This might be a bit of an epic post so fetch yourself a cup of tea or something and maybe a nice biscuit..
So Liverpool, land of the Beatles, the bizzies and Bread. OK I won't hold that last one against them. Its been a long time since then and Carla Lane has thankfully been banned from picking up a pen.
Was the first time I had met a lot of people that I know since i started writing this blog. Was interesting how many asked if they could talk to me about it. And not from a "is it OK to bring this up?" point of view but in a way that they could talk about their own experiences. The fact that this blog has made a good friend realise something about themselves in a positive way deeply moved me and I'm not ashamed that when I recalled it back at my hotel later I had a bit or a cry. Made me realise that this isn't as self indulgent and whiny as I sometimes think it is. So, NO, I don't mind talking about all this as long as you know its not the only thing I can talk about :-)
So the good stuff
- travelling was no problem. Was relaxed and barely gave way to any negative thoughts. When they did occur I was able to bat them away
- the Mingle itself was good, I'm not the greatest with large groups and felt more at home when only a dozen of us were left but enjoyed myself immensely. Got a couple of "cheer up , might never happen" cos I wasn't hanging from the lampshades but I took this in the misguided drunken way that it was meant.
- took public transport a couple of times and had no real problems with that. this was unfamiliar territory but I knew there were people with me and that helped.
The Not So Good
- Eating. I just couldn't eat with the knowledge that I'd have to travel somewhere by bus. So I avoided breakfast (although I never feel like it any day of the year) and only managed a little later in the day when my confidence was up (and I was bloody starving). I was prepared to have to travel back into town on the bus afterwards but in the end we went by cab. Even so, I had no problems.
- On the night of the mingle I had anxiety about being alone in the hotel when we got back, what if I had an attack etc. As a result when the lushes with me had the munchies for a McDonalds at 1am despite being hungry I couldn't join in. Everyone else did and it made me feel a real idiot and I got really annoyed with myself and tetchy. It made it appear like I was somehow not having fun or wanting to be there. And I did. When we got back to the hotel I was feeling anxious but my friends were there, I took a minute or two and managed to control things. I took things slow and had no real anxiety or panic for the rest of the night and had a great nights sleep
- Eye contact: I don't think I've written about this here yet but anyone who knows me will know that I rarely make eye contact with people. Even those who I've known for years. It can appear rude or that I'm disinterested but its just lack of confidence. I find it really really hard to maintain or make eye contact for more than a couple of seconds. This often means that I fail to recall or recognise people at big gatherings like the Mingle. Its something i really have to work on. In the past a couple of people (friends of friends aka bastards) have made me feel VERY self conscious about this which makes things worse. So please, don't take it as an insult or rudeness, I want to get better at this
- Self confidence in general. Despite people being pleased to see me, the hugs, the smiles, the conversations and everything I still felt that it didn't make much difference to people if I was there or not. Yes, pathetic I know. However, i really was touched by those who took the time to make me feel welcomed. That definitely outweighed the bad and so I put that down as a score-draw
So all in all, I think I did OK. Those who were with me might like to leave comments or email me privately but that's all that was going on in my head. I realise no one really "enabled" me to do the trip this weekend as 99% of it was mental but to those who gave me their love, support and a shoulder to lean on - THANK YOU.
A couple of notes that will only mean something to those involved
* H - thanks for the big hug at journey's end, was the perfect topper to a great mini weekend
* J - our friendship means a great deal to me, never forget that
* K - your calm attitude to the weekend (except parking) was a real inspiration to me, thanks
At the start of this month I was a wreck, no use to anyone. At months end I'm more positive, confident and optimistic than I have been in years.
I hope my friends will continue to inspire and encourage me as I move on up.