Bittersweet symphony of my life… stuff and nonsense and why I suck at life…

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



33 thoughts on “Bittersweet symphony of my life… stuff and nonsense and why I suck at life…

  1. Baby steps lovely, small chats are good. You can put a huge tick on the list for achieving something. You went, spoke briefly to people & tried. As long as you try, that’s what matters. If it counts, I’m proud of you for attending the events, it’s more than I could do xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Was just hoping to be a little braver this year. I think because this is probably the most intimate of events and venues it feels harder as I feel more exposed as a fraud. Maybe next year eh? πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart hurts for you Jen, I hope that with the perspective of tomorrow you realize how far you’ve come. It’s so hard for introverts sometimes as social events can be completely physically draining…believe me I know…but I do hope you can find a way to celebrate your successes….those of us who read about your evening and time at Crimefest are saying awesome job, how great that you’re just able to be there and who cares if you don’t interact as much as you would’ve liked. I hope tomorrow is a brighter day for you. Celebrate your victories ,however small you may see them, and try to be kind to yourselfπŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning Jen, it’s 2am your time so I hope you are sleeping well. You should be very proud of yourself, unlike most introverts, you actually turned up! If you reread about your night in London, you will see that you have already proven to yourself that you can do this! There is no rule to say you have to do it every night! Your blog and your reviews do make a difference to thousands of readers, you only have to read their comments to see that. That is a FACT, so you don’t get to dispute it, haha!
    Okay, get to the gym, kick those -ve thoughts to the kerb and have a brilliant day! Today is a new day, just remember, you are your own secret weapon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I will make it through one of these things one day without a complete mental breakdown lol. I am trying hard to learn to let things go but anxiety etc are pretty tough to crack. Even attending my company’s leadership conference I still think back and obsess over something pretty minor which happened over five years ago. I’ll get there one day. I have my good days and bad. For someone who travels on my own so much for work you’d figure I’d be better at this huh?


  4. Have been called many things (not all of them complimentary) but never a secret weapon…that aside don’t ever doubt yourself. I am more similar to you than you think….unfortunately that is something we have had to learn to live with thanks to our parents and the way they treated us growing up…as the last 2 kids we were not the ones who could do no wrong….
    the only difference is we learnt to deal with it differently…I watched you last night and you quite happily talked to those authors and saw how fellow bloggers sought you out to talk to you….at least people knew you and fully appreciate what you do. I occasionally post a review on your blog which do not compare to yours as that is where my self doubt kicks in….I may appear to be confident face to face but on paper I suck. I went to that event because of you as I am proud of what you do. Yes I will talk to random people but that is down to the persona I have created when I am out….in truth I am a people watcher happier with my own company. It doesnt help that neither of us a drinkers…I dont mean in a must get bladdered way but in a social way. You go to these events to push yourself so that is a start…and I see how you change when you talk to people about the books you have read..I am happy to keep coming with you to events if it helps push you out of your comfort zone as in truth it pushes me out of mine too. You can do this…and at Harrogate you can push a little bit more….and at Bloody Scotland we can both push ourselves outside our happy zone and make it to the bar for a rebel rousing diet coke. And if I have made you cry…tough its what big sister do no matter how old we get. I am proud and even a bit jealous of what you do so get up and dressed and put on mask and an invisibility cloak and have a fab day at crimefest.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh Jen.
    In some ways I’m very similar. This will be the fifth time I attend Harrogate and I already know I will attend from a distance. I go with my husband, he is happy people watching and picking up on odd bits of conversation. The first year, on my own,every bone in my body ached as I walked up to the hotel. I wish I could go up to people and say hello with out building my self up to it. I stood near a publicist with a big company last year, within hearing distance yet it took me an hour to introduce myself. We have ‘spoken’ countless times on social media and when I finally went over it was fine.
    I know we exchanged hellos in Liverpool, both anxious and I hope we can say hello again this year.
    Enjoy the rest of crimefest. Don’t beat yourself up over anything. I know of another there who isn’t comfortable so you aren’t alone. You would probably get on like a house on fire if you met

    Steph xx

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Jen don’t beat yourself we are also different and I’m sure when I manage to actually attend an event I would be pretty much the same I’m more confident behind a key board than I am in real life, but I am me. You’ve achieved loads in your short time blogging and I’m sure your confidence will grow and on the plus side at least you won’t wake up with a hangover. Sending you big hugs and some believe in yourself vibes 😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jen I’m in awe of you. You went!! You are strong. You are brave. You are an inspiration and… have reviews done for July!!!!!!!! Pat on the back and as Kate said…baby steps. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel your pain, Jen. I am very similar in so many ways. I want to join in but can’t, can’t do small talk, feel awkward, would rather be on my own that have to attempt it. You’re not alone! You did so well to go, you should be proud of yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Now I remember you from the blogger and author shenanigans in October, and the way you’ve described yourself in this post is nothing like the woman I briefly met then. But then how we feel on the inside can be completely opposite to how others see us. I’ll tell you something now Ms Jen, I was quite jealous of you at the shenanigans. You were never alone, you were always involved in conversations and you radiated confidence. Whilst I had what felt like long spells on my own, standing against the wall, sipping my diet coke and trying to look busy. Hoping that Jo, Noelle, Claire or Linda would save me from looking a pillock! I’m going to Harrogate in July, are you? I’m so excited but the socialising, small talk aspect of it TERRIFIES me. You’re not alone lovely ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha. You never came across as insecure or alone to me which goes to show how well we hide things. You must have caught me in good moments because mostly I kept hiding behind my phone lol. I am at Harrogate yes. Dreading it but looking forward at the same time. I think it’s a place I can easily get lost though so a good chance I will see no one for four days lol. When I get started I am okay but inside I am dying. I was walking around Birmingham for half an hour trying to avoid walking into the bar last October. Almost turned around and walked away twice. I think because this is intimate in as much as everything takes place over two floors of one hotel it is harder. But I will survive. I think. πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. One day I will grow a back bone. I really need a good one as I have a large chest and it’s hard to hold upright with the current jelly mess.


  10. This sums up my feelings about my own self very well (except I can do small talk – but that’s like a mask. Makes you feel worse in the end because you feel even more fake).
    I respect you a lot for sharing this. I don’t know if I could just share it like that. The mask, again.


  11. Roxy Music also refer to loneliness being a crowded room…
    Self doubt is probably more common than we appreciate. I’m seen as very outgoing, but I have to force myself, and it’s hard. And sometimes I find myself in a crowded room wondering: what the hell am I doing here?
    But you are doing the right thing by going back to it. It’s hard, but the only way to overcome it is to keep trying. Clearly, I don’t know you. I’ve only read your book reviews, but you come across as very inciteful and, as a reader who might just pick up one of the books you’ve reviewed, I find that valuable. I know you’ve had a nomination for the Bloggers Bash awards. Will you be at the Bash? If so, I know you’ll be made very welcome – and I’ve been pressed into helping out with the registration, so I’ll make sure of it!


  12. My heart aches for you and also I am over come with empathy. As someone who has been forced into remote work and a new life with chronic illness, I have found that I cannot make it out my door with full blown panic attacks at times. I no longer know how to social and I am terrified of it (part of the reason I cling so desperately to this online community).

    I have taken a lot of comfort in my own solitude. I don’t have to try to make awkward or uncomfortable conversation and I know how to behave. When I do venture out, my secret weapon is the nonhusband πŸ˜‰ Each day is baby steps.

    I won;t pretend to understand or know you, but I think I get it to a degree. And I just want to say that your post moved me. I am sending many positive vibes and hoping that by the time you read this comment, you are enjoying a beautiful weekend ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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