In 2010 I was just finding my feet. I’d turned 16 but I was a little behind really. I was still very shy and I was scared of absolutely everything. Everything except performing, which I actually did more then, than I do now. Of course, I had no idea that my fear of life would actually be labeled as an anxiety disorder years later.
I vividly remember how nerve-wracking attending my high school prom that year was and how long I obsessed over my hair, only to hate how it ended up on the day.
I had 11 New Year’s resolutions at the start of 2011. Number 1 was predictable and embarrassing: To find love. *rolls eyes* Moving onwards, I resolved to get better at maths and did. I said I’d get organised and didn’t. I vowed to smile more and worry less, as I do every year. And finally, I pledged to be more daring.
I went to a house party on New Year’s Eve. I had to write a pros and cons list just to decide whether to go or not.
I remember some of the cons so clearly even now. I was staying the night and I was worried my pyjamas were an embarrassment. I didn’t know whether I wanted to drink alcohol and I didn’t know if it would be a big deal if I didn’t. I felt insecure in the outfit I had to wear, but didn’t have anything else. I was worried I hadn’t eaten enough, because of the nerves. I felt guilty leaving my family to celebrate without me. I was worried I’d get too tired or feel too anxious before midnight and wouldn’t be able to leave without making a fuss.
Last in the pros column, after ‘it will be fun’ and all other obvious reasons to party on New Year’s Eve, was ‘you said you’d be daring this year’.
When I woke up at my friend’s house New Years Day, I was offered a bacon sandwich with a fried egg in it. I’d never tried having egg in a bacon sandwich before and silly as it sounds, going to that party and adding egg to my bacon sandwich were the first daring things I did that year.
And being daring that year was the best thing I ever decided to do. Unknowingly, I faced my anxiety head on. I grew in confidence, I tried new things, I made new friends, I did in fact find love and from what I remember I smiled a lot. And when my sixth form prom came around, I was a much more confident Bronwen.
It’s not quite so easy to find scary, new things to do being an overthinking twenty-something year old, but I do feel inspired when I think of that version or myself. Could I be braver today? And would saying yes to more things that scare me actually make me feel stronger than ever?