Walking up the mountain, I let out an exasperated sigh. I could lie to myself and put it down to feeling tired from the steep ascent. But I don’t. I admit, right now, not only am I alone, I feel angry at myself for being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wishing that my friends were here, as I don’t actually feel lonely. Instead, I’m wishing that I could be more vocal. To speak to people. To not appear stand offish. To stride with confidence without nagging thoughts berating me for not making more of an effort.
I stop walking, take a few deep breaths, laugh at the thought of someone telling you to breath when you’re stressed. ‘Erm, hello – if I wasn’t breathing I would be dead’. One of the most pointless pieces of advice that has probably never helped anyone to calm the fuck down. Digression over, I reach for my little bottle of magic, or Larch as it is more commonly known. A homeopathic remedy to help alleviate anxiety. I take a few drops, straight to the tongue, no messing, and I assess the situation.
I came on holiday on my own so that I could have a relaxing time – on my own terms. Go where I wanted, when I wanted and to only answer to myself. Up until this point, I’d been doing that and giving myself constant kudos for doing so. So, I’m not sure if it was the altitude or the nature of the tour group setting I’d put myself in, but right here, on top of the mountain, with the insane views surrounding me, I was annoyed at myself.
Putting myself in the hot seat, I asked:
- Judge me: “Do you actually want to be with someone right now?”
- Annoyed me: “No. I’m happy on my own. I don’t feel lonely I just feel I should be with someone”
- Judge me: “Isn’t this the reason you chose to come on holiday alone, so you didn’t have to feel this way?”
- Annoyed me: “Yes. That’s why I’m annoyed. I don’t want to feel this way. I have social anxiety and I don’t want to force myself into unnecessary conversation”
- Judge me: “…..
- Annoyed me: “Fuck what other people think about me and my actions. This is my holiday!
- Judge me: “……
- Annoyed me: “I have social anxiety and I’m okay with that. Wow. I feel great admitting this. Thanks Judge me”
- Judge me: “…………De nada (you’re welcome – in Spanish)”
You may be picturing a confuddled looking me, chatting away to myself – a bit like Fight Club but atop a mountain – when in fact it was just an internal monologue that was pretty much over as soon as it started. I definitely should consider giving scriptwriting a go – that dialogue is gold…..(ahem)!
Feeling proud that I had just made peace with the fact that I have social anxiety, I continued my walk with a spring in my step. Mere moments later, I was in a conversation with some women from the tour group.
Hmmm – how about that? As soon as my head started focusing on what I wanted – ‘a good holiday’ and stopped worrying about ‘how other people perceived me’ or thinking about ‘how to start a conversation’, I felt at peace and the day began to flow.
Not only that but I stopped turning my head slightly, to appease the guy behind me on the bus. I was tired of having to feign interest in his joke….joke….joke and so stopped with the laugh-grunt (that noise you make with lips tightly pursed when something is not really funny but you want to be polite). I kept reminding myself, it was about focusing on what I wanted – ‘a good holiday’.
As the trip came to a close I was invited out to dinner by a couple of ladies from the bus who were also traveling solo. I checked in with myself and indeed I did want to join them. And so I did!
That was yesterday and by choice I spent all today on my own and it too has been wonderful. I am going to write a summary of my holiday when I return to London but I just wanted to share my mountain blip with you.
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