Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Releasement of Social Anxiety (or, The Little Green Cup)

(I gotta' give a shout-out to Jade, the real "undiscovered supermodel," from America's Next Top Model for the title of my post. Even though I hate Jade and wish she would die a horrible, painful death.)

Have you ever had an inanimate object that signified a turning point in your life? I don't think that I have ever had something like that before. But, as of yesterday, I do. This little green coffee cup is that object for me.

For my oldest sister, Campbell's, birthday yesterday, she, Feather, and I went to Sequim (pronounced Squim) to visit a scrapbooking store and have lunch together. We went to a place called the Highway 101 Diner. The food was good, but apparently the coffee cups were even better. Campbell saw the pink version of this cup and wanted one. She figured it was the perfect size to help her cut back on her daily coffee consumption. She tried to slyly convince me to steal one for her (even though none of us ordered coffee). Of course, I would never do something like that (even though I stole a small flag from a Shari's Restaurant for The Hubster the night we met). Since we couldn't steal one, we wondered if we could buy one. Didn't you know you can buy anything, for a price? I declared that I would ask the waitress if we could buy one. She came around again, and it was time to suck it up and ask. I'll be honest with you, I almost chickened out. I do not like to stick my neck out with strangers, even for something as small as a coffee cup. But, I asked:

Me: Can we buy a coffee cup?

Her: You mean one of our coffee cups?

Me: Yeah.

Her: Ummm, I don't know. That's something I'd have to ask the owner.

(At this point, she walks away. We think this is the end of it, figuring the owner isn't around. Then we see her walk to a table in the far corner, filled with four men of varying ages. She has a short conversation and returns to our table.)

Her: He says $4.00.

Me: So, do you want one [Campbell]?

Campbell: (thinking) Uh, yeah, I think so.

Her: Do you want pink or blue?

Campbell: Oh, there's blue?

Her: Yeah, here. (holds up green coffee cup)

Campbell: I'll take a blue one.

I'm sure this waitress in this little diner in this podunk town thought us out-of-towners were a few crayons short of a full box. But I'll tell you, that experience was liberating.

In the recent past, somewhere around here, I started thinking a lot about asking for what I want. About not being afraid of the answer, or embarrassed by the reaction. As someone once said to me "The worst they can say is 'No'." And I'm thinking "Umm, they could say 'Are you kidding me? What kind of idiot are you? Never, in a million years, will the answer to that question ever be Yes.'" So, maybe I've got an over-active imagination. But these are the thoughts that run through my mind when I want to ask for something, and they cause me to freeze up and not voice my requests. With strangers, I am a very non-confrontational person (notice I didn't say with my family, 'cause yeah, I'm pretty confrontational there). I don't like to point out mistakes, and I'm much more likely to accept what I'm given, even if it's not right. And if I want something that isn't freely advertised, I won't ask for it. 'Cause in my little world, if they don't advertise it, it ain't for sale.

That's why this cup was such a big deal for me. It is my first step in getting Betsy-like confidence. What is Betsy-like confidence? I'll tell you. I have this friend named Betsy. She is one of my scrapbooking buddies, and we have kids similar in ages. This woman will ask for ANYTHING! You want soft-serve ice cream for the kiddies at the coffee shop where they don't sell soft-serve ice cream? She's your girl. You need plates, forks, and knives for lunch at the scrapbooking store? She'll ask. You want extra-extra lettuce for your wraps at P.F. Chang's? She'll get it for you. I so admire this about Betsy. These things don't seem like a big deal, I know. But I guarantee you that I would never ask for these things. I would be far too embarrassed and too worried about making whoever-is-helping-me work too hard. So asking for this coffee cup was a HUGE deal. Especially since it wasn't something meal related. You know, something you might expect a person to ask for: ketchup, more napkins, a straw. This was something odd. An "interesting" request that the waitresses gossip about in the break room. But, I did it! This mug represents courage for me. It means that I wasn't too chicken to ask for what I wanted.

I just thought of something. Campbell owns this mug. I will never see it again, unless I hoof it over to her house (ALL THE WAY across the street). Maybe I should ask for joint custody. You know, weekends at my house. Or I could just steal it (since I'm so good at that), and hide it when she comes over to my house. Like "By the way. If your coffee cup goes missing, Feather stole it." Or maybe I will print out that picture and hang it on my wall. Make a giant pop-art poster of The Little Green Cup to remind myself everyday to be brave. To step outside my comfort zone. To not be afraid to ask for what I want. Because, after all, they can only say no.


P.S. I took this picture with my new camera. I set the cup up on a box covered with a white tablecloth. Looking at it now, I realize the angle is kind of weird, and the cup just But oh well. With the help of my photography classes, I'll get better.


sunshine scribe said...

Good for you, you cup-getting-diva. I understand what you mean. Sometimes those small things really push us to think.

MrsWndr said...

I'm proud of you Boo! And the picture looks fine, until I started reading it I thought it was from offline or something. I hope this small thing will motivate you instead of just being motivation. And by the way, was it just me or did Jade sound so stupid last night? She called the elephant preposterous, did she not? Like it was a good thing! It's like whatever the judges say goes in one ear and out the other. How long do they put up with that? I'm so frustrated that she's still on the show. Rrrr!

dani said...

oh my gosh i almost cried when i read this. if i didnt have my girl stuff last week i would think i was pregnant. i have a very weak stomach lately also. so back on the point. i am glad you aske for what you want. i have found myself doing that sometimes when i never would have before the kids. they have opened me up alot.

i think that not asking people for things might be from our up bringing. it is either we were brought up to not make the waitress job harder (ie. cleaning up and putting away our trays even though that is what they get paid to do.) Or we were always embarassed when mom would start asking for stuff and we never wanted to be like her. but let me tell she has gotten a lot of stuff done with her straight forwardness.

I just cant figure which one it is...maybe a little of both