This is the tenth in a series of posts describing my recent trip to England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Wales, from writing course to school reunion and more.
Three more nights with M1 and her husband, who always has interesting things to say – things that make me think afterwards.
One day M1 and I met up with another friend from uni and a friend of hers. We visited Wellington Arch, a landmark well worth seeing and one that most Londoners seem not to have heard of, and various memorials nearby.
Then we had a special tea in the Tophams Hotel.
In the evening M1 and I saw a musical: Chorus Line, which we enjoyed. We also enjoyed watching a couple of German guys in front of us, who took loads of photos before the performance, including photos of themselves with the camera held out in front. What do people do with all those photos?
The next day, I met some more writers: Sue and Gail, who I met for the first time last year, and Sally Quilford. Sally has published umpteen books, runs courses and has a busy life, so I was delighted and honoured that she found time to travel to London to meet us. After a fun lunch together, we visited the Pompeii exhibition, which was fascinating but tiring. Unfortunately, we were so busy chatting and touring that no one thought of taking a photo, so you’ll have to trust me that we really did meet.
The next day, on my way to yet another temporary abode, I met Cathy (another writer) for lunch. Then I went on to meet Gill and other members of her family, and to join them for dinner. Yes, meeting people isn’t good for the waistline. Fortunately, the trip didn’t do any lasting damage.
Next was the school reunion. This was my third school reunion. The first one was wonderful, the second much harder. What would this one be like?
Sometimes ideas go around from blog to blog. One person blogs about something and others decide to blog about the same thing. I first saw this idea on Rosalind Adam’s blog. She got the idea from someone else. Probably others got the idea from her. That’s how it works.
This idea has a name. It’s called the Fun and Games Blogfest. You blog about your three favourite games. That’s fun, I thought. I could do that.
Then I thought some more about the games I played as a child. And each game I thought about led to thoughts about bullying. It’s not that I didn’t play games in my childhood. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy playing games in my childhood. But my overwhelming memories now are not about the happy times. They’re about the sad times. They’re about the times I was left out of games, or worse – made to feel worthless when I tried to join in.
So I decided I didn’t really want to blog about games I played. But I was still left wondering how I should react. Should I ignore the whole thing and not mention it, or should I write about my feelings? By writing, doesn’t it spoil things for others? The original idea was just a bit of fun. I don’t need to ruin that with my hangups.
This doesn’t apply only in this particular case. It’s true nearly every time childhood is brought up in conversation. I think that anything I could add to the conversation wouldn’t be appropriate. It would turn a fun conversation into a sad and boring one. So I keep quiet.
But I’ve kept quiet all my life. I’m fed up with keeping quiet. I want to speak out. I want others to know who I am. But I don’t want to spoil their fun.
When I attended my last school reunion, I kept quiet and listened to all the fond memories. Inside, I was crying for the girl who didn’t take part in those fun things they remembered. Afterwards, I decided not to attend the next reunion.
But that’s what I don’t want to do. That’s what social anxiety is about – hiding away so that society doesn’t know who you really are. I don’t want to do that any more.