How Rainbow Rowell helped me beat anxiety – for one night anyway.

Wow. Okay. So. This post contains two big things for me – the first being hearing Rainbow Rowell speak, and meeting her after. The second, and it ties in with the first, is how I (barely at times) overrode the anxiety that tends to rule my life – for a night anyway.

About… a month and a half to two months ago I got an e-mail from my county library system. Important to note that my city library isn’t a part of the county system, and I’m not exactly sure how I ended up getting this email. Anyway, I found out that Rainbow Rowell (and Markus Zusak!- more on that later) were going to be in my area. I waited a bit too long and wasn’t able to get meet and greet tickets for Rainbow Rowell, but I was signed up for her talk that night. One of my best friends was going to try to join me. I was, obviously, beyond stoked. Rainbow Rowell! I love her books and relate especially to Cath in Fangirl – the whole not going to the dining hall because of anxiety was me in college… both times.

Day of the event, my friend can’t make it and it’s snowing/icing outside. I decide that if I can find a fairly easy way to the library she will be at I will try to go on my own. I am terrified to do this. I DO NOT want to go alone. I don’t do well at all in unknown places with lots of people I don’t know when someone is with me, so imagine how I can be when alone. I realize this chance may not come again for a long time, if ever, and get in my car and make the drive.

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Oh so blurry, but its Rainbow FREAKING Rowell!

 

She spoke for nearly 90 minutes.  I teared up when she came onto the stage.

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Seriously, guys.  It was a life changing moment for me.  For nearly 90 minutes I got to hear an author I adore speak, and I was so captivated by her words that for most of that 90 minutes, the anxiety was pushed back just enough.

When the talked ended we were informed that Rainbow would be singing books.  ALL the books, but only personalizing one.  Being by myself was a slight advantage at this point because while people gathered their things and waited for their friends, I was able to maneuver around them a bit and get in the line, so I wasn’t standing alone in line with my anxieties for too awful long.

I brought the three books I have in hard copy.  Eleanore & Park, Landline, and of course – Fangirl.  I was set to have her personalize Fangirl for me.  I stood in line and just stared at her… she was so attentive to every person who was there.  Reading her interviews and twitter feed only scratch the surface of how amazing she really is.  Then, finally, it was my turn.  Shaking and teary eyed I get up to her and hand her my books.  Where she personalized TWO of the three for me, as I explained to her my kinship to Cath and she shared her own anxiety story with me.  I told her how came alone, but I wasn’t willing to miss her even in the storm of anxiety and she looked me in the eye and told me how happy she was that I made it there.

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In short, it was amazing.  So much so that today at work when I was telling some co-worker friends the story, they said I was glowing.  I was absolutely excited about meeting her and having my books signed.  That still hasn’t worn off. But I was also proud that for one evening, just for a few hours, I managed to beat my mind at it’s own game.