Wednesday, February 26, 2014

the time i went to a blogger brunch (an outfit post + what its like to have social anxiety)

so, here i am, writing a blog post on a wednesday night. 

and if youve been hanging around for a while, youre probably thinking something like "hey, wait. victoria doesn't blog on wednesdays. also, what the heck happened to monday and tuesdays posts?"

and you would be absolutely right. wednesday is the day i do our meal plan, buy our groceries, and teach at our churchs homeschool co op (right now im teaching color theory and its AWESOME), and for quite some time now poverty luxe has had a very strict monday/tuesday/thursday/saturday posting schedule. 

well, last week, things got weird. 

and by weird i mean james started working again. the last time james had any work was for three days over a month ago, and the last time before that was sometime significantly before christmas. so, i think i can speak for all three of us when i say that NONE OF US were prepared to handle something as completely mundane and normal (i almost said banal but then i remembered that not everybody spent way to long in art school and uses such words in casual conversation) as you know, the head of the household going to work at his normal job all day. to make things even weirder, james is also working out of town this week (and possibly even next week too). 

also, last tuesday james had his third interview for a really neat job opportunity at a local yoga mat company. and three interviews is exactly how many interviews it takes for me to start elaborately constructing a detailed fantasy life revolving around all the things an obsessively thrifty housewife could do with a modest but consistent and reliable income (and not to mention the predictable schedule!). 

well, if youve paid any attention to the things ive been saying on twitter, we found out on monday that james did not get hired at the yoga mat company. and thus i was plunged into a vicious downward spiral of cookies and despair, as i bitterly mourned the fleeting hope of such extravagant luxuries as buying things at target that werent on my list, regular paychecks that are always the same amount, and not having three part time jobs while also attending college. 

a reaction that admittedly would have been much more civil had i not completely overtaxed myself physically, mentally, and emotionally over the weekend by pushing myself SO FAR OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE THAT I WAS BASICALLY ON AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PLANET OF UNCOMFORTABLENESS. and not just once, because that would just be far too reasonable thing for me to do, i did it twice. in a row. 

because its not like i already knew the extent of my crippling social anxiety that ive had basically my whole life and how doing such a thing would effect my emotions/behavior for the next week or so (sarcasm). 

but really its not my fault that the blogger brunch that melyssa organized just happened to be the day before dapper day, is it? 

now, before i start digging deeper into talking about the (quite lovely) blogger brunch and my anxiety and how the two really didn't mix well, i (obviously) want to talk about what i wore on saturday:

outfit details:

top: urban outfitters (got it on clearance for $6!)
skirt: vintage (purchased at the silver lake art craft and vintage market)
shoes: vintage (purchased at buffalo exchange)
purse: vintage (purchased at an estate sale)
necklace: target (old)
glasses: zenni optical

those pictures were taken before i left for the brunch, and i dont know if you can tell by looking, but i was a fidgety, wiggly, nervous MESS as we tried to do this outfit shoot. james and i can usually shoot an outfit in like 20 frames. this one took at LEAST 50 and most of them were terrible. it was bad. 

now, i started freaking out about what to wear maybe two weeks before the brunch, but by friday i had managed to put together two complete outfits that met the following criteria: cute, comfortable, an accurate representation of who i am both professionally and as a regular person, AND similar to what i would wear on the blog, but not too similar to something id already worn on the blog. and then i made james pick. he definitely made the better choice. 

funny story though: the other outfit involved wearing one of the skirts from my shop. multiple ladies at the brunch asked if i had made my skirt (i didnt). also, that camera shirt is basically my new favorite shirt ever, its SO SOFT and comfortable and fits perfectly and IT WAS ONLY SIX DOLLARS. all in all i felt pretty confident in my appearance that day (excellent choice james!). 

which was great because that was about all the confidence i had for the entire rest of the day. james basically had to force me out the front door to leave. 

but i did eventually leave, and i got to the location (which by the way was the absolutely LOVELY gallery great over good in santa ana) a few minutes early without even getting lost once (which is pretty incredible seeing as i ALWAYS drive past the place im going to if im going to a place for the first time ever). 

and then i sat in my car for like ten minutes seriously trying my darndest to not have a heart attack. 

at first i was afraid to get out of the car because what if i was at the wrong place, then i saw several ladies that were obviously bloggers get out of their cars and forced myself to get out and join them. but i left the bags of clothing i had brought to donate in my car so i had an escape route just in case i needed to leave for a minute. 

when i got inside the gallery i was warmly greeted by several very sweet ladies, and this very lovely chalkboard wall (p.s. this was basically the only picture i took because i was too nervous for any of my photos to come out nice. nicole and justina both wrote wonderful posts about the brunch though if you want to see pictures!):

and was told to join all of the other ladies that were mingling in the other room. 


if there is one thing in life that i CAN NOT do for the life of me, its mingle. 

and then things started to get really embarrassing. 

i started shaking. 

visibly, physically shaking like one of those tiny ugly dogs that i hate so much (really though i just hate all dogs). and i almost started crying. 

then something really surreal happened: julie (of julie ann art, who i first "met" on the etsy forums when we first started selling on etsy, whos blog ive been following basically since it started, who is basically the number one person that inspired me to pursue blogging professionally, but obviously i couldnt say any of that at the brunch because that would have been weird) called me over and introduced me to her nikki (of delovely details) and sort of broke the ice and helped me feel more comfortable talking to all of these new people. 

and im really glad she did, one because if she hadn't i probably would have turned around and drove home, and two, it turns our nikki and i both REALLY love disneyland and were both going to dapper day. so, thanks julie, you totally saved the day. 

after that, i definitely felt better, but it didnt really make me any better at mingling. you see, generally im very timid and dont want to interrupt any existing conversations to introduce myself (even though i know thats how mingling is supposed to work, it just seems... weird). also, i find small talk very unnatural and difficult, i mean, if somebody asks me a direct question i can answer it and maybe even provide a follow up question, but general small talk in a group situation? basically i just mentally shut down. 

and it really doesnt help that i have a very hard time carrying on a conversation when there are other conversations happening nearby at the same time so the small talk i did make was very strained and draining (is that weird, i feel like its weird). 

thankfully it was soon time to eat, and then at least i was sitting with the same group for a while to try and get to know them a bit better (at which point i noticed that i was probably the youngest lady there and i was DEFINITELY the only mom, which made me feel a little weird, but thats an entirely different issue), and after lunch, i started feeling more comfortable talking to different people. it didnt get any easier per se, but it was less terrifying, i guess. 

but i needed a breath of fresh air so i excused myself for a couple minutes to go get those clothes out of my car, and THAT felt really good. i almost started crying there but i regained my composure and returned to the brunch for the craft (we made some AMAZING body scrub), and a little more socializing (i wanted to make sure that i talked to everyone at least once) before i noticed that people were leaving so i should probably leave too. 

now, i realize that the way im talking about this experience may make it seem like i didnt enjoy it or that i wasnt having fun, and that is NOT the case, i DID very much enjoy the brunch. the food was delicious, the people were nice, and over all i had a very good time (in fact, ill probably go to the next event, too). im really glad i went. the thing is though, that the entire experience was terrifying and beyond exhausting (mentally and emotionally), once i got home i was basically ready to go straight to bed for the night. unfortunately i got home at like 2:30 so that was definitely not an option. 

and i guess really what i want to do here is shed some light on what social anxiety is actually like, because i get the feeling that most people just think im a jerk.

going to this brunch was probably the biggest challenge ive faced regarding my anxiety basically the entire time weve lived in california (i had a LOT of bad experiences living in arizona that resulted in me coming back VERY agoraphobic, and im still working on getting out of that bubble), and honestly, if my mom hadn't payed for my ticket, i would have chickened out. but, my mom probably knew that. 

so, thanks mom, for the ticket. thanks melyssa for organizing the lovely event. thanks julie for reaching out and helping me feel welcome. and thanks everyone reading for putting up with this excessively long post.

stay tuned for tomorrows post where i talk about dapper day!


  1. Love your outfit. Blogger's Brunch sounds like an event I would LOVE to attend. Meeting bloggers (though mingle IS hard)

  2. Ah, I love Julie, what a sweetheart. I'm also hopeless in social situations like that. I'm getting better and I try not to worry as I know there's nothing to be anxious about (aside from saying something stupid or embarrassing myself in some other awful way) (ha!) Too bad there's not much of a blogging community here for such events. I'm glad you had a good time and didn't rush off early!

  3. Thank you thank you thank you for this!! I'm so bad at mingling! I'm a human being, I should be able to do things that normal human beings do, like mingle and talk to people easily, but no, I don't seem to have that ability! I went to a Christmas party at work and everyone was talking and I hate interrupting existing conversations. In the morning at work, if people are talking I won't say good morning because I feel like I'm interrupting and so someone said, "Why didn't you say good morning to me earlier?" and I responded with, "You were busy," but he just gave me this weird look. Why is it bad that I'm trying to be a considerate person? To me, he's the weirdo for wanting to interrupt people, but whatever. Anyway, being around people exhausts me to! I'm glad I'm not the only one! I went to a little blogger meet up / fashion week event last Saturday and I was happy it was only an hour, but then the other girls were talking about hanging out more and I usually want to bolt because I don't know them all that well, but I'm so glad I stayed and got to know them and talk to them! Sometimes it's good to push yourself outside your comfort zone! I'm glad you had a good time though and I think you're outfit is so so cute!!

    (Wow that's a long comment, lol!)

  4. Wow, I thought I was the only one that was nervous out of my skin. I am so bad in social situations, get so beyond tongue tied, and make a fool of myself. I tend to overcompensate, then say stupid stuff. It was lovely to talk to you and I love your etsy shop. I was hoping to meet my "blog" idol that day but she did not make it. Probably a good thing because I would have totally clammed up.


  5. oh yes, I was beyond terrified! I was SURE I was going to say something stupid or unintentionally offensive and everyone would hate me. I'm really glad we got to sit together at lunch, I had a great time getting to know you!

    p.s. your interior design work is wonderful! I wish we had a house for you to help me decorate (because I am literally THE WORST at decor)

  6. aw, thanks Sara! I'm glad you could relate, when I tell people about how exhausting social stuff is for me they usually stare at me like I'm an alien! I'm glad I went, but man was I tired.

    yes! I know exactly what you mean, I don't want anyone to think I'm pushy or demanding or high maintenance or anything so I just assume that unless they approach me with something important that they don't want to talk to me. apparently that's the opposite of how social interactions are supposed to work. I don't get it.

  7. yes, Julie is really wonderful!

    I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone here, i TOTALLY worry about horribly embarrassing myself any time I'm around new people! for a while now I've been trying to find more local bloggers, but wasn't having much luck, but Melyssa did an AMAZING job reaching out to find SO many nearby bloggers. in the end I'm really glad I stuck it out, because I did end up making a couple new friends, so it was totally worth it.

  8. Hehe, I thought I was the only nervous one. I actually could not tell that you were nervous and I enjoyed our small talk. :)

  9. aw, you definitely weren't the only one! i had an especially nice time talking with you, its not very often i meet people from out of town that are familiar with the south bay.

  10. I can totally relate to you when you talk about social anxiety. I'm that type of person who prefers to avoid big crowds of people and making small talk. I'm always scared to get into a situation where I don't know one person. I agree with how you say people will think you're rude or ignoring them... but it's okay if it's not your intention to be :) Thanks a lot for sharing your experience! Now that you went to your first blogger brunch, I'm sure your next ones will be a lot easier :)

    A Splash Of Tan

  11. I'm so glad you came to the event. We didnt' get a chance to chat (it was overwhelming for me trying to get in adequate "get to know you" time with everyone) but I hope you'll come back to the next event and maybe we'll get a chance to meet. PS, even though we didn't talk, I did notice your outfit and absolutely loved what you chose!

  12. aw, thanks! i realize now that i did miss getting to chat with a few ladies, but youre right that it was totally overwhelming (also, I'm TERRIBLE with names so keeping track of who i talked to/who i didnt was really difficult). hopefully we can meet again sometime!

  13. yes! i mean, i dont want to interrupt, but i also dont want people to think i dont like them, it seems to be harder for me to find that balance than it is for other people. i think youre right, after this, another blogger meet up will be cake!