So today was an abnormally productive day for me.
My best friend Amira’s mom, Miss Ellie, contacted my mom, asking if I wanted a job helping her sort through old photos and organize her closet. It sounded like a nice, simple job, but it would mean I’d have to be around Miss Ellie for multiple hours, just us two, by ourselves, her talking to me (Amira’s away at college). Miss Ellie’s really nice, don’t get me wrong, and I do like her. But I’ve got social anxiety, which means, for me personally at least, that unless you’re in my immediate family, I’m gonna be afraid to talk to you if it’s been more than a couple of days since I’ve seen you.
Now, I’m gonna be totally honest, I don’t believe a psychologist has ever officially diagnosed me with social anxiety. But, I mean, the name’s self-explanatory, and I’ve done my research and my symptoms match up. I’ve almost always been shy, but since around the 10th or 11th grade, my shyness has evolved into full-on terror induced by the slightest of interactions with anyone, as I said, outside of my immediate family. Unless you can prove I have something else, I’m gonna keep calling it social anxiety.
Okay, so back to the productiveness. So I was really nervous about working for Miss Ellie, but, at the same time, if I was left to my own devices, I’d probably just sleep all day and be miserable. Plus, ten dollars an hour for one’s first job isn’t too shabby. I told my mom I was “hesitantly interested”, and she went ahead and set up a time for me to go over to Amira’s house.
What I’ve found helps my anxiety when I’ve got an upcoming social event I’m dreading, is to just say I’ll do it, and put it out of mind as much as possible. Like, I just pretend it’s not happening. I don’t let myself think about it. Of course I’m still terrified when the day arrives and my hands are shaking as I’m getting ready, but at least I haven’t wasted the week figuratively huddled in the corner. So I just didn’t think about going to Miss Ellie’s house today and yesterday (I guess it’s more denial, than anything; still, it works for me). I really wasn’t that nervous anyway, until I was in the car with Mom and we were driving to Amira’s. That’s when I realized what I’d gotten myself into, and when I remembered how I have a bad and embarrassing habit of bursting into tears upon pulling up to their door. (I don’t know if that means I’m comfortable with her and her mom, or if that means they give me extra anxiety…) I felt the tears coming on as soon as we pulled into their driveway, and if I’d sat there long enough I probably would have lost it. But Miss Ellie was waiting outside for us, and as soon as we’d come to a stop she opened the door and said something funny. I was still anxious and didn’t want to leave the car, but at least I didn’t start crying.
Miss Ellie explained to me and my mom that I was to go through her grandma’s massive collection of pictures that Miss Ellie had smuggled out of her grandma’s home. Her grandma, Amyra (Amira’s namesake, I learned), had died recently, and her family was fighting over who gets what. No one was dealing with all of Amyra’s memorabilia, so Miss Ellie went in one weekend and took all the important pictures and documents back to her house before it all got lost. Only problem is, Amyra was really, really old; Miss Ellie has a life; and none of her family is going to help her sort the boxes and boxes of pictures and papers. So my job is to go through all the pictures and documents, scan them into the computer, and type in dates and names and things written on the backs of the pictures.
In other words, it’s really super fun (no sarcasm). I love historical stuff, Miss Ellie’s family lived all over the world so there are lots of interesting photographs, and, assuming I can read/speak the language of what’s written on the backs of the pictures, I get to type (and I like typing). And, actually, Miss Ellie didn’t talk to me nearly as much as I was expecting. She spent a lot of the time in her office or cleaning around the house. That doesn’t mean the social anxiety disappeared…I started worrying after the second time I had to go find her that I was asking too many questions and that she’d get annoyed (I ask a lot of questions, which some of you have probably already learned). Plus asking for lunch was a bit daunting, as I’m not used to eating at other people’s houses. And figuring out when to go home and how to say, “I’m going home now” is always very stressful for me (why can’t people just say, “Okay, it’s been four hours, we’ve done all I wanted to do, how are you getting home?”?). And I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to be treating her like Miss Ellie or a boss, or some hybrid…I don’t even really know how you treat a boss. I mean, I do, but not when it’s your friend’s mom. After today I’m guessing I just treat her like Miss Ellie, though. Oh, and is 100-ish photos scanned a good number after several hours of work? I’m worried she’ll go through the computer and be like, “That’s it?!”
In the end, though, I made monies and left Amira’s house feeling really proud and slightly more grown-up. When I got home, I even helped my brother with some homework and finally started working on Kaiden’s super-late birthday present (in my defense, my wrist was slightly sprained over the weekend, which is also why I haven’t posted anything in a few days). And then, because I’d spent most of the day working, I could play Sims guilt-free.
So yeah. That was my productive day and the first day of my first little job. Feels good. 🙂