Three decades is, I think, enough time spent bowing to such doubts. More than enough. Time to kick dat bollocks to the curb! Three decades is also enough time for such thought patterns to become well and truly entrenched, and even though I well know such thoughts are untrue and unfair, such fears are rarely rational and are not easily dismissed with logic.
The usual refrain of no one will come, no one will want to come, people will only come out of pity, they'll have an awful time, it will be awkward, everyone will leave to go do what they really want to do, how arrogant are you to think anyone would want to spend time on an event for you, you're so self-centred they have so many other things they need to do etc etc etc. Nothing surprising in there.
It took incredible audacity on my part, jaw-dropping brazenness and sass, to pick a date and send out casual invitations on FB. That was all the organisation required of me. This bar on this day. It'd be cool if you could come but no sweat if you don't. Really. If you can't come, or whatever, that's fine. I just want everyone to be comfortable. Really. Really. Really. Please come.
People changed their routines, flew down from interstate, drove up from the coast, came alone and out of their comfort zone. People I tapped because I enjoy and treasure their company. People who matter to me, dearly.
On the day of this informal laid-back thing, I was near sick with doubt. That litany was a diseased eel frothing around in my stomach, unable to escape because there simply was no escape. Either people would come, or they wouldn't, and I was oh so very fixated upon the 'wouldn't'. Despite knowing who would be there, in all certainty, people I adore and with whom I would have a most excellent time. These fears have voices that can cut diamonds, there is no overriding them.
Of course, a great many people came, more than I had anticipated. All people I was utterly delighted to see and spend time with. I introduced friends to friends and when distracted by other friends I would look over and see those who had been strangers laughing together. It's a strange and rare treat, that.
It occurred to me more than once that the people in my life are truly exquisite, sublime, fascinating, intelligent and entertaining entities. Nearly all of them maintain the capacity to surprise me, no matter how long or how well I may know them, and that is just excellent. It's incredibly good luck to have found myself immersed in such quality company.
Shine Theory was posted to the Girls Club mailing list a little while back, and while it is angled particularly toward women, it is a practice I think I may have unwittingly been committing across the board for some time now.
As such, I would like to confirm that surrounding yourself by people you enjoy and truly admire is a marvellously enriching experience, and it is hard for insecurity to get a foot in the door when it is being dazzled by ridiculous banter and chortles.