Friday, May 11, 2012

Advice to my eighteen year old self

People don't always believe me when I tell them, but I'm a very shy person. I am incredibly nervous meeting new people and I suffer horrible anxiety going to new places.

Most people don't see this side of me, they see the Lucy who's 'been coming here for years', or the Lucy who you've 'known since high school'. I'm not at all shy once I'm comfortable. But the anxiety I experience in new places can be crippling.

I talk a lot about preferring to stay home on a Saturday night and that's not because I don't like to have fun with friends, or get dressed up, or watch live music. It's because I'm terrified at the thought of being somewhere I'm yet to establish myself as comfortable. So I say home, where I can be myself and I'm not at all worried about what anyone thinks of me.

Something has changed for me in the last six months quite dramatically. I'm not sure if it's an age thing, if it's a new group of friends, or just because I'm finally accepting I am who I am, but the anxiety that made me sneak out of pubs and wait in the car for two hours for my boyfriend, is going away.

I went to the Swinburne Aviation Society trivia bonanza last night, and I didn't hate it.  I wasn't nervous. I went with two of my closest friends, and we had to join up with some pilots (so we didn't fail miserably) and I was okay with that - in fact, I quite liked it. I had to expose my 'I'm actually really awful at general knowledge, especially geography' shame to new people, and I wasn't afraid of being judged. You know what, I spent the whole night not even worrying about how people were feeling about my new haircut.

I couldn't help but wonder how different my Uni years would have been if I could have attended the Entrepreneurship society functions with the same level of confidence I felt last night. If I would have been able to approach the people I wanted to be in group assignments with, instead of forming that group with whoever was left.

I don't live life with regrets, but if I could have the chance to talk to my eighteen year old self, I'd tell her she's fabulous, just as she is, right now. Even with those few extra kilos she hates, with the pimples on her forehead, and with the chest that none of the boys are talking about. I'd tell her the best way to make friends, the best way to meet boys and the best way to get what you want is to be confident.

I think I finally figured out what confidence was last night. It's called - don't give a shit. Because if people don't like you exactly how you are, don't worry - somebody else will. And I promise, you'll like them better too.

I also speak from experience when I say I've had some pretty wonderful loves in my life, and not one of them has ever cared about the few extra kilos I hate, the pimples on my forehead, or been disappointed in the chest that none of the other boys are talking about.

Oh, and we won the trivia night.


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