Shy Girl at the Party: Reflecting on the Launch of Asheville Grit


Shy Girl at the Party: Reflecting on the Launch of Asheville Grit

  • Briar DeHaven

    Briar DeHaven is a poet, writer, and tech head who hails from the South Dakotan prairie. She is Digital Marketing Executive for the Asheville Citizen-Times, assistant editor for...

Mostly, I'm not a shy person. I'm boisterous and full of life and well, loud. But certain social situations tug at the shy part of me. The launch party for AshevilleGrit is one such occasion, and I prepare for it with trepidation and a sick feeling in my gut.

I slip on a new dress, and I drive my cute butt downtown to the Social Lounge and Tapas Bar. Truth is, as I walk up to the booth to sign in, I'm nervous. I'm not sure I'm going to know anyone. This is, other than a few gos at open mic poetry, my debut moment as a writer in Asheville. Whoa man, big stuff for a girl who just got her first tattoo on Monday.

I walk up the stairs to the rooftop bar and do what any sensible girl harboring a gnarly bought of butterflies in her stomach would do: order a drink. Cava, on the rocks, I mean straight up, I mean, in a glass. Shit, already making an ass of myself. 

I take three big gulps of the cava and launch myself into the scene. Milling through the crowd, my fears are initially met as I see only unfamiliar faces. Steered by a desire to escape, I plunge through the crowd to the balcony. I get a twisted vision of launching myself off of the balcony to a victorious splat against the pavement—an epic escape it would be.

Instead, I see Stu Helm.

Thank god for Stu Helm and his familiar face. I mean, that's a face you can't miss! His distinct beard and special smirk and a shirt that has his own damn name embroidered on it. Hey Briar! I smile at the guy I met through a series of odd comments on AshvegasHey Stu! And like that, I'm in.


The rest of the evening is a true pleasure. As my nerves relax, I'm able to break the ice with folks I've admired since moving here, and I meet people I didn't know existed. I have several free beers (which I regret the next day), and I end the evening at Nightbell (with another beer I also regret the next day). (Why do hangovers get worse with age?)

The next morning, I wake up still riding high from having conquered my shy girl fears and stumble to the bathroom to relieve myself of the many beers. I sit, reflecting on the evening, buzzing from the energy of those I met, waiting for this life-long pee to end. It ends. I flush. I wash my hands. And as I'm staring in the mirror I notice something in my left ear.

I lean in to examine...the huge gob of conditioner filling out the space of my ear. White, sticky, and so fucking noticeable I can't believe I didn't notice it when I checked myself 20 times over before entering the party. So fucking noticeable, I immediately wonder who noticed? So fucking noticeable, all I can do is laugh hysterically at the imperfection of life and myself in it. 

I dig out the huge gob of conditioner and get on with my day. I'm laughing about it still.

(Pictured above with Ian Cassleberry, Contributor to Ashvegas and Bloguin)