One of my many faults is an overwhelming desire to make sure other people are comfortable. The desire is greater than fulfilling my own needs for comfort and many times it is the source for great anxiety. The chatter in my mind can get very loud in public settings as I fret about others around me. “Am I being too loud? Am I being too silly? Are they wishing I wasn’t here?” I’m not sure why I don’t give myself the same level of concern as I do others, but I have always been like this.
This weekend I found myself nearly ill with anxiety over being in a crowded and incredibly silent waiting room waiting for our scheduled car maintenance. I have never been in a waiting room with this many people and had it be so still and quiet. If I was by myself I would have been able to merge into the flow of the mind traffic in the room, but I was with W. W has come with me to all of our car oil changes and tire rotations because the kid LOVES being around mechanics and around cars and he zings with the energy of the place. I was shocked to find the room so quiet – we were like a marching band walking in with our backpack of “keep busy” activities.
Even though W was 100% amazing with his crowded room behavior, all I could think of was how uncomfortable we must be making everyone else. How everyone must be judging me for bringing my kid. How I was ruining their perfect and still quiet on a Saturday morning. I felt responsible for these people and their feelings and comfort. I felt responsible for them more than I felt it for myself.
I stepped out and asked a service tech if there was another place with more noise that W and I could wait and he pointed us towards a completely empty waiting room up a hill in the parts department. I can not tell you what a relief it was to walk into an empty room and not be met with my need to tend to someone’s emotional well-being.