I bought something today.
Not food shopping but clothes.
And it wasn’t second hand, and it wasn’t discounted. It was full price. And whilst not a flash, ‘look at me’, attention getter, it was my style but brighter, made of beautiful fabric and not at all ‘background’.
I allowed myself because I worked my butt off for six gruelling 12-16 hour days on a job that left me changed as a person.
Because, even though it was something that is usually low key where I can stay anonymous, I was somehow miraculously made to feel important. I was actually called ‘important’. As in ‘No, sort Sista out first, she’s important.’
If this makes me sound pompous, then I’m not telling it right. Because I’ve never really felt important to anyone, and I know for a fact that no one has ever told me that I am. And I know it was a throw away comment from a young person who has no doubt forgotten of my existence as we speak. But somehow, some way, I was dragged out from the shadows and put into a scenario where it was crucial that I attended day after day after day.
You can always tell when this is the case, because instead of receiving computer generated ‘if you can do additional days please tick this box’ emails from the agency, I was getting personal communications saying ‘it would be amazing if you can do Monday’ and ‘I know you must be tired, but you’re doing a fantastic job and we really need you to do just one day.’
I was bumped to the front of queues. Interacted with the real important folk. Heard my hero speak to me by name.
And I was totally one hundred percent comfortable with my environment and with what I was being asked to do.
Giddy stuff. And whilst as a usual rule of thumb I get twitchy after being on a job more than 3 days (because that’s when relationships start to form) with it came a shot in the arm of pure confidence, and with that came a cumulative positive series of side effects.
I became more aware of my behaviour. I was less spiky. I made new friends. I even attracted several members of the opposite sex.
However, on that note, there was one shaky moment when one very pushy guy (who was chatting up all the women) sensed my reticence and instead of backing off, laid siege to me.
This was a disastrous move on his part because the more people pursue me or try to force me to approve and/or pay attention to them, the harder I try to avoid them, and in the end I was a hair trigger away from punching him in the face and screaming at him to get the fuck out of my aura.
Why do people do that? If I get one inkling that someone isn’t into me, I leg it before they do. But everywhere I turned he was there, feet, inches, centimetres away from me staring anxiously into my eyes, voice at full, deafening volume (for God’s sake someone, pass the remote) and breathing his stinking, full English breakfast miasma into my hair. At one stage he even laid the full length of his hand creepily onto my hip to make me turn around and face him; I could feel the disgustingly intrusive heat of his palm through the silk of my dress, and how I didn’t break his face right there and then I’ll never know.
But I digress, as typically Sista style, I am giving more attention to that one negative in a veritable ocean of positives.
Because somehow I held my temper, and merely treated him to an icy excoriating glare before being rescued by a fellow female and carted off to play scrabble with less sleazy members of the crowd.
Don’t get me wrong. I never forgot that this was an enclosed, faux fantasy world, and that the real world was waiting for me outside, with all it’s banal, draining, terrifying challenges, and that within a matter of hours I would be transformed, Cinderella style back to that anonymous, grey drone that everyone ignores, discounts and under estimates again.
And that, dear Reader is what came to pass. I am back home in rags, grovelling around the ashy fireplace, surrounded by many chores. No one is pandering to my needs, clawing for my attention, fluttering around me or calling me ‘important’ anymore.
But I feel a change has taken seed and I learned a few lessons which are as follows:
- You don’t need to be pushy to be noticed. Really you don’t. Whether it be pure fluke or that my sang froid was mistaken for confidence, and ‘don’t look at me’ attitude to be pure insouciance, I was chosen out of a flock of beautiful, talented, qualified young things to have a key role.
- If someone really important likes you, others follow suit. Whether this be in a work environment, on social media or in a social situation, people are sheep and will come trotting after you trustingly if the popular folk approve of you and what you do. This can either be extraordinarily, depressingly predictable news or something that can be used as a tool. Sure, don’t kid yourself that all of these bleating masses are going to become your forever friends but you can potentially cherry pick along the way.
- If you pretend to do something for long enough, you can almost make it feel real. In other words, fake it till you make it. I had to flirt with some guy for six days, and whilst I was initially at an emotional distance, he was a fun person to work with and a real chemistry grew which almost certainly brought ‘the boys to the yard’. Not only that but my libido woke up howling and demanding to be fed. Oh dear….but maybe it’s about time? Not with him I hasten to add; he’s attached, hugely popular so categorised as ‘dangerous’ in my book, but maybe just maybe I’m not destined for the relationship/sexual scrap heap just yet?
- Contact with the human race gets easier the more you do it. The same principle applies to hiding away so we have a choice. Don’t get me wrong. I said ‘easier’ and not ‘easy’. I did not find 6 consecutive days surrounded by my fellow homo sapiens easy. There were other people as well as Mr Needy who grated sorely on my nerves, and I find that after about 3 days, people run out of small talk and start asking questions that are difficult for me to answer. Like:
- ‘What’s your main job?’ (I don’t have one. It’s challenge enough for me to do this)
- ‘Where did you go for your holidays?’ (Holiday? From what? I haven’t had one for years because I can barely afford to feed myself)
- ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ (No idea. My relationship with my family is tenuous and fraught with danger. Two friends have invited me and I’m going to end up pissing off one or both of ‘em if I accept either invitation. Plus I may even end up on my own in a new house in a new town with 2 stressed out cats and an M&S turkey pizza for one. Ask fucking Santa, as right now, anything might happen)
In other words, you get asked normal questions that apply to normal people. The kind of questions that could potentially expose me for being the freak that I am.
What do I do in those circumstances? Lie like I used to? Make up some kind of creative adaption of the truth. Avoid answering and turn the question back on them? I’m not sure. But I can’t let that stop me moving forward.
And I wasn’t spotted! As the most amusing thing of all was that several people chose to confide in me about others in the group that they suspected to have ‘mental health issues’. Oh the irony….
So I am trying harder this time.
I’m trying to do all the stuff that I’ve aimed to maintain throughout the life of this blog. Work out, get out, make myself look attractive, take chances, interact more with people.
Get a life.
I can’t promise you or myself that I won’t stumble and fall again, as the humiliation of failing to successfully climb out of my painful pit of doom during the years that I have been blogging is one of the factors that made me abandon it and stop writing. The shame. But I’m trying to scale that slippery scratchy wall once again, and one day I will make it.
As being kinder to myself and others is all part of the plan this time.
As perhaps I don’t have to be a witch to get what I want out of life.
And maybe just maybe I’ll get a snog from my very own Prince (OK, so, maybe some dastardly old uncle is more to my taste) before the year is out. I can but hope. I may even don that silk dress again ;-)