I can’t remember exactly when I lost all confidence in myself. I can remember the last year at primary school being courageous enough to raise my hand in class and after Summer going to secondary and practically being mute.
A new setting at a vulnerable time in life, I held back anticipating judgement and then was too afraid to break that quiet image thinking it would attract more attention because that was all anyone had known me as.
Years have passed and I’m still struggling to break that image and build back the confidence of my child self, who played lead in a school play, stole an orange wig on holiday to put on a show for the hotel guests and showed off my little Spanish with “Hips Don’t Lie” with the window open because it was “too hot” and not because I had already spied neighbours to impress.
Through my social anxiety, I’ve become a master at cancelling last minute because “I’m busy” … at home, on the couch, eating seasoned potatoes (what I call Doritos to justify eating them as a meal).
And I’ll be real. Any prospect of a new setting gives me the shits. I actually find once I’m there I’m fine but it’s the countdown that gives me butterflies and, flapping away, they create wind. Any slight chill and a few colon acoustics later, my butt is like:
“Trigger me timbers … I need to drop a log.”
If you’re lucky enough to have a good memory – think of how much life you’ve already lived through.
Sometimes when you’re facing struggle or have been struggling for some time and you’re asked about your past, you count the start of your life from when it really stopped.
If I need quick empowerment to get through something or overcome anxiety, I take myself through my memories.
How quickly you feel experience or that you’ve really lived when you think of your confident, carefree younger self. All the moments you needed and were given love. Your vulnerability and the times you were genuinely hurt.
Don’t you feel overcome with the need to fiercely protect this child? I think of my brothers, my mother, my father etc. and repeat the process. I now have other people to do this one thing for. Whose love I can look forward to after this one thing is over.
I think of my ancestors with all their struggles, my teachers and wonder if they still think of me, my classmates who I loved but could never open up to, all the people I met on travels, the other students I met in the 3 months before I quit university, the colleagues in all the work I have received.
I understand that just as I am looking at myself through my memories, my future self is watching me now.
I can now recognise facts such as I am worried, nervous, may feel like shit, may even look like shit but I also couldn’t give a fuck … because I will literally see none of you bitches again.