New Territory: Graduating and Dating

{Feeling clever because the title rhymes}

I graduated from Lancaster in July.

I moved back in with my parents.

Up till now I’ve been missing Lancaster so much.

I spent two months so far (although technically longer) obsessing about a chance I may have had and definitely missed at uni because of my “shyness” (mostly) and deciding not to get over it so that at least it wouldn’t happen again (that’s a bit deep, sorry!). I also spent that time looking for jobs and things.

I got a part time job! Something pretty basic just to earn money.

I also got a voluntary job in a warehouse just 15 minutes walk from my house, copy-writing for an online shop, which started last week. So now I don’t have an excess of free time thankfully!

On my first day there, I was introduced to someone (it was the first day, so introductions all around).

On my second day there (exactly a week ago), I talked to this person at lunch time and had a great conversation and maybe half an hour later quite by surprise this person came up to me while I was by myself painting one of the warehouse’s photo booth rooms white and asked me out.

The other night we did.

And I thought I would write all these life updates on separate lines just to be annoying.

And I’m trying to figure it all out right now. This guy has gone straight from A-Z and got incredibly emotionally invested really fast, so in a way that’s slightly terrifying for me because it gives me a massive sense of responsibility not to put a foot wrong and hurt this person’s feelings. And it has not happened before; this is absolutely foreign territory. And I need a lot more time myself just to find A.

And I have always expected that my social anxiety to be a massive problem if I ever went on a date with someone but it actually wasn’t, and we talked about everything under the sun for over 3 hours, past closing time (I think the people running the pub must have felt bad about chucking us out and kept it open longer instead or something). I wasn’t even that nervous beforehand (but maybe that’s because I didn’t build up to it feeling that emotionally invested), and it’s funny because I barely even got nervous for the interview for the job I just started, and was completely calm throughout, so maybe I’m just going through a good patch anxiety-wise. And we could relate to each other in so many ways: we have similar highly introverted personalities, are both only children in our families, both love writing (although about different things), are both very emotional people, both believe in God, have both been bullied in school, both have anxiety… in fact the conversation got surprisingly deep as we talked about the latter few things for maybe the last hour and to be honest I don’t know how I opened up so easily when I have trouble discussing some of the these things so easily with any of my friends.

But I’m very conflicted about it inside and overthinking a lot now; but that’s a different story. I just felt like updating this because it must have been a couple of centuries since I last did that.

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“Third year already, hasn’t that gone fast?”

I’ve heard that line plenty of times this summer. Most Sundays at church every conversation with anyone over 40 plays out like this. And then comes the inevitable, “so what are you going to do after that?”

It’s not a new question, but the percentage of times it gets asked has gone up a lot (probably to almost 100%) now that I’m going into my last year of university.

My answer is always vague, because I still have anxieties about how to answer the question, and anxieties about the subject itself (that’s probably not good):  “something with publishing and editing”.

It’s just an area of life I want to sort out on my own, in my own time, with no questions asked. I’ve had anxieties around it for years and I nearly always betray some of it when people ask me about it.

But on the other hand, I can see that it’s just a natural path for small talk to follow. When people ask me what kind of work I want to do, there’s a social anxiety-induced voice in my head asking what do they think I’m capable of, and what if I sound too ambitious and then they look at me sceptically… and what if I don’t end up fulfilling my ambitions and then Jill Bloggs who asked me what I want to do when I grow up multiple times from 2008-2016 will see that I didn’t achieve that.

It’s not like I overthink things or anything.

Yesterday at church I had to laugh when Mrs H did the “Wow third year already” line and then followed it up with the bluntest form of this question that I’ve heard so far: “When are you going to start looking for jobs then?”

Context: Mrs H was my teacher when I was 12-15 years old at a small independent school run by this church (so a lot of the people there are my old teachers!) and was obsessed with using our “daily devotions” time to go around in a circle and ask each of us what career we aspired to on a near-weekly basis. She’s always been known for her blunt honesty which, at school, could be either entertaining or terrifying, depending on the situation!

 

Any Ideas?

A few of us are setting up a peer support group for people aged 18-21 with anxiety and depression. We’ve got some funding going and we’re starting this autumn- all we need are a few more ideas!

It’s meant to be a friendly environment, where people can enjoy themselves, make friends, and feel able to talk about anything they need to talk about. The structure is basically that each week starts off with a mental-health/self-care related discussion and then we will have a couple of tables with activities, and sometimes a film.

We already have a few ideas, such as having a group scrapbook, making and painting arty stuff, film nights, maybe even making a short animation film together!

However, more ideas are always good.

If anyone feels so inspired, feel free to comment with any ideas for activities and discussion topics. Also, I’m conscious that some of the people who turn up might not be artistically-inclined, so if anyone has more ideas on how to please them too, you know what to do.

Reluctantly Leading a Radio Show

I’ve been helping out on this community radio show in my home town for donkey’s years, since I was about 13 or 14. And although that sounds nifty on my CV, I’ve always figured it’s fairly simple. I just turn up and talk on the show with the co-presenters, people I already know and I do a few extra things like News and Weather… When I was younger I was even more awkward than I can be (on bad days) now, but the others could spin anything like that into humour, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Not having the responsibilities of being in charge of the show helps.

The only problem is that the main guy goes on holiday every August, and every summer since I turned 18 likes to try and talk me into standing in as the main presenter. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be on holiday at the same time and be unable to do it. Other times I just find an excuse. I led a show last year with two of the others. It worked out well; I’d maybe rate it 6/10. Having to lead it makes me quite anxious because this means that it’s my responsibility to come up with conversation starters and sound charismatic about it on air (and it’s one thing to start conversations, quite another to simultaneously be charismatic, in my case!)

In short, I had to lead last night, but it we Continue reading “Reluctantly Leading a Radio Show”

Stares and General Eye Contact in Beijing

Sometimes I have an issue with feeling like I was always being stared at and finding eye contact excruciating. It used to be constant, but isn’t often much more than a niggle nowadays. Most of it tends to be imagined. In Beijing it was real, because I actually Continue reading “Stares and General Eye Contact in Beijing”

China, Fairly Definite

In about 3 weeks I’m off to China to do an internship for one month.

I was going to do this last summer but the timing of my exams complicated things and I decided to postpone it till this year. I was never fully sure if it was actually going to happen, but now I find myself having successfully acquired a visa, plane tickets, and a bunch of other things (except, so far, somewhere to stay, whoops) so it looks like this is pretty definite!

I can’t wait! Cultures, languages etc… are what I love.

But anxiety-wise, this could be a bit of a ride.

I don’t really  know what to expect and I hope I’m not doing/going to do anything naive, having never done anything like this before and being woefully untravelled. I’m doing tonnes of research at the moment and trying to pick up a few bits of Chinese.

Yeah, so I’ll try and post stuff on here when I’m there.

Overthinking Facebook

I should really make it a rule to not add anyone on Facebook, even if I {think I} know them well enough to be Facebook friends. I’m already a reluctant friend-adder. Definitely too much of an over-thinker for this.

Once I spent a year avoiding someone and feeling generally awkward over this same situation…. it’s kind of daft… And now I get to try and not repeat the same cycle all over. -.-

I'm usually too socially anxious to even do that. But when I do, I panic and think of cancelling it.: