i have social anxiety
i have social anxiety. really only in crowds of people i don't know, tho, and i can usually get through it just fine if nothing weird happens, so i don't consider my issue to be a proper disorder. i had a therapist once that referred to it as such, but i have a hard time labeling myself that way because i don't want to scapegoat something i know i can overcome with a little determination.
i've been fine for quite a while. i had a major depression last year that left me unable to leave my house at all without self-medicating. this was just before i moved to california. once i got here, i decided it was time for a whole new life and it was time to deal with that little issue, so i started chasing hal sparks and chris bonno around la. hal was getting ready to tape Charmageddon and they were doing a lot of shows around the city. the first time i met them, i got a tingle deep in my spine that made me feel like i'd be safe around them. and i always was. even in the beginning, they always took at least a moment to say "hello" and "thanks for coming" or "it's good to see you again." i took this as motivation to keep leaving my house, and it worked. i got better. better enough that i felt okay flying across to the country to philly for a weekend that they was performing there. never would have happened before.
fast forward to this past friday night..
rick overton and dylan brody are two of my favorite people. chris was doing a benefit show in venice where they were both scheduled to perform as well. so, i went. now, i don't know if you've ever been to venice on a friday night, but i hadn't. and this was something called "first friday" which i can only assume means "WOOOOO PARTY PARTY FOOD TRUCKS PARTY!" to everyone in southern california. i think most of la was on abbot kinney blvd that night. so, i was already getting kindof nervous about this. but i parked ( very very far away ) and walked over to the the place. ( it's right by a place called Lemonade, btw. and Lemonade is kindof awesome. )
i get there to find that rick had something else going on and didn't stay for the second show. which was fine. dylan, chris, and jann karam were still there. and chris' friend mark wilde was there as well. i'd met him once before and he's awesome too. so.. show starts. everything's good. a few people come in late as jann is at the microphone. she pokes at them. then...
random dude comes in. he is obviously heavily afflicted by his substance of choice. i'd guess coke or meth. his energy was very wrong for the event and group. he was loud. he interrupted jann's set. he couldn't sit in one chair and kept moving around the room. everyone started to get nervous about him. i was getting very nervous and could feel the panic starting to rise. but - he was across the room from me and i was sitting between mark and chris - two men that i know and trust and love - so i squashed the panic and stayed at a reasonable level of nervous.
then paris ( that's what i'm going to call him because he said he lived there in the middle of one of his outbursts ) moved to a chair within my proverbial bubble - which is pretty damn big when i'm out of the house. there was an empty chair between me and chris where dylan had been sitting and i asked chris to move into it because the threat had gotten too close and i needed to be surrounded by safety. the chair he was in was next to a beautiful african american woman with gorgeous fluffy hair. he couldn't sit still and every time he broke out in laughter, he'd lay his head over on her shoulder. she turned to look at her friend and seemed uncomfortable and confused about what she should do. now, i was freaking the fuck out. and he was interrupting a comedian named tye ( forgive me for forgetting his last name ), a gorgeous, very funny man who was trying to reason with him from the microphone. no luck.
he was asked - politely - to leave. several times. i am not convinced that he was coherent enough to understand what was being asked of him or why. dylan had been on the other side of the room and as i looked toward him, i saw something snap and he'd obviously had just about enough of this. and he moved. he came to my side of the room and asked the man to leave. i say asked.. it was more like dylan wrapped his arm under paris' arm and behind his head and escorted him from the building. i took chris' guitar and chris went with dylan to the door.
everything was getting louder from outside the door, so mark went to see if he could help. now my safety net was completely gone from me. so i went to the porch as well. partly because i needed to be where my protectors were so i'd feel safe, and partly because i needed to see that they were also safe. there was an argument at the steps into the building. the lady taking ticket money had returned the man's twenty dollars, but he was screaming something about fifty. he held on to the railing while dylan held on to him. someone was in the man's face - i think it was mark - and the man was asking to be punched in the face.
i stood on the porch next to salazar ( who is amazing - if you don't know him yet, rectify that quick fast and in a hurry ). dylan changed his hold on paris to include an arm around his throat. he applied the appropriate pressure to the appropriate place on the man and then... the man's resistance faultered. paris folded under dylan's controlled strength. dylan sat him carefully on the sidewalk outside the gate.
after a few minutes, it was over. the man walked away and our men returned to the room to finish the show.
chris' set was fantastic. one of the best i've seen him do - and being his friend, i've seen him do a lot.
there was another performer between chris and dylan, so mark graciously accompanied me outside to get some air. we had a good little talk. we went back inside for dylan's performance.
if you've never seen or heard dylan perform, you really should. he is very refined, proper, sophisticated, controlled. but not this night. he let the adrenaline and the testosterone take hold and lead his performance. he did a piece that i had read in one of his books but never heard aloud - a story about his martial arts training. and it was very fitting for the occasion. he was slightly rattled, he was loud, he swore, he kept putting his hand to his head.
i was still somewhat nervous that paris would reappear, and because we'd left and come back i was no longer next to mark but in front of him and wide open to the room. even so.. the protector's aura of Sir Dylan Brody filled the room, touched me, and made me feel safe.
the next night ( last night ), my friend brian crow had a show at universal city walk. i wanted to go. i didn't want to go. i went. sortof. i had been looking for an excuse not to go. then realized i'd been doing exactly that and forced myself to go. i got there and valet parking was full. this was exactly the excuse i wanted ( not "needed" mind you, "wanted" ) to skip the process of getting out of my car and exposing myself to a crowd of people who may or may not have contained someone like paris. i should have risked it. for my friend. and for myself. but i took the easy way out last night and went home. i am disappointed in myself, and i hope my friend understands that my not showing up wasn't because i didn't want to see his show. it was a weakness of mine that i seem to need to conquor again.
October, 03 2010 under self