*Edit: The night in question was actually NOT last night, as it has taken me almost a week to find the motivation to write anything. But I like the title, so I’m keepin’ it.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. With the busiest part of the summer now behind me, I finally have a moment to reflect on all I have experienced, and even more importantly, to put those experiences into words.
Between the road trip to Palm Springs and camping at both Lake Oroville and New Brighton State Beach, there is much to unpack, but the problem I am currently having is that the only thing I care to spend my time thinking about is the amazing, and quite frankly, unexpectedly so, experience I had last night at a small Sacramento comedy club.
This night in particular could have easily been memorable for all of the wrong reasons. Allow me to explain.
While on the road heading to Santa Cruz for our long-awaited family camping trip by the ocean, I received a text from a rad girl I had recently gotten to know in a poetry class I took during my final semester of grad school. We would often chat during class, but never managed to take our budding friendship out of the classroom. When the last day of the semester came, we exchanged numbers with an airy hope of finally getting together sometime over the summer. I honestly did not think that anything would come of it, as these types of friendships have a tendency to fizzle out once the mandatory commingling of college comes to a close. I knew that I was not one to reach out to new people, as I am very aware of the fact that I tend to be a bit of an introvert when it comes to initiating new relationships. Therefore, I was quite surprised, but also super stoked, to receive that text message the morning of my trip.
Her message was pretty simple. She wanted to know if I would like to meet up with her at a poetry reading happening downtown in a few days. As it turns out, the day of the reading was the day after I would return home from Santa Cruz, so I was technically free to hang. But, because I am me, my first instinct was to say no, as I only knew her from class and the chances were pretty high that I would be weird and awkward and the whole night would be over before it began. However, something told me that I needed for my answer to this particular invitation to be yes. I cannot really explain it, but I just had a feeling that saying no would be passing by on an opportunity for a potentially amazing friendship.
So when I say that this night could have been memorable for all the wrong reasons, this is what I mean. It could have easily been just another episode in the anxiety-laden drama that is my life. But it wasn’t. As it turns out, it was actually pretty fucking great.
I could go into detail about how we immediately launched into passionate and animated conversation, not a hint of the painful silence that typically accompanies first-time gatherings between new friends. Or I could gush over how we share similar, if not identical, views on politics, relationships, parenting, and music, or how we are both moved by poetry and view the world as a spinning globe of experience ripe for our discovery and consumption.
No, the point of this post is not to recount the minutiae of a fantastic night with a lovely new friend. The point of this post is to remind myself, and hopefully others, of these two things: First, that allowing your anxiety and fear to keep you home instead of saying yes will likely result in missed opportunities that can be both joyous and fulfilling; life-changing, even. And second, that you must never, and I mean never, have the audacity to quietly (even if only briefly) chat with your friend during the middle of a poetry reading. Oops. But that is a story for another time.