This year has been a year of facing my fears - at the start of the year I made a conscious decision to 'grow a pair'. I made the choice to myself to do it and I *have* been doing it all year long.
And I am kinda proud of myself for doing it!
Things I have done/wanted to do that scare me:
1. Do more social things - so I don't always make the social events I agree to go to, I sometimes arrive late and leave early so I don't have to spend as much time there but I am trying. Every time I arrange something my brain wombles tell me no-one wants me there, that everyone thinks I am weird or odd, that no-one will actually speak to me, that I am going to do something so catastrophically awful that the entirety of Wales will banish me from their midst - melodramatic yes, illogical yes, but real thoughts and feelings? Absolutely!
But I have gone from going to enforced events 2-3 times a year to doing things a couple of times a month. And yeah, sometimes people don't speak to me but that's okay because sometimes I don't speak either, and some people think I am weird and odd and yeah that's okay too because I can be weird and odd and maybe some people don't want me there or are indifferent to whether I am there or not and that's also okay too
2. Try a sport and not just any sport but a team sport - I am not a team player, I'm not all go team. I don't get the whole high fiving thing (and not only because why the hell would you want to high five someone who has been doing an activity that is going to make them sweaty and revolting and also have they even washed their hands today?), the chants, the over emotional responses to winning or losing and so on. I don't like sharing my personal space with strangers and I don't like celebrating mediocrity like hey you tried a thing and it didn't work but well done for trying- whatever!
So clearly I had to choose a full contact team sport where people are all hot and sweaty and smelly and gross and encouraging and supportive *vom* and it was hard - not just the physical side of things because let's face it I am a fat unfit blob who is more flabs than abs - but the interpersonal skills side of it. It's like having your fear become a reality - the fear of being awful and rubbish and the worst one there and then you go and you are awful and rubbish and the worst one there! The first few sessions were hellish. People literally dripped sweat on me (and yes even typing that makes me want to throw up!), I've had to speak or rather shout stupid things out in a group of people, I've looked like a complete idiot and dick on numerous occasions, I've had to deal with the fact I suck, I've had people leaning on me, practically sitting on my lap and spinning around me and making really fucking uncomfortable eye contact. And these people are scary, they are good at what they do, they actually believe in the whole team thing! It's incredibly odd and unnerving and so hard.
I am glad I have been doing it. It has had a positive impact on my physical well being - my diabetes is so much more well controlled and this combined with going to the gym (another breeding ground for germs and oh so many feelings of inadequacy and confirmation of my own hideous fat physical appearance!) has led to me actually being a lot fitter and stronger.
I'm still not convinced by the whole team spirit thing but I am impressed watching how people work together to achieve some pretty cool things and watching the techniques and dedication of the players is, and I really hate to admit this, inspiring and kind of makes me want to be better too. I also discovered I quite like zoning out and skating around in circles.
3. Being more open - more open about my past and my mental health.
You know it's so hard to actually make the words come out of my mouth when speaking to someone to say I was in an abusive relationship, hell even typing it just makes me want to sink into a hole in the ground. There's so much shame and anxiety around it. Will people believe you, will they think you're weak and always that underlying feeling of it's all my own fault, I caused a perfectly reasonable nice person to do this thing. I have and I haven't really succeeded with this, I have managed to post on a few forums where people don't know me personally (though I also then freaked out and deleted the posts as they contained a lot of detail), I have sort of mentioned it in passing as in my ex wasn't very nice and they were abusive but not the detail and I think that's okay its progress.
I've also told several people I have OCD and I have social anxiety. I mean I haven't told everyone and certainly not work and I don't go round wearing an OCD socially inadequate freaks of GB team shirt but I am acknowledging it. I struggle to put into words when I am speaking the impact it has but considering previously the only people who knew my diagnosis were me and my GP just telling people is enough.
What's really been important for me this year though is recognising I am moving forward, it may be slow, it may be tiny steps, I may fall over but I continue to try.