As a little girl I was an absolute darling. I would chatter away incessantly, to anybody, about anything. I had no fear and no paranoia.
I can possibly pinpoint a vague time in my life when that changed, but we don’t need to go into detail, really. It would muddy the waters.
Since that vague time, I’ve suffered with what I assumed was just profound shyness and general dislike of the world around me. It’s actually Social Anxiety. Most of the time it’s mild [needing a wee in the pub but not wanting to get up and walk past people, or checking that nobody is in the street before I open my front door to put my rubbish in the bin, or psyching myself up for over an hour before using the telephone], always I live with a knot in my chest and a panicky fluttery feeling in my belly, but occasionally it becomes more intense and manifests itself in a very ugly way.
And by ugly, I mean bitchy.
Next weekend we’re off to my MiLs caravan in Kent for a couple of days. We’ll pop over to Belgium for cigarettes and washing powder again whilst we’re there. We’ll probably enjoy Fish & Chips for tea and I’ll play with my camera.
The Blokey took my MiL to Kent yesterday. When he got home we had a conversation which went something like this …
Are we picking your brother up on Friday and taking him?
Oh, is he still going?
He’s coming down, but he’s working on Friday so he’s coming on Saturday instead.
How’s he getting there then?
And at that point my enjoyment of a weekend away – after a hard term at work – was harshly crumpled into a ball and thrown into a metal bin, where it now lies, dormant and scrunched.
BiL has a new girlfriend. We haven’t met this new girlfriend. By all accounts she’s really nice.
But I don’t know her. And I don’t like meeting new people. I find it difficult and scary. I spend the whole time thinking about what they might be thinking about me. She’ll be prettier than me, and funnier, and she won’t be quiet and shy. MiL will love her. I’ll get a really bad bellyache, because I always do in stressful situations, and no doubt I’ll be horrid to her, but it won’t be because I don’t like her, it’ll be because I’m scared and frustrated and feeling inadequate.
It sounds ridiculous when written down, I realise that.
I want to meet her. I desperately want to be friends with her. The fact that BiL wants us all to meet her means that he is serious about where the relationship is going. If she’s going to be my future SiL, then it’s important to me that we’re friends – it’s important to me that The Blokey and BiL remain close as they get older.
But why the hell can’t we meet up for lunch in the pub? Why do we have to spend an evening, a night, and a morning cooped up together in a crappy little caravan [which isn’t that little, but walls are thin and stuff]?
So, last night I was bitchy to The Blokey, and next week I’ll appear standoffish and bitchy to BiLs girlfriend, and I’ll spend this coming week with that panicky worrisome knot in my chest and belly growing bigger and bigger … And I expect that at some point I’ll take my frustration and fear out on The Blokey again, and he’ll feel inadequate again, and then I’ll just feel really bad again, and that will make my frustration worse again, and … the circle continues.
I’m an idiot. I’m aware of that. But unless you’ve ever been there, you can’t know.
Somebody slap me, please.
please God bless my paranoia and anxiousness xxx Elsabeth