I had an interesting conversation with my sister whilst she was down last week regarding self-confidence and how we carry ourselves. It’s funny how sometimes the most outwardly confident people are in fact inwardly the shyest; take me, I come across as pretty confident, I dress how I like (quirky, eccentric are a few words I’ve heard), I dye my hair… bright! and I will happily stand up in front of a room of people and talk to them… about anything. However inside I’m painfully shy. I wonder how many of us creatives are the same?
Wallflower: a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance. 2. any person, organization, etc., that remains on or has been forced to the sidelines of any activity.
I am happiest in my craft room, in fact, I’d be happy if I never had to leave it sometimes. Social interaction is something I genuinely dread at times, the school run, parties, phone calls (my pet hate) they have all filled me with a deep desire to run in the other direction at some point. Kids have been good for me as it means I have to do things, I can’t just hideaway. Moreover, those times when you thought I was being rude or standoffish, I wasn’t, I just wasn’t confident enough (no matter how well we know each other) to come to talk to you.
Personal strength is one of my biggest weaknesses, I’ve mentioned before about being bullied at school and then again in the workplace. However, it was Primary School that set the precedent, created the person I am today, pulled me down, tore me apart from the outside in and then spat me out 4 years later a different girl.
I will never lay the blame on my bullies as I am a firm believer in never judging, and I know a lot of the time they are hurting just as much if not more inside and it helps them to make someone else feel their pain, unfortunately, it’s not the best way to help themselves in the long run. However, I lost 4 years of my life. Literally, I don’t remember a lot from my last 4 years of Primary School, just days here or there, but what lives on is deep-seated insecurity. Why sometimes I would say what people wanted to hear as it meant they would like me. Why I still now find it hard to hold a telephone conversation, because in my mind the person on the other end is laughing at me; why I hate when people laugh at something I’ve done, a trip, a fall, parking badly, you name it, at that moment I’m suddenly 8/9 years old, and everyone is laughing at me, pointing, and I know I’ll be walking home from school alone again.
I don’t want sympathy, I’m not writing to gain anything, I’m writing because it helps me and I really hope it helps others. My hair, my clothes, my persona are all coping devices; it gives you all something to talk about rather than ‘me’. I promise you that I am not ignoring you and I am not ‘up my own a**e’, I’m just that scared little 9-year-old who thinks you might laugh at me, or wonders why the hell you’d want to talk to me. I wonder how many of us are like that but are too scared to admit.
Life is hard, and I know for myself and many others that our crafting gives us a release. I also have so many beautiful friends and family who give me more than they know. I pray my children will never go through what I did but I guess if they do at least I’ll be right there next to them knowing exactly how they are feeling, kids, can be cruel eh?! I have good days (mostly) and I still have bad but what gets me through each and every one of those bad days are the people around me and my fellow crafters, who inspire me daily to push and achieve more than I ever thought I could.
Thanks guys, love you all.
P.S Almost forgot I’ve booked the Baby & Toddler Show in Manchester in Oct. I would never have done something like this alone and special thanks go to my friend Judith who is fantastic at pushing me to step outside my comfort zone. I’m really excited about this next step on my journey and do you know what if I can do it, you can!