Let's not meet

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ginnifer Goodwin, an actress starring in ABC's "Once Upon a Time" and the hit movie "He's Just Not That Into You," stopped by my small college town this weekend to film a documentary on the school's campus.

Many of my friends were super excited about this, sharing photos with Goodwin and stories of how nice she was on social media. Those who were not in town at the time lamented their situation, saying they wished they could have been there to meet Goodwin, too.

I do not wish I was there, and it has nothing to do with Goodwin herself. I'm sure she's a nice person. I have no reason to believe otherwise and don't feel the need to assign a personalty to someone I've never met based on the way she does her job.

But I do know that, had I met Goodwin last night, I would have frozen in place and spurted out nonsense while wildly waving my arms to emphasize this nonsense. I thank my anxiety for this reaction.

Since I was a kid, I've had anxiety. It used to manifest itself by creating red patches of skin on my face, making it impossible for me to hide my emotions when that was all I wanted to do.

Notably, I recall reading a book in the high school library and seeing a boy I liked walk through the door. He was talking with his friend and ignoring me, which was exactly how I wanted the situation to occur. Unfortunately, he decided to move to the table where I was sitting to talk to my friend.

As they talked, my face reddened more and more. Trying to maintain the facade of all being well, I slammed down my book, screamed, "IT'S ROSACEA, OK?" and ran out of the library. No one was talking to me, so I could have just kept quiet and waited for him to go away rather than claiming to have a skin disorder I'd only heard about on late night infomercials.

Years later, I had the opportunity to meet my favorite singer-songwriter at a small performance in Nashville, Tenn. My then-boyfriend urged me to speak to the singer despite my urging that I'd make a mess of things. This certainly added to the list of reasons we eventually broke up.

I stood face-to-face with my favorite musical artist and had no idea what to say. The singer thanked me for driving so many hours out of my way to come to the show, so I told him that it was OK because I got away from college for a few hours.

Sadly, he did not hear me over the loud music and asked me to repeat myself. I did, just as the music quieted.

"I HATE COLLEGE!" I screamed.

Things have changed a bit now. Now, I am Sam the Reporter, and I find it much easier to speak with people who make me nervous. I could probably even speak with a celebrity in an interview and not scream at them or run away.

Sam the Person, though, will never be capable of meeting a celebrity without creating an embarrassing spectacle. While I like Goodwin's work and would hypothetically enjoy meeting her, I am sure that I lucked out by no longer living in my college town when she visited it.

I'd just have added to my photo album of me awkwardly side-hugging celebrities while displaying crazy eyes, and I think that album is pretty full.

* * *

Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com