So. It’s now 10th July. That means that in ten days time I, like many of my blogging and writing friends, and other assorted Crime Writers and crime fiction aficionados, will be winging my way to Harrogate for the Old Perculier Crime Writing Festival.
I should by now be totally excited, getting pumped up and thinking of all the fun things I will see and do and all the fabulous people I will meet. I certainly see the excitement building on Facebook, see people arranging to meet, talking of meals, drinks, just generally catching up and chatting. That should get me excited. I’m going to some blogger thing with Orion on the Friday. No idea what it is but that should get me excited. I’ve been invited to join a meal out on the Saturday night too. Now, as I’m travelling on my own, that should at least make me feel happy. One night of none billy-tude at least.
Yeah. Not so much. Right now I feel flatter than Judge Doom after the steamroller scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I am giving serious consideration as to how I can back out of going, or at least how easy it will be to slip between events without being noticed. It’s a very popular festival so that shouldn’t be too hard. And people will be having too much fun to notice anyhow.
If I’m honest, I’m feeling a little bit sick.
Now I made my mini CrimeFest melt down public, and my thanks to people for the support after it. I wasn’t fishing for sympathy then and I’m not fishing now. People probably think I’m in a better place having gone to Crime In The Court the other week, and I keep travelling the country on my own without issue so why should this be different? Well, to be fair, Crime In The Court was more luck that judgment. And I am determined to keep challenging myself in that way until I grow a backbone and develop a little confidence.
But Harrogate? Well Harrogate is huge.
It’s only really when watching the on line banter and excitement building that you realise just how much so. Everyone is so excited to be seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Me? I’m wondering how best to avoid being in people’s way.
I may come across as confident on line. I try not to take myself too seriously when it comes to blogging. I have a big job which needs me to be serious enough Monday to Friday. Blogging is my escape. Hiding behind a computer screen gives me a sort of man of steel style feeling of invincibility, knowing that even if I make a complete dick of myself, I don’t have to face people after. However interacting with others… that’s my Kryptonite.
You can’t hide who you are in a face to face. I’ve spent most of my life, some nearly 42 years now, feeling thoroughly inadequate. Nothing exposes that more than being in a group of strangers. I have nothing to add, nothing to contribute, and I feel like a burden. The person who has to be acknowledged as it’s the nice thing to do.
I know people, bloggers especially, are not like that, not that shallow, but that is the wonder of the paranoid personality isn’t it. To constantly feel judged and found lacking. It is also down to upbringing as if you are told often enough you’re worth jack, you tend to believe it. When you then spend your whole adult life hiding from people who may attempt to convince you otherwise then that feeling never goes away. There isn’t any aspect of my life I am not constantly second guessing and doubting, no matter how confident I may appear. Smoke and mirrors. The master of illusion, that’s me.
And that is why social media is a dangerous thing. You see the friendships and the companionship which is rife and know that can never be you because you can’t be that person. You see people talking about events they are going to and know that won’t be you either because you will only ever be the anonymous blogger. People think I’m ‘well known’ but in truth I’m really not. I never self publicise or push my blog. I will never approach people or request friendships on Facebook, not because I don’t like the person, merely because I don’t want them to feel obliged to accept when they don’t even really know me.
I will never be the person I portray online. I don’t have it in me. I can laugh and joke when on social media because that is simply words on a page. In real life? Well right now the idea of going to Harrogate is making me itch so badly that I want to scratch every inch of my skin off. Probably just as well I’m a chronic nail biter as once I start I can’t stop lol. Not crying right now but I can feel the melancholy setting it so just give me time… maybe ten days…
Give me that ten days and I’ll be a wreck. While I’m away I’ll be obsessing over every possible thing that could go wrong at home and at work while I’m not there. At least double checking my work email thirty or forty times a day will take my mind off feeling like an outsider. The imposter – the fake in bloggers clothing.
Like I said. Too much time to think…
I have no doubt I will go, if only because I will be nagged to death by my sisters if I back out now. I’ve no doubt I will have a good time at the panels I do attend. I’m also pretty certain I will leave as anonymous as I am when I arrive.
If all else fails I can catch up on my reading.
Could be worse.
Thanks for listening folks. My therapy continues 😉