One of the nastier traits of an anxiety disorder is feeling like you have made a massive twat of yourself pretty much all day, every day. Having experienced a vast array of post-conversation freak-outs, I finally realised that most of the time other people had no idea you were feeling nervous and awkward. In fact, most people are far too interested in themselves to give a fuck what you are doing. People are selfish in the most glorious way.
The worst, obviously is talking to a boy you like. Someone you had undeservedly built up in your mind as a paragon of perfection, even if you barely knew them. That’s when anxiety saunters in and makes you feel lowly by comparison. The cold, hard reality of the ridiculously high standards you have placed on them mean that if they fell off the unsolicited pedestal on which you had mentally placed them they would seriously injure their back. Is that what you want? To paraplegic your crush? No, I didn’t think so.
Aside from the obvious in this post (my embarrassing love for the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, my adoration of a new notebook and my inability to spell by age 16) my main reason for posting this 1998 shocker is to show how stupid I felt any time I talked to Jonathan, sober or inebriated. I didn’t give myself a break, or understand as I now do that being a bit awkward and over zealous can be endearing if you manage it well. Hey, it’s worked well for me with many boys since.
At the ripe old age of 33, I finally understand how important it is to valuing yourself. I never had much self-esteem. No, I didn’t go out and let idiot teenage boys use me or get myself into dangerous situations like the ‘bad’ girls in movies do, before you discover in the final scenes that it was all because no one told them they were pretty when they were young. My good behaviour was down to my anxiety more than valuing myself in any substantial way. I wanted so much to be one of those crazy, ruinated, slutty girls, but looking back I know that desire was my lack of self-esteem talking rather than a lack of bravery or desire to ‘experience life’. Experience is great fun, but knowing when to say ‘this isn’t cool anymore, get the fuck off me’ should come from a place of preservation and belief rather than a mental disorder. I’m not complaining. To a certain extent my anxiety saved me until I was big, brave and ballsy enough to think I was too good for shitty treatment. I didn’t get knocked up, get a disease or get assaulted during my young stupid years and for that I am grateful.
What I know now is that however badly I think I fucked up talking to someone, made a twat of myself while drunk or vomited on my friend’s shoes (sorry Sara), I’m still pretty god damn awesome and need not let my anxiety devalue my self belief. How ever many time Ol’ Bruce (my name for my anxiety) got in there and told me I wasn’t worthy, if I had realised at 16 just how great I was, perhaps I could have been brave enough to find out my crush was human after all. And all humans are both wonderful and fallible. Me included.