The Europe trip is here

The Europe trip that I am not going on. The one that has been giving me anxiety fueled by uncontrollable feelings of insecurity.

It’s the eye of the hurricane right now. They’ll be gone by the time I get home from lab, and I won’t see nor hear from them until Memorial Day. There will be social media posts, most likely, but I’ll do my best to avoid those.

I’ve been dreading these days building up to it, but it hasn’t been as bad as I originally anticipated. I think it’s because I’ve finally felt myself capable of thinking rationally through it, and I’ve been working through some of these issues recently with Jenny (my therapist). After deconstructing it over the course of the past several months, I feel a lot better about the situation.

There were several issues that upset me, and I think I’ve rationalized through all of them to a manageable extent.

  1. I was being excluded and/or forgotten about. Whether rational or not, this is a continuous fear I have in every social situation. I assume it stems somewhat from some bad experiences in high school, but it’s still here, alive and kicking and I just have to do my best to handle it however I can. However, I don’t think I was being excluded to the extent that I originally thought. I went back and reread the original group text, and the sender did say that they should book tickets right away because of the price. I didn’t respond right away, so they assumed I wasn’t going, so they moved to book without me. It would have been nice for someone to reach out and ask me to give a yes or no (because I might have been away from my phone for a few hours and unable to respond). However, I understand why they did what they did. Also, I didn’t realize this before, but there was another person included on the text who also didn’t respond and also was excluded. That makes me feel a lot better because it makes it less like a personal attack.
  2. I was missing out on a fun and incredibly rewarding experience. Yes, going to another country would be a highly rewarding experience, especially since I’ve never been to a foreign country other than Canada. However, I honestly don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it. The group I’d be going with is one that I constantly feel excluded from, and the girl organizing it is very judgmental and moody. I constantly have to be on guard around her, and that would get particularly exhausting after a week straight. Furthermore, they’re all extraverted, active doers, and it sounds like the trip is crammed with activities. When I travel, I’m more chill about it. I like to take it easy and go after quality instead of quantity. I’m not a huge fan of sightseeing. Instead, I like casually exploring a small area, taking my time at restaurants, and soaking in the feel of being in the area. I hate feeling constantly exhausted while traveling, and I hate being rushed through meals especially. It would have felt more like a chore going on that trip. Also, it’s not like I’ll never get another opportunity like this. I’m fortunate that my field involves a lot of traveling, so it’s only a matter of time before I get an opportunity to travel abroad. Even if I don’t, nothing is stopping me from traveling abroad on my own or with a different group of people at a different time.
  3. I will have to listen to them talk nonstop about the trip for at least a week after, probably much, much longer. It’s always the dreaded aftermath of missing out on something. Missing the actual event is fine, especially just a party that’s like 3 or 4 hours max. However, then you have to listen to everyone talk about it the next couple days, and so you continue to feel left out. I think it’ll be okay, though, because they didn’t talk about it too much in my presence this week while they were getting ready to go. They would discuss things a little, but not “Oh my god, so excited! Can’t wait to go to the place and see the thing!” So I think they’ll show some respect and decency and not subject me to it afterward. If they do and it becomes too uncomfortable to me, I can politely excuse myself or make a passive aggressive joke about how uncomfortable it makes me. I can deal with it.
  4. I will have to explain to people why I didn’t go. Not just explain stuff to the group of people going, but to outsiders who hear about the trip. I expect this to be a major problem this upcoming week when the social media posts start rolling out. However, I have concrete reasons for not going (I want to save my vacation days to visit my family that I don’t see very often, May is a very busy and stressful month for me, and it’d be hard to take a week off and not feel extra, extra stressed about it, I wasn’t able to commit to a date that early in advance, especially with knowing that sometime around then I’d be going on a 2-week long work trip, and, going along with that, I already had plans for a lot of mandatory traveling over the summer, so it’d be hard to justify taking even more time away from lab). But most importantly, it’s no one’s goddamn business why I didn’t go. It’s a personal decision, and traveling to another country is a very scary concept for me, so I shouldn’t have to discuss it with other people.

There was also the nice issue about why I’m happy I’m not going, and that’s because for an entire week I will get the entire house to myself. I’m SO excited to go home tonight, order pizza, and watch TV on the couch in my underwear. I’m excited to eat like a slob, sing off-key to Alice Cooper songs, and “take care of myself” without worrying about my vibrator being too loud. I’m excited to not have to hide in my room to avoid talking to people. I’m excited to not have to wear ear plugs to muffle out the sound of people laughing and having fun. I’m excited to not have to fake sick as a justification for staying in bed all day Sunday. It’s going to be great.

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