The invisible presence

Got the writing bug yesterday and felt the need to share a little mental health post.

On Saturday night I went to bed with a pounding headache, and woke up with it again Sunday morning. It stopped me from exercising and left me feeling quite lethargic. I soon realised it was my social hangover greeting me after a full on day of socialising with my friend at a vintage event on Saturday. Tempting me to the dark side with overthinking and over analysing what had actually been a lovely day previously. (I’m quite proud of the fact that I didn’t succumb to those thoughts too much, but the mere fact that I am writing this blog, is a sign that I am).

I did get anxious on the drive over. As I got closer to the event my nerves kicked in. I was getting hot and my stomach was churning. And when I arrived my head was buzzing, there was a lot to take in and timings to remember. So I felt wired and slightly disconnected. Not really fully aware of everything around me as I desperately tried to calm down and take it all in. It was like stepping outside of my invisible comfort zone to make an effort, and be noticed, and it felt exciting and daunting all at the same time. We met a photographer who wanted to do a little photo shoot and I tried really hard to relax but I was so self conscious. In the end I actually enjoyed the session, it was fun and both my friend and the photographer were really patient with me. I felt a little more confident. People were watching and I only felt a little bit silly. I’d love to look good in photos. To feel proud of myself and comfortable with how I look. Rightly or wrongly, it would be a real confidence booster.

When you become good friends with someone who is comfortable and confident in themselves, who enjoys the attention and knows how to work it, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to watch. How do I fit into this? Do I just step back and play the comfortable less interesting sidekick, and continue feeling invisible? Or do I try and discover my more noticeable and outgoing self- (I know she’s in there somewhere).

She has fast become a very good friend & a teacher, and I have a lot to learn from her. There’s a definite art to being noticed and she naturally has it by the bucket load. Yes, it’s about being friendly and engaging – which I hope I already am, but it’s also about your ‘presence’. You can look great and wear all the right stuff but if you don’t have ‘presence’ then you’ll go unnoticed.

You could also be the most vacuous, un-genuine person to walk the earth ( I know one of them as well), but if you have presence, you can draw anyone to you. There’s good sides and bad sides to having this magic like quality.

So what’s the big deal about being noticed? Why care so much?

Well, you could also ask, why go to all the effort to attend an event if you just want to blend in with the crowd?

It’s not a competition (although I know some think it is), but for me it’s an opportunity to be a part of something. To feel like I belong, and rightly or wrongly, to feel accepted. I know I shouldn’t care so much. I know I should just do whatever the hell I want and not worry what anyone else thinks. But the thing I want, the thing I’ve always wanted, is to be accepted. To feel a sense of belonging. To be a part of the crowd. To be noticed.

I expect I will always be a little on the outside, because I can’t talk all day long, and be engaging, witty and stylish continuously. I need to step aside a little sometimes and observe and be quiet. I need to take ‘time out’ breaks to breathe and digest everything that’s going on around me. But it’s in those breaks, that I risk becoming invisible, and you can’t afford to let your guard down in a situation like that or you’ll be overlooked, and when it doesn’t come naturally it can be exhausting.

It’s a whole new world for me really. A complete learning curve. It’s exciting and lots of fun. Its not about changing who I am, but more about adapting to situations. ‘Putting on a show’.

Will I ever be noticed, will I ever feel like I really belong, and will I ever have ‘The presence’?

I hope that with each adventure and event I attend, I’ll learn a little more about myself and become more comfortable with who I am. Because essentially right now, I’m a little lost.

to be continued…

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