Yesterday, I shared the story of my anxiety. I let it lie to me for years, control me and make me believe I wasn’t good enough. But there are lots of things I’ve done which seemed impossible because for too long I believed the anxiety. Sharing them has reminded me how huge these little things were to me and hopefully they’ll show that even the little victories can be momentous.
Use Tinder at all, let alone successfully. Okay, so I did have some help from my best friend when I used it, but having a profile at all and messaging random men would have been unthinkable when my anxiety was at its worst.
Go on a date. Given I didn’t go on a single date until I was 20 and it was a total cringe-fest, you can probably understand why this seemed impossible. The thought of someone having any interest at all in me was enough to turn my stomach. There was just so much potential for me to do something embarrassing or uncool. Dating can make you feel so vulnerable, especially when you’re genuinely searching for a relationship. I always felt it was worth opening up though, because the response to that vulnerability can show which people are worth pursuing and those that aren’t worth your time.
Solo international travel. Look, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was absolutely shit scared of flying overseas even though visiting the UK had been my dream since I was about 10 and read my first Jacqueline Wilson book. I never wanted to do a tour because people, UGH. See my point about dating for the reasons why hanging out with a bunch of strangers is never an appealing option. But that meant travelling solo, which brought up a fresh lot of fear. I mean, I’m obsessed with true crime so I’m sure you can guess where my brain was headed right? But traveling alone was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and showed me I am brave enough.
Perform in a musical. Okay, so it wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do this necessarily because I’d never really considered it before. Actually being on stage as part of the ensemble in an amateur musical wasn’t even what made me most anxious. I’ve performed in quite a few dance groups over the years, but joining this musical was the first time I’d become part of a new social group since university. Holy shit was that hard. But it’s also how I met three of my closest friends.
Go to the gym. When I was a teen, I was overweight and outrageously self-conscious. I lost weight without ever setting foot in a gym. Five years ago the thought of going to a regular gym class and feeling comfortable working out amongst all those huge weightlifters would have made me want to curl up in a ball. Well, I just got back from my regular gym class where I’ve made friends and feel like part of the team. Weird.