Imposter Syndrome

1

images

Wiki describes Imposter Syndrome like this:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

“Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”

Impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achievers, but it is said that 70% of us will experience it at some point in our lives, so it is more common than first thought. It is true though that those who are more brilliant tend to suffer from it more extremely.

I can only speak for myself, but imposter syndrome is something I have encountered at every step of my life. In every job I have ever had I have never been able to shake the feeling that they are going to rumble me, and that I will be fired for not being good enough. That one day someone will request a meeting with me and say “You shouldn’t be here.” Every time that I receive praise on how well I am doing I smile awkwardly and try to give them an excuse as to why I “appear” to be doing so well.

When I first started my therapy practice it plagued me more than ever. I was convinced that one day a client would look across at me and say, “Who the hell do you think you are, trying to help me with my problems? You are a liar and you are going to jail for being a fraud!”

That was my honest thought on the subject. I seriously believed that I was going to get into trouble for setting up my business, despite being fully qualified, and achieving high results on all my studies, because I felt like a total fraud. It is a feeling that I still haven’t quite shifted to this day, but one that I manage a lot better.

If we take my therapy practice for an example (I even have trouble typing the words and calling it that because a little voice in the back of my head says “it’s not really though is it? It’s not a real one is it so you can’t call it that.”) I actually found that my attitude was starting to sabotage sessions. It was minute, almost imperceptible little things, but I noticed. My lack of confidence in myself was communicating to certain clients, who I could see starting to shift in sessions, no doubt unconsciously picking up on this and implanting that doubt in their own minds. I realised that if I wasn’t careful and didn’t deal with this issue, I could turn my irrational thought into a truth. I wouldn’t be good enough to do my job, and it wouldn’t be through lack of knowledge or training, or not being able to do the job well, but it would be through letting my own mental processes interfere with the work that I was supposed to be doing. I had to do something about it, but what is there to do?

I began trying to talk to myself and motivate myself before sessions. I began “rehearsing” sessions with a non-existent client. I re-read study materials (that I knew like the back of my hand) and did old exercises from modules. I even sometimes would ask a client to close their eyes to do an exercise because their inability to watch me doing what I was doing helped me relax. I began going to any little course, seminar etc to make myself feel as though I was doing something, reigniting and maintaining my frame of mind. It helped, and little by little I didn’t need to do quite so much to feel more at ease. I still go on courses and to seminars etc as I feel that really helps to keep my mind keyed in to what I am doing and boosts my confidence.

I am really good at what I do, and always have been. It was only my own mind I had to prove that to.

I know that it won’t be the last time I encounter this problem, and I know that I am not the only one who does. I think thoughts like these can rot away at the base of your brain, undermining everything you do and ruining your chance to be happier and perhaps to excel. I know I have been afraid in the past of trying something, of pushing myself, because I thought I would fail because I wasn’t good enough. But through trying different things I have found ways that help me, and if more of us spoke about these things, maybe they wouldn’t knaw away at us, and maybe more people could feel happier.

 

Impression

0

download (2)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/impression/

Some people leave an impression. Like an indent in your brain or your soul.

Sometimes it’s bad and it hurts and that scarred piece of you will never be the same, always bearing the imprint of the impression left behind. But let’s not talk about negatives.

Let’s talk about the people who’s impression makes you better. I only have a very small handful of these, but they are like a magic tonic for the soul.

Just thinking about the way someone looks when they smile can make my chest swell and my face wear my own unbreakable smile. A throwaway comment or funny quip, otherwise meaningless, can sum up someone’s personality and every reason why you love them, and it fills a tiny part of you. I get a text and my face splits in two because the person I am talking to is so beautifully them, mischievous and playful, and witty and them and I love them for every reason and no reason. These people have left their impression on my soul, people who I will always and forever have alongside me, in my heart and in my brain. Something about them has made me better, made me more whole, and I can only hope I have done the same for them.

Each of these people, and each moment makes me. Instead of the imprint taking away, it shapes, molds, and fills me up with the things that I think really define and create my life. Not the long list of achievements, or the long list of things I haven’t got round to achieving, but the long list of times I have felt that imprint tingle within me, and smiled because one of my favourite humans is there.

Growing Old Reluctantly – It’s my birthday and I’m terrified.

0

download

It is my birthday on 5th May. I shall be 29 years old, and that is possibly the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me (or is about to happen).

Why does this feel so terrifying?

Perhaps in my head I associate being in your 20’s as the time to grow as a person, achieve, make connections, set your life out and get your shit together. It is the time to blossom, to have the magical moment where you become a person.

I do not feel yet like I am quite a person. Still a piece of plaster-cine in need of molding.

My peers look at me expectantly, as though they too expect me to be a fully assembled person, and I am afraid I just am not. They live wonderful lives of conformity, doing all the things society deems we should at this age, marriage, kids, mortgages, things that I  have no interest in.

I want to go to a city centre and take black and white photographs of pidgeons and weird buildings.

I want to discover a weird bar and drink there all day talking to weird and fascinating people.

I want to meet random people and invent a new sport.

I want to listen to music loud and let it fill and nourish my soul.

I want to buy some super soakers from a pound shop and chase my friends around a town centre. But my friends don’t want to do that.

 

They want to go home in their finance cars, to a home that they have bought, where a spouse awaits with a meal and an evening in front of the telly where they tell each other about their days and then go try to make a baby.

Trying to make a baby sounds like the worst thing you can do to sex. How to make it go from sexy to a regimented boring outcome orientated activity.

But these are just my opinions. I support all choices, and I am happy for people who want to live that life, any life, but it is not a life for me. I feel increasingly isolated in my beliefs and outlook.

Increasingly I see people who are accomplished, grown up looking, fully functioning people, who I assume are older than me, only to find out that they are actually some years younger than me. I don’t know if I look old, I see my face everyday so can’t judge, but I probably do.

I can no longer use the excuse “because I’m only young”.

Mortality starts to become a little more real when you find yourself doing something without thinking of the consequences, and then hurting yourself.

My body has changed (largely because of the implant) but I am sure were I younger I would find it easier to shift the excess weight.

Yet inside I feel unchanged. Wiser, better, stronger, but not a grown up yet.

On the plus side I thought about turning 30 next year and started hyperventilating, so 29 isn’t that bad….

 

 

Lessons from old friends

0

life lessons - text in wood type

This week some old friends have given me pause for thought.

I’ve never been good at explaining things.

I am a naturally very quiet person, but my brain is very noisy. I have what feels like a thousand thoughts a minute, all jumbling and fighting for room, a constant hum of white noise rattling around, and I think that on the rare occasions where I do open my mouth, or try to convey a thought or idea, so many of these thoughts come tumbling out, shouting over each other, too quick for me to keep up, that key points are lost, and all I succeed in doing is confusing those around me and frustrating myself. This is the main reason why I have so many blogs. An avenue for chaos and a way to siphon ideas out of my head, much like Dumbledore and his Pensieve. It is hard to keep track, sometimes, of what you are thinking, where you are going, and what you are doing.

But, this week, a few friends have been invaluable in helping to organise and declutter my thoughts.

As most of you know from my various blogs and ramblings, I have struggled for a few years now with being “unsatisfied”. Chasing something but not knowing what it is, feeling unfulfilled and bored and not quite sure what the fuck I am doing with my life. I have tried many different things over the past 4 years in an attempt to quieten this feeling, to fill the hole, but none of them have worked. They have had the wonderful temporary effects of novelty and excitement, but I have always quickly returned to feeling a bit empty.

I have blamed my job a lot over the last couple of years, believing that I needed to change and be self-employed, and starting lots of crazy schemes (and some not so crazy that have actually worked really well), but have ended up with no time for myself or others, as I am busy running around trying to build and run an empire, in the vain hope that this will calm my unease and discomfort at life. Recently, I took on another venture – The Hippy Shop – and whilst this really did make me feel happy, and that it could be something that filled the hole, I quickly became burnt out. It was just too much, and I would moan to anyone within earshot that if I could just quit my job, things would be fine.

Eventually there came a make or break moment with the shop, and I chose to decline and walk away. I was too scared to quit said well-paying stable job, and jump into the unknown. It was the right and sensible decision in the end and as sad as it was to do this, I actually felt a huge sense of relief, and I realised that it was all too much. I am not infallible and capable of running three businesses, a full time job, a degree, an allotment and trying to have a semblance of a life. This may seem rather obvious, but the intensity of the void inside that I try to fill, has only grown over the years, until it has become all-consuming and apparently I was willing to go to incredible lengths to fill it.

That said, the shop had succeeded in plugging the vortex for a few months, and now the emptiness seemed more vast than ever, and everything just a little bit more pointless. As most of you will know, I have been depressed, not tidying my house, looking after myself, not going out much and allowing myself to be consumed by this.

Anyway, I booked a week off work and agreed to meet with a couple of old friends last week, and in doing so have come to some realisations that may help this overwhelming pit of fuckery.

Like any good narrative, there are three parts – three friends – a fitting beginning, middle and end.

First friend. Affectionately called fuck-face normally, but will be referred to as JB. Haven’t seen JB since Halloween, and met up on Tuesday for drinks and musings. Our meetings are usually very philosophical and deeply personal, no catching up to be done, just straight to the nasty bits. Due to train station confusion, and complete lack of communication, we ended up in Cambridge, meeting much later than we planned. We plunged straight in to heavy topics as we downed expensive beers at The Eagle, and whilst I won’t bore you with the details, as it always gets a bit brainstorm-y and mad, but we had some interesting conversations on self-restriction and time management, more specifically the lies we tell ourselves concerning these two things.

We discussed our shared opinion that we “did not have time” for so many important things, and discussed how true this statement was and began examining the meta elements (not to be confused with meta tags!) and how we both participate in small self-sabotaging behaviours. I will not discuss JB’s issues obviously, but one of my own is the fact that due to a reaction to a contraceptive implant I have gained 2 stone over the last year. I hate it and I am not going to get into that particular subject, but I have been known to be frustrated and moan at how slowly the weight is coming off, as I “don’t have time” to go hit the gym crazy hard, or take classes, go for walks etc. In reality, I could have done more. I could be doing more. This “lack of time” that I describe is in my head.

I left at the end of the night with feelings of greater responsibility for my actions, rather than blaming external variables as is so easy to do. I always find this a great grounding feeling, accepting responsibility to the extent to which you truly are is a humbling feeling, and clears all bullshit, leaving just you and your actions, behaviours, interactions, motives etc. It is also a great frame of mind for organising and examining. So it put me in a contemplative mood for the week. I have been trying to find something to pull me out of this depressive funk that I have been in, so when presented with an opportunity to hash things out with JB, I grabbed it, and it helped as I knew it would.

Second friend. This was a friend that I had not seen in over 10 years, and who I was, if I am honest, quite nervous about seeing again, especially as I was a depressed mess, although I didn’t tell him that. I felt quite tempted to call it off until I was in a more awesome place and state of mind. On my way to meet him from the train station my palms started sweating, something that hasn’t really happened to me before, and in my head I thought how grateful I was that I didn’t have mom’s spaghetti down my sweater. Then I chuckled out loud on the bus and got strange looks which didn’t make me feel any better about the situation.

The friend in question is one of only a few people on the planet that has the ability to knock me off kilter. Increasingly these days I find myself feeling socially awkward, so I expected this to be the ultimate in awkward. Surprisingly I felt perfectly comfortable. He spoke at one point of drunken adventures and meeting new people, and it dawned on me that I haven’t gone out and met new people in ages. Sure, you do meet new people, but my feelings of awkwardness intervene and I actively shut people down. I am “too busy” to make new friends. Yet here should/could have been a most awkward situation (we were never very good at communicating as teenagers in the first place) and yet I was perfectly comfortable. Through hanging out with him I came to realise a few other things.

  1. He did some magic with my laptop and phone and fixed a whole bunch of shit , for which my laptop was probably eternally grateful and was probably in heaven, being touched by someone who actually had an idea of what they were doing. Watching him was fascinating, he didn’t do anything massively impressive, but I have always loved watching people do things that they are good at. I love watching people enter a zone of inner confidence, where they know their shit, it’s beautiful. I love to hear people talk about things they are passionate about, things that they geek over, even if I don’t fully understand, it gives me the same feeling, it’s beautiful. And I realised that I do not do this. For some years now I have not had mastery over anything, not geeked out over anything, I have not pushed myself, and I have nothing that makes me feel like that. I need to.

2. He had a cool little electronic gadget (god I sound like a fucking pensioner) I don’t know what you would call it, but it was like the world’s smallest keyboard and was capable of recording music and looping it all together. I was fascinated by it, and wished he had shown me more, or that I had asked what the fuck it was. Again I watched as he fiddled with buttons, and set up a couple of basic loops, and it was great to watch him. I commented that I own a keyboard but haven’t touched it for a couple of years and missed dicking around on it. Watching him reminded me of my childhood keyboard, and how I would sit for hours recording and looping drum beats, melodies, bass lines, and how fucking entertained I would be. I loved it. I realised that even the simplest creative things are so fulfilling, they don’t have to be for work or for a purpose, they can just be because it’s fun, and I how I used to know that but have recently forgotten it.

3. It made me feel a little bit vulnerable, letting him into this depressive world I have been inhabiting, and part of me felt ashamed. I used to be an awesome person, always doing crazy things, new things, weird things, living life. I had come to believe that perhaps I had stopped being that person. He, on the other hand, has always had a spark in him, something creative, yearning for the learning, wanting to experience, crazy spark. He still has that, yet he had changed so dramatically since I last saw him. He told me things he had done and I couldn’t imagine the 14/15 year old boy I met doing those things. I mean at all. Sure we are twice as old now, but the confidence and sureness in himself that he exhibited (I cannot speak for his personal feelings) was amazing, I felt so happy for him that he was an awesome person.

But it made me wonder how two people can part ways and in 10 years go in such different directions. One of the reasons I liked him when we were teenagers is because he was so like me, and understood me and one of the things we had in common was that spark. Somewhere along the way I lost it, and I’ve known that for a while. Believing that it had been beaten out of me by life and circumstances, whatever excuses I had convinced myself of, now stood in unrest. He is going through a very difficult time at the moment, and yet here, the spark stood, untouched. It made me realise that all the “reasons” I had come up with for why I couldn’t get my fucking arse in gear were invalid. We are not all the same, this I know, but he and I were similar and I realised that I had been lying to myself.

This thought began to unravel and I began putting things together and taking things apart and questioning what exactly had I been doing with myself. All of a sudden an image of myself, stagnant, giving up and being an un-awesome person floated to the surface, as a true self portrait. I realised that I had given up on something, that I had become old before my time, throwing myself into work and into crazy things to stem the flow of “void-induced” pain.

There were some other things that made me question whether the things I told myself I was happy with, were actually simply comforting untruths, and by the time he left I was feeling quite bemused and emotional. Whilst it had been great to see him, it had left me with an awful lot to think about.

Friend number 3. She is almost twice my age and has lived an amazing life. She sailed the Atlantic, set up home in the BVI and lived there like a native for years. She has memory issues, and as such does not lie. As she says, she’d never remember them so there’s no point. Her honesty and bluntness is one of the reasons why I love her, and one of the reasons why she makes such a good friend. She also has a brilliant outlook on life.

She came round Friday lunchtime, and could tell that I was unsettled. We discussed things and her blunt dressing down of me was welcome. She said a lot of things that made a lot of sense, as she always does, and her gentle support and belief in me gave me a positive spin. She encouraged me to address the things that were on my mind, change them, be true to myself, and to get my head out of my own arse and stop worrying and procrastinating. The more she talked the more I realised that she was completely right. I had been placing self-limiting beliefs on myself and my circumstances, and I had allowed myself to wallow in the fiction of these beliefs.

I ended Friday feeling happy and inspired. I then tried to explain this drunkenly on Saturday and it all came out wrong and made me sound mental, so I then spent Sunday consumed with a regret that only alcohol can bring. I could have bowed my head and given in, that nothing had changed and carried on with my melancholy. And nothing has changed. But I can change it. I can find something in life that makes me feel creative. I can find something in life that brings that spark back. I don’t know what and it may take me a wee while to figure that out. I do still think I need a new job, but I need to think long and hard about it. I also need to stop beating myself up, and stop saying no to things, experiences. “I can’t” is something I say so fucking much and I hadn’t even realised. I want to have an awesome life, and be an awesome person again.

Who Am I?

0

untitledddddd

Who Am I? What Am I?

I have always struggled with these kinds of questions. I literally have no clue how other people perceive me. My usual answer to these questions is “quiet, a bit weird” or “laid-back, friendly?”.

I recently did an art piece using words to describe me, words that I had come up with and words I had asked other about. When it was finished I was pleased that I had come up with so many words, and I started going through them, but I realised that whilst the words written in front of me did in fact describe me, they could also describe billions of other people on the planet. Yes I was looking at an accurate description of myself, but not one that anyone would look at and guess immediately, “That’s got to be “L”!”.

So what would make someone say that? What could I put onto paper, that wasn’t a picture of myself, that would make someone say, “That’s you, definitely you.”

Is that what makes us, us? The bits in the middle, the bits that don’t seem important but that are unique to you.

I sat staring at it, feeling deflated, and wondering what I was missing. What was I?!

I am a girl woman who refers to herself as a girl when she really isn’t one anymore.

I am a woman who traces facial features, clothing hems and outlines, signs, traffic, and subtitled punctuation with her thumb obsessively, constantly and unconsciously.

I am a woman who drinks weak black decaf coffee and strong green tea. I drink weak gin and tonics and strong commercial beer.

I am full of regret and sadness.

I am full of hope and ideas.

I am a disillusioned Disney Princess who likes a drink.

I am a childless mother.

I am a walking existential crisis.

I am a health conscious smoker.

I am a workshy workaholic.

I am a depressed therapist.

I am the socially awkward life of the party.

I am a walking fucking contradiction, and I still don’t know if any of this is something people would read and say, that’s “L” right there.

What do you think constitutes as making someone “Who they are”?

Don’t touch my tattoos!

0

This is a real bug bear of mine. My tattoos are not for touching. I have tattoos on my back, and today the dress that I am wearing shows some of them. It is not a low cut dress, it simply shows a little more of the back of my shoulders than a cardboard box might. Someone at work approached me and touched one of my tattoos with their finger and said “Ooh what’s that?”.

The fact that my dress may reveal what is below is not an invitation to touch me, nor is the very ink I choose to put on my skin. People have said to me in the past, “Well you put them there, you obviously want them to be looked at.”

I do want them to be looked at…. by me!!

Incredibly, despite me being a woman, I am not put on this earth to appeal to others. My physical attributes, appearance and general being is not for others. I do not choose to dress for others to look at. I do not choose to tattoo my body for others to look at. I don’t want to be touched by random people, who think that because there is something pretty on my skin, it must be ok for them to touch it. It is an incredibly disconcerting feeling to be touched suddenly, on your bare skin, and especially in a place not many people touch, like the centre of your back.

IMG_20161102_194958

The “touchable” tattoo and dress

Don’t get me started on people who ask me “What does it mean? What does that one mean? Does it mean something to you?” The meaning is for me, not for you.  I get people “informing” me, “You are inviting people to touch and ask by putting them on your body.”

No, I am not. No woman is ever inviting you to touch, discuss, or enquire about their body unless they specifically tell you they are doing so, or tell you it is ok. If you receive from me a sparkly envelope with a beautiful invitation inside, proclaiming that I feel comfortable enough being intimate with you to have you touch me, then you may do so. If you do not receive this in the post, you may not.

It still amazes me everyday, the trouble that people have with consent and women’s bodies. I could go on for hours, but I don’t have time, I am sneakily writing this at work whilst my blood boils.

Perhaps tomorrow I will wear something that shows as many tattoos as possible, and every time someone approaches me about them I will bark like a rabid terrier until they leave me alone. Somehow, I still don’t think they would understand….

Mansplained to death

0

We all know mansplaining is a thing. Chances are everyone has been mansplained at some point in their lives (yes even men get mansplained, I watch it happen to my O.H.), but the facts are women get mansplained at a lot more often, and with more ferocity.

Well, yesterday I got mansplained at, and I acted shamefully. I smiled and agreed with him. I was so angry at myself afterwards. I thought I was angry with him (I was!), but I realised that I was more angry with myself than anything, for not setting him straight. But my genuine reaction in the moment was…..”I can’t be arsed, it’s not worth it”.

“It’s not worth having this conversation. It’s not worth arguing with this guy who is so clearly cock-sure in his limited (and wrong) knowledge. I just want to finish making my coffee, I don’t want a weird tense thing happening at work with this large intimidating, socially angry man.”

What happened was this: Somehow in an awkward, small talk situation around the kettle, the subject of my being a vegetarian came up. I said to him that I had been a vegetarian since I was a baby, as my family were vegetarians, (read, this is not a passing phase).

He mentioned that that was ok, because at least I could eat fish. I said that no, I could not and did not eat fish. He said “Ah, so you’re actually more a vegan than vegetarian.”

In my life, I have encountered this a lot. I always get asked if I eat fish. No I do not. I am a vegetarian. I do not eat fish. “Some vegetarians do.” No they don’t. Pescatarians eat fish. Vegetarians do not. If a vegetarian eats a fish, they are no longer a vegetarian are they? It is quite a simple, black and white matter. You do not get vegetarians that “sometimes” eat bacon. You do not get vegans that “sometimes” eat cheese.  You do not get vegetarians that “sometimes” eat fish.

imagesXXJHIG8J

I smiled at him in the end and said “Yeah, I guess so” because his insistence that he knew more about the issue than me was frankly quite intimidating. He is a least a foot taller than me and largely built, and has a tendency to undermine women at any given opportunity, so I acquiesced.

But I felt angry, angry that I had backed down, angry that I had allowed myself to be intimidated and angry that I felt powerless to do anything in the situation.

It was a trivial matter, but to have someone insisting that you are something you are not, to the point where they want to hear you say it back to them, to validate the fact that they are right and you are wrong, is a weird and unsettling experience.

 

 

Be Unapologetic!

0

Be Unapologetic!

I haven’t written for so long, and I recently came across some articles I had written years ago that floored me. I couldn’t believe how eloquent I sounded. They were professional sounding articles, and I could scarcely believe that I had written them. One of them, a scientific report, was gibberish to me! I had a vague idea of what I was talking about, and I remembered doing the article, but a lot of it went over my head. I remember that it didn’t take long to write, and as I sat there reading, I was filled with a sense of longing. I enjoy writing so much, there is something wonderful to me about the keys tapping away, keeping in time with my thoughts, or the pages of a  notebook getting filled, marked and wrinkled.

So I decided to create this blog. This blog is not a professional space, I have a (neglected) blog for professional work, this is just for me. To write about what I want, to write nonsense sometimes, but to let the fingers roam free as the thoughts come pouring out.

So I have mentioned to a few people that I have started a new blog, and that I am looking forward to getting back into writing again. I sent the link to a few people and asked for input on colours, layout etc.

What came back to me was all very positive and nice, but one thing kept reoccurring – “Don’t get too personal will you?” “Make it sound a bit more professional”.

Whilst I get where my loved ones are coming from, I don’t want this to be a professional blog. In fact, quite the opposite. I WANT this blog to display my flaws, dodgy grammar, typos, undesirables, emotions and imperfections.

I have a professional blog, where I double check my work, make sure it sounds right and perhaps go through two or three drafts before it gets posted.

This I want to be an out-pouring of words. A stream of consciousness. I have ideas that I would like to implement, I quite fancy interviewing some people, I quite fancy doing a few weekly fun things, but these things are 1) For me, and 2) For everyone else.

I am bound and constricted by society, to be something I am not. In my work I have to talk a certain way, behave a certain way, that does not come naturally to me. I have to remove my piercings, cover up all of my tattoos, and hide the shaved part of my head, by wearing my hair over it. I cannot dress how I want, but instead have trawled through charity shops looking for boring work clothes that won’t make me happy, but that I have to spend money on anyway. I cannot be myself around these people, there is a constant message of “Your natural appearance and being is offensive to us, please disguise it”. Now it might not sound like much to some of you, but I assure you it is exhausting.

I have found myself, in so many roles, not just work related, being bound by limitations that I have not imposed, and I find I rarely have a chance to just be me. Having a mental health issue, I spend a lot of the time trying to downplay, or cover this, which is exhausting.

So this blog is just for me. And hopefully for other people to read and enjoy too. All the flaws, mess, beauty, complication, complexity and wondrousness that makes me, me.

Social Awkwardness

0

p03dqn61

Ever put your foot in your mouth big time?

Ever lie awake at night thinking about the times you put your foot in your mouth big time?

Ever lie awake at night wondering why you don’t learn your bloody lesson and keep your mouth shut?

It is hard enough living with anxiety, social awkwardness, undiagnosed “but we all know full well what it is” mental health issues, without making things worse by saying the wrong things at the wrong time.

Sometimes I don’t know I’ve said them, which makes me feel weird. To me something might be perfectly logical, and make sense, but others react with “*GASP* I can’t believe you said that” or even worse still when they just gasp and say my name incredulously. That just makes me feel bad! I wish people would point out the exact thing that was inappropriate and tell me why so I can avoid making similar mistakes.

Recent example – my new boss (I started this job in January) is pregnant. She announced this recently via email. I congratulated her via email,  “congratulations :)”, and left it at that. She then, later that day, came back to the office I was working in. After a while I realised that it was probably the done thing to mention it again. So I went into her office and said “So, having a baby! Wow. Was it a happy accident or were you planning it?”

To my boss’s credit, she smiled and said a bit of both, but apparently this was not the right thing to say. I had mentioned it in passing to someone, who started peeing themselves laughing, and said “I can’t believe you said that, that’s hilarious”. Confused, I smiled and said “Mmm”, wondering what was so hilarious about it. So I told a few other people what I had said, and got the same reaction from all of them, although not all of them peed themselves laughing.

Now, what was wrong with what I said? It was a valid question. Only 55% of pregnancies in the UK are planned. I myself was an accident. Two other of my 3 siblings were accident, so that means out of the four of us, only one was planned. So I thought it was perfectly valid to ask that. Obviously not! If any of you can explain the gentler side of human interaction beyond the “she’s going to be excited to have a baby, you can’t ask her that”, please feel free to do so in the comments.

Other times, I know pretty much as soon as it has come out of my mouth that it wasn’t a good thing, and that it is now going to make things awkward.

A few minutes ago, one of the partners of the firm came up to me at my desk, and asked me about a mutual acquaintance of ours. I put my foot in it massively, and now am convinced that he thinks I am some sort of idiot, and is going to stop all his attempts at small talk with me, (which I would be secretly grateful for!).

Write me off as socially useless, and chuck me in the bin, I am so done!

There is a reason I live alone with a cat, and share my weekends with my equally socially awkward O.H. We can be as awkward as we want in our own home.