It began with one of those introduce-yourself- to-the-person-beside -you-then-introduce-that person-to-the-group exercises. I know it was meant to be an ice-breaker but all those get-to-know-each-other activities ever do for me is make me freeze. Honestly, who ever enjoys those things? ... except maybe the facilitator who gets to finish her coffee or find the right file or get the damn projector working while everyone chats uncomfortably.... She and that annoying extrovert sitting to her left who is going to make me want to poke sharpened pencils in my ears by the end of the day. They both love it. The rest of us feel our tongues start to swell as they suck every drop of life-giving moisture from our mouths.
I was the second last to speak. The last person introduced. The facilitator looked distractedly at her watch, undoubtedly tossing up what to leave out now this session had run overtime, as Jacqui from Alphington introduced me like this:
"Gosh... Um... Well everyone's been so interesting that I've actually forgotten what Wendy said about herself."
Yep. Just dress me in beige and bring me a cup of dishwater. Wendy the Dull. Wendy the Forgettable. Wendy of the Clan White Bread with the Crusts Removed.
It was the perfect moment for a retort that would have made Dorothy Parker proud, a scathingly witty one-liner that would sum up exactly who I am. But of course that didn't happen. The cliff crumbled beneath me.
I began to make word-like sounds in my own defence. Pathetic pallid word-like sounds floated limply around me as the internal speaker, woofas and tweeters pumped to 11, screeched: "See! You don't fit in. You are not worthy. Leave. Get out. Disappear. "
But I didn't run. I stuck it out. I didn't enjoy it because I wasn't able to engage. I couldn't quell that critical bitch in my head. But I did persevere... in spite of her.