When you look at me what do you see? Someone who is confident, loud, outspoken. Someone who is a little gobby? Somebody who isn’t afraid to say what they think and who has no problems walking into a room full of strangers or get onto a stage and sing a song? What if I was to tell you that this person hides a secret anxiety?
Many people in fact most of you would be shocked to realise that I absolutely hate new situations. If you have ever experienced going somewhere with me you may or may not have noticed I will always open the door and let you walk in there first.
And I am aware this sounds crazy considering at the age of 17 I packed a bag and travelled all the way from my home in Shropshire to a holiday park near Berwick-upon-Tweed knowing nobody at all ready to start a job where I would be stood on stage every single night in front of people singing and dancing.
Have I always felt like this?
I’ve always hated walking first into places, that isn’t something new. I don’t know what it is. I’ve just never liked the thought of walking into somewhere and everyone staring at me. But as I’ve gotten older its progressively gotten worse. In fact I would say in the last 12 months it has probably heightened.
I will find every excuse under the sun not to go anywhere or do anything. Which is a new thing to me seen as I absolutely love meeting new people. Spending time with friends and family. Strangely it has taken until today for me to pin point exactly when it all changed and what made me become somebody who preferred to stay in my house rather than go outside.
I used to love parties, love nights out with friends. I was extremely sociable and my friends will tell you I would enjoy having a laugh and drink. Tonight I am going out with friends and that same feeling has crept up on me. The one of nervousness, dread. The old me would have just been excited. The old me would have been counting down the hours. Figuring out what time I would be jumping in the shower and starting my pre-drinks.
So what do I think has caused it?
Like I said until today I didn’t actually realise what had changed me from little miss party girl into little miss stay at home. That was until I was scrolling through Facebook this morning and up on my news feed popped up that there was a boxing fight tonight. Immediately my stomach knotted and my night out tonight turned from something I was nervous about but looking forward to into something that just gave me a feeling of fear.
In that moment I realised why I no longer planned nights out, why I no longer tried to arrange things locally. Why I preferred my creature comforts.
It all came flooding back
A few years back , well actually it was more like 7 years ago. I went out with a group of friends. We went down the road to a local pub and there was a boxing match on. David Haye was fighting. We were having a great night and went outside to the beer garden area. I had only had 2 drinks so was perfectly sober. A girl was sat on another bench outside. She kept shouting. I didn’t think she was talking to me, after all I was just sat there having a laugh with my friend.
I could see she was getting more and more rowdy so I decided to move from one side of the table to the other. I didn’t want to get involved. I stood up off the bench and started to move from one side of the table to the other but as I did the girl jumped up and launched at me out of nowhere. From behind she started pummeling me in the head. Punch after punch. The security took her off me and lead her away. I remained calm and didn’t retaliate or hit back.
Tonight there is another boxing match
And again I am going out. I am not going to lie the thought fills me with dread but I am going out with a great bunch of girls and I’m sure we will have a fantastic time. I’m sure I’m just over thinking everything. I know that once I’m out I will have a great time but I also know that this is getting worse. I have gone from going out every weekend to once a month to every few months and now maybe twice a year and even then I will try to get out of it.
I am going to force myself to go out because I don’t want to end up living in fear of leaving my house altogether. I’ve noticed that I really don’t like leaving my house not just to go on a night out but for other things like going to the shops or to visit friends.
I have never been like this and I don’t want to be like this so I am going to challenge myself to make sure that I get out and about more and to try to stop this from happening, I may have been knocked down by people but I certainly have no intentions of letting it affect me forever … not if I can help it anyway!