Paris: The socially anxious goes on holiday part 1

A holiday is that little bit of what I like to call unreality or pinch-me-I’m-dreaming syndrome. Perhaps, because my anxious little busy body does not go on holiday very often. In definition out of the country much.

You’re supposed to get excited about holidays, right? That is the normal thing to feel. You know that normal wash of jittery happiness. Where others would be drawing up a list of fun outings my brain would be soaking in a film of all the things that would go wrong. I felt truly terrified of being the only family member that did French GCSE. Which meant that I would be speaking. A weight was on my shoulders. All those French words had ebbed out my head the past few years and my social anxiety scared the living day lights out of me. This sense of doom steamed towards me.

But, I squashed my stuff in my half of the suitcase. Checked my bag far to many times that I couldn’t even recite and in the grey wash of the day felt a storm on the horizon not a beautiful sunset.

I headed for Paris.

Check in emotional baggage

I had arrived. Flown as the captain specifically needed to voice 5 miles or whatever in the air. Still filled with nerves from when my brain made me think I was going to choke on the sweet I barricaded between my teeth and lips.

Paris by now inked in darkness. All sights and sounds muted. I walked along the glass corridor into the Parisian airport, suitcase trailed. Slapped by the realization of another world and of a different language existing. Apparent in the signage and dotted French words and a not so distant cafe named Brioche or something or other which displayed baguettes and golden pastries. French accents and sentences stirred the new air.

I was a time traveler. I had entered into the future by only one hour, but still I was this anxious person I didn’t want to be.

You are in the big world now

We met our Taxi driver. It was like a film scene or a classic film character. The French driver stood holding his tablet with my family’s name, wearing a flat cap. It was a weird feeling. Surreal. And as he drove us to the hotel I couldn’t help but shrink into my skin as he talked. His English was enviously brilliant and his charm smile worthy. But, all I could do was fear of having to speak. That I felt obligated to answer his friendly questions. Whatever, language I always have this expectation to please others or having to speak although I really don’t want to. And the fact we had to spend 40 minutes of this, my heart throbbed.

But in the darkness there was Paris. Although she wore a cloak there was something truly beautiful, lit with artificial light. And although she scared me. Despite how tired I was and only got an hour and a half sleep that night in that moment Paris had my heart.


 

I wanted to share with you my journey to Paris like week. Before I went, I searched the Internet for any accounts or help for travelling abroad when you have social anxiety. But, nothing. So the next few post will document my experience and what I have learned to help you.

 

 

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New Year: Put 2014 Behind You

 

So here’s the honest truth. Somehow in the spider web of the unimaginable Internet universe you have landed on this blog. Looking for something. Searching for something.

If you want some pre-wrapped article with all the leftover Christmas paper and all, I’m sure there’s plenty of them that will tell you weird facts on New Year or an article to make you green with envy with some celeb glitzy party. But, today I’m thirsty for the truth, earnestness. Aren’t we all?

Everyone expects a philosophical answer on New Year’s New Year’s day. For whatever reason New Year’s has us feeling stripped bare. Taken away from the blurry distractions of droll routine. We feel forced to assess our success. It’s this weird emotion.

It’s like when you learnt about magnets at school and kept playing with the same poles that couldn’t attract. Between the repelling forces was an invisible orb that defended the truth. And in a way that’s what the feelings like.

You heard the saying two negatives don’t make a positive. You still with me? In my own mind of whirring cogs, I have decided just now on the notion. During this time when we strip search our minds from the last day of December to January. Walk through the electronic doorway thingy. Pulled aside with a beckoning finger and a tray of all last year’s crap.

Back to the magnet simile. The poles repel because they are the same – opposite attract. Because we have a double negative aka the labeling of a failure. Searched ourselves for the bad. We decide to take the tray of crappiness with us. Somehow fearing what it would be like if we just left it.

Soon we have a list of everything we haven’t done. Soon the thoughts feel written on our skin and wriggle under. Regret flashes through our veins. Or bad events come back to your brain like a rerun of a bad sit-com. But, instead you can feel those emotions again.

May be this is just me? Who when the numbers begin to role from 10 all the way down to one, has the urge to pull it back. That when the TV rolls the fireworks on the London eye. When I stay awake till 12, always under the illusion that, that one minute into the New Year something big is going to happen. I don’t know the presenters jump out the TV. For me to feel whole and glad. There is that always want for something.

I don’t know. May be it’s all just hype. More money in others’ pockets. Think about it. Supposed New Years traditions (I never have done this by the way) are to get drunk and kiss someone at 12 o’clock. Whether you did one or the other both. Or perhaps if you are like me neither. Both show a need to feel complete and whole in some way. An aversion to these feelings.

In some ways it feels we are back to square one after having climbed and scrambled through the year. So, what is the truth. New Year merely hides the truth of everyday. Most of us are overwhelmed with this sense of change as the minute passes. But, we forget about the days and weeks. Perhaps we should not just be really thinking in years, but living for the days!

Wherever you are now reading this. Don’t miss out on the good of last year. And don’t let the bad cast a shadow. You may have made mistakes. I sure did. But, good. Now we know at least this year our decision making might improve!

You can do anything. After all as scared as I was to write this blog. Went and procrastinated, I did it. So, here is to not letting the past stop you!