. Tell me about a favorite date or share a great date night idea.
Anything with a comfy bed and a sleep-in will do just fine. Even a long nap will suffice.

7. Do you have a favorite family tradition?
The children like to make my husband’s birthday cake. It’s super cute, ultra messy and loads of fun.

8. What book(s) are you reading right now?
Red Dust by Fleur McDonald, who is an Australian author that writes about strong women who overcome adversity. Most of her books are based in the setting of an Australian outback and farming.

9. What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Make lemonade with the lemons life gives you. Smile, laugh, and don’t be afraid of what people think of you. Believe in yourself.

10. Do you have a secret or hidden talent?
I love to sing (so long as there are no witnesses). According to my seven-year-old, I’m no Katy Perry, but I’m OK.

11. What is one way you served or blessed someone else recently?
I am about to embark on volunteer work at the local neighbourhood community centre, helping disadvantaged people with learning basic computer skills and literacy. I’m looking forward to the experience and hope to make a small difference where I can.

My Nominees:

1. Rivergirl at River’s World. I love humour and Rivergirl has it in spades with her funny gifs and witty posts about her hometown Maine, husband’s antics and visiting wildlife. She is a lovely human being.

2. Stephen and Fionnuala at Fractured Faith Blog. Stephen is a published author of The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles – Skelly’s Square. He blogs about writing, his family, and many other topics. He too is another lovely human being.

3. Phoebe at Phoebe MD: Medicine & Poetry. Phoebe blogs about a range of health & wellness topics as well as poetry. I love that she has created the Pendants for a Cause to help the hurricane victims in the Bahamas and Children’s Heart Project. Please support these worthy causes.

4. Patrice at Mom Life With P. Patrice blogs about the challenges of motherhood, promotes positivity, and offers tips and advice.

5. Pallavi at Curating Thoughts. Pallavi writes thoughtful posts on motherhood and poems in a category she calls Mom Jam (wish I had thought of that!).

My Questions for Nominees:

1. When did you start blogging and why?
2. What are three words that best describe you?
3. Where is your favourite place to visit?
4. What is your favourite food?
5. What is your favourite movie?
6. If you could share a meal with any 2 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
7. What is one thing you would never do again?
8. If you had to lose one of the five senses (touch, smell, sight, hearing, taste), which would you choose?
9. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
10. Who is your role model? The person that you look up to the most? Why?
11. What are you grateful for?

I would like to thank everyone who reads, shares, comments, likes and follows my posts at KN J Tales and Snippets.