So last night I had a great night having travelled to London to the Orenda Books Roadshow at Waterstones Piccadilly. As well as hearing from 15 fabulous authors and listening to them reading extracts from their brilliant books, I also managed to top off my signed book collection. Whilst there I was informed I had made a pregnant woman cry (in a good way) and I had another author bowing at my feet (in jest btw) in thanks for my review. It was a good night all round.
Today, I travelled down to Bristol to attend Crime Fest for the second time. I had a great day attending two brilliant panels and then meeting up with an author for a quick chat early evening.
I say I had a great day because that where the wonder ends. In the day. As always with these events my issues start at night.
I’m a funny old soul really. And unlike my nomination for funniest blogger, this time I can categorically say I mean funny strange. If people saw me last night I was engaged in conversations with people I didn’t know, approaching authors quite happily (ish) and generally having a wonderful evening. But then last night I had a secret weapon, of sorts. Last night I wasn’t alone. I had my sister with me. Rightly or wrongly, this fact kind of changes who I am a little as she is far more open and probably in truth, a lot friendlier than I am. She is happy talking to people and she can do chat. In short, all the things I can’t do and am not. Having her there kind of gave me the strength to give it a whirl too.
Today I am on my own, therefore I am a big fat failure of a whimp. I managed short conversations with people today because they were fleeting. Just snatches in passing on the way to a panel. I managed a long conversation with the author because it was prearranged. It still took a lot of strength for me because I do not know how to do small talk, one of the negative side effects of being an introvert, but somehow I managed it and had a really good time too.
But tonight, even though I had been invited to join another couple of people in the bar I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t face it. It was nothing to do with them and I sincerely hope they understand that. I had every intention of joining them. I even walked down all five flights of stairs and made it as far as the lifts before doubt overtook me and I turned back and went straight back to my room.
I just couldn’t face it. The noise coming from the bar. All of those people who know each other or perhaps had just met but had more courage than I did to stop and have conversations about books, life and any old random shit that they felt like. When I heard it, it made me freeze and I started to physically shake. It makes no sense at all because I sort of know the people I was going to meet (in social media terms at least) but I still could not move past the lifts. And why? Because I felt like my presence would be an imposition. That my turning up was a burden on them to entertain me because I’m too chicken to speak to people on my own.
Because, that ladies and gents is who I am.
I surpassed myself this year. Crying into my pillow on day one. I think I at least made it to Friday before bursting into tears last time lol.
It is not easy when you suffer from crippling self doubt and self loathing. When the feeling of being worthless is bred into you and is all you know. I know when I put myself down that many people probably think that I am just fishing for compliments to inflate my ego but nothing could be further from the truth. I hate being complimented. It doesn’t feel right or natural to me. I’d me more accepting if you all just told me my reviews were a pile of f’ing shite and to do one. That I would believe and understand.
It should be easier to be at CrimeFest second time of asking really shouldn’t it. After all, since I was last here I have started a blog so there is a sort of validity at least in my presence. And for the author panels and the day time events I will breeze in and out of them without a care in the world. To many I will probably just seem a bit ignorant as I sit at the back or in a corner saying nothing. From some I will likely get a nod or a hello as they have a vague inkling they may know me from somewhere. From anyone unfortunate enough to read these ramblings tonight I shall probably get a wide birth when they try to avoid the mad woman in the attic (well I am on the top floor of the hotel).
This is not about being lonely. I have been a ‘one’ for as long as I can remember. Even in a house of seven people I was alone. We all were. Being on my own is my default position and on home soil I am absolutely fine with it. I know how to interact with me, it is finding anything within myself that I think others might actually find interesting or want to be around that I struggle with. There is probably something deep in there somewhere but I’m buggered if I know what it is.
So why don’t I just pack up and go home? Why do I continue to torture myself (which I will be doing until Sunday)? Simple really. Because if I ever want to get past this self loathing, this doubt and absolute hatred that I have for myself, if I ever want to get to a point where I feel even the remotest bit worthy of the faith people put in me when they ask me to do their blog tours or review their books, or to find the ‘nice and lovely’ person that people seem to think I am from my mad interactions on social media, then I have to push myself beyond where I am comfortable.
I have to do this.
Lets face it. Living a life, or a lie, on Social media is easy. Living a real life? Well that’s a whole different ball game and even after nearly 42 years I still don’t have a scooby about the rules.
How did that song go? One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. Uh-huh. One in a room of one hundred. That’s way worse.
Thanks for listening folks. Cathartic to let it out and cheaper than therapy.
Have a peaceful night all