Despite being what a teen novel would refer to as plain, I’ve never been shy of taking a risk. Or of doing things on my own. Frankly, I got tired of people standing me up. If I wanted to do the things, well, I had to just pull up my socks and crack on alone. That was my mindset at eighteen when I chose the hardest to reach city in Wales for my degree, at nineteen when I jetted off to America to work on a summer camp alongside adults with special needs, at twenty-one when I worked in Italy for a month, and over the past six years of sending my writing to agents ready and primed for rejection.
Despite rejection being one of my worst fears.
So, one would think I’d be used to taking risks by now. Would maybe have ‘got over’ this anxiety business. I imagine a lot of people think I’m making up the daily storm inside my head. I’m tremendously good at hiding my anxiety and feigning confidence. It’s basically a CV level skill at this point. Which is a darn good thing because, as we’ve established, for someone with anxiety issues I certainly do not steer clear of stress. It’s no wonder I already have to wear a mouth guard to bed (sexy!).
Now I’m off again, without a concrete plan, to a city where I don’t know a soul. Oh, and I’m also a neurotic mess when it comes to needing a plan (again, sexy, right?). It’ll be fine.
Fine, fine, fine… TOTALLY FINE!
Alas, here I am, stressing myself out before a move. Or rather, stressing out because I’m not feeling particularly stressed about the move, so surely I’m missing something and not thinking enough about it and HOLY SHIT WHY AREN’T YOU PANICKING? There must be things to worry about!
Luckily, a full meltdown of my nerves has been avoided by finally finding a room, and by saving like hell all year so I can afford a couple of month’s rent. That at least lessens the urgency to find a job on day one (provided I eat the cheapest food I can find and attend hardly any social gatherings… I might go back to my student ways of living off boiled eggs).
But here’s what I suppose I’m trying to say, in another needlessly long ramble (would you have me any other way?), anxiety doesn’t only look one way. Someone with anxiety isn’t always huddled under a duvet shaking. Anxiety doesn’t mean standing at the side of a party terrified to speak. I network the crap out of parties. Will my heart be racing the whole time? Yup. Will I be as exhausted as someone who’s attended two job interviews and sat their GCSEs back to back? Absolutely. I’ll do it anyway.
I still overthink every phone call I have to make (I hate phoning people!!), have days where just going outside makes me nervous, and run through every single interaction in my head a thousand times because I’m convinced everyone hates me. However, I try not to let it stop me from doing what I know the me beneath the anxiety wants to do. Of course, not every day I succeed, but here’s to trying.
Someone can have anxiety and still take risks. We can still do extraordinary things. They’ll just be far more exhausting.