Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012 7:35:28 PM
I believe that at one point in her life, every female has been “The Girl in the Corner.” Symptoms of GIC Syndrome include, but are not limited to: aversion to eye contact, mumbled speech, and a radius of at least 2 feet between patient and her peers (length of radius subject to change for crowded parties).
For years, I dealt with the title of GIC hanging over my head. It became my identity wherever I went. I would miss my chance to fit in every time, when my anxiety became too much for me to handle, and I resigned myself to the seat on the far side of the room. I was safe there. Safe from what, I don’t know. Rejection, maybe? Judgment. Ridicule. All I knew was that it was much easier to observe than participate.
Not participating creates a wonderful shield from rejection and all those other nasty things I mentioned. But, the thing about a shield is, it will block out all the good stuff, too—the sun as well as the rain. It blocked out the conversations and laughter. I wasn’t feeling the pain, but I also wasn’t experiencing the joy.
Every day I would enter a room, and from behind the pages of my book (or whatever wall I chose to hide behind that day), I would peer out, praying for someone—anyone—to rescue me. My corner was a lake, and I was drowning—my head bobbing up and down beneath the waves of my insecurities. It was a prison, and I was my own jailor.
Then, from out of the blue, a life preserver was thrown—a key was placed in its lock and turned. She walked over, stuck out her hand, and introduced herself. The words were utterly ordinary, but the conversation was life changing. This one social interaction led to a string of others. If I could successfully talk to this girl without stumbling over my words and making a complete fool of myself, surely I could do it with other people. Slowly, they came to my corner—always friendly and interesting. There was something inside of me that wasn’t there before: that joy that I had been so afraid of trying for. Soon, I knew it was time to venture out of my corner—that I had to be the one to seek out contact. My confidence grew as I did in my youth: steady, and awkward, and noticeable.
Now, it’s my turn. My turn to throw a line to those drowning—to unlock the door of another’s personal jail cell.
Each of us knits our own blanket of generosity. Most people only make theirs big enough to touch themselves and their immediate circle of family and friends, forgetting those on the outside, who are too far away to reach. This year, I want to work a little harder—even if it means going outside my comfort zone—to make a blanket large enough to reach the corners.