I Can't Believe I Did It

In all my life I have never 'done' a Church Ladies Camp so what madness possessed me to register just two weeks out from the camp? Two weeks when I'd almost gotten away with another year of not attending?

I suspect a conspiracy.

So far I'm still managing to breath and have not suffered any anxiety attacks but will this continue? As the day draws nearer will I seriously regret what must have been a rash decision in a moment of temporary insanity?


There are several reasons I don't 'do' Ladies Camp.

One: I don't like being away from home. In the past I've experienced panic attacks when having to sleep away from home. Our trip earlier this year to South East Asia was unique in that despite the circumstances and the dangers, I only had one bad night when I struggled to remain calm. (Possessed swine outside our bedroom window, broken generator which meant no lighting or air-conditioning, barred windows and no fire escape, are all good reasons to feel panicky, don't you think?) Over the years I have learnt a few tricks to enable me to sleep while away from home - but having a sympathetic DH by my side is different to sharing a room with women with whom I don't want to 'lose face' and I'm not sure if my box of tricks (lavender oil, torch, some form of light) will be well received - if I'm even brave enough to bring them out.

Two: I don't do well in crowds. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool introvert and while I can enjoy some social interactions, I'm hopeless at initiating conversation. Throw in partial deafness, social awkwardness, shyness, and an inability to think on the spot, and it's obvious why I've never developed a reputation for being a social butterfly.

Three: I am missing a feminine gene. Seriously. I hate shopping. Hate it. I know next to nothing about fashion, clothes, shopping, hair (unless it's long), shoes, shopping, whatever it is that women enjoy talking about. Maybe it's because I spent so much of my early (and mid) adult life surrounded solely by males. I married one and together we produced five. It wasn't until a few years ago that our family went from majority male to majority female (by three now!). For anyone who has not had the privilege of living in a predominantly male household let me assure you that they are different. Very much so.

Four: I am uncomfortable around women - which is ridiculous when I work in a female-dominated profession. Perhaps at work I can focus on my skills and not so much on the fact that I feel like the ugly duckling who failed to turn into a beautiful swan (although some of that does creep into work). Somehow it's different in the work place than it is in church. Sad but true. Sometimes I think the reason why others want me included is because I am the ugly duckling... so that everyone else can feel more attractive. I have a bad habit of comparing myself and coming up lacking ...

Five: And maybe there's another reason that I don't even want to admit to myself. Maybe ... this is humbling ... I don't want to be challenged ... I don't want to change ... I think I know enough to get through by myself ... maybe I even think I don't need other women ...

Or perhaps it's that I have known so few good and lasting female friendships that something like this is just downright scary. I haven't had a lot of practice.


Sharlene said…
I can relate with your anxieties. I did go to a ladies retreat once. I remember that sleeping was an issue. I have learned to travel with my own pillow which helps a lot. At the end of the retreat I remember wishing that it had been longer. Maybe your time will be the perfect length.
Ohtawen said…
Jules, you are so brave. You know how much I sympathize with you... It's tough being away from home, and it's tough to be an introvert in a world made for extroverts. I can tell that the trip will be challenging... but I think challenges are good. It may be that my recent experience has made me more open-minded, but going away once in while can be truly beneficial ;) Also, you never know - despite all your apprehensions, you could have a splendid time :)
winterwren said…
"lthey are *different*"--made me smile.

Well, Jules, I hope that this turns out well for you. You are very brave! I hated Church Camp when I was a kid. Not because I hated being away from home, but because my outcastedness (?!) was more painfully felt. To this day I really do not like groups or parties unless I know every single person really well--or have a reasonable degree of anonymity. I am actually much (much!) less likely to attend a church potluck, where I will feel the obligation to talk to many people whom I sort of know and feel I ought to know better, than a party of any other kind.

In any case, you are not any sort of ugly duckling. At all. At all! AT ALL.

Good luck, brave woman. Go forth!

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