Everyday life for me is a bit like an extended version of your walk to the train station.
Let me set the scene. It’s Tuesday, you’re hair is less fly away than usual and you’ve managed to get out of the house without eating your breakfast and doing your mascara on the walk to the station. You’ve really got the day on lock and for a brief moment you displace.
Beyoncé comes on your Spotify, and before you know it, you’re strutting your arse to the train station and flicking your weave round when you stop at the lights.
Because for that brief moment, you aren’t you. You’ve bossed your morning, you’re listening to your favourite song and for that moment, you’re more Sasha Fierce walking at out at the Super Bowl and less Jo walking past the KFC on Surrey Street.
And that’s fine. Those moments of being another girl are normal.
But when living in an anxious mind, you’re always pretending to be that other girl.
Not just on your Tuesday morning commute. But constantly, all the time every day.
There are about 400 girls I think I am most days.
But here are some of the best ones that really do a job of illustrating the epic-ness of this brain mis-wiring.
The Funny Girl
There are the hours when I believe for a short, split second that I am the funny girl. For a very small lapse of time, I embody this generation’s Victoria Wood and I see myself behind a mic in some smoky whisky joint making well educated jokes about things that are happening in the world and everyone is laughing and looking on at me in wonder.
In reality? Every time I get the courage up to make a joke, or allow myself to come over all Jennifer Saunders, or send a well-timed tweet, or an off the cuff one liner WhatsApp, I no longer embody ‘the funny girl’.
Instead I embody the girl who’s inner arsehole of a dialogue comes out to play and hits play on the extended dance remix version of ‘why did you just say that, everyone thinks you’re a massive twat’.
The Organised Girl
There are moments when I literally think I’m a walking Smythson Filofax and by just being in my presence, you and all around you all fall into a well colour co-ordinated and filed line. I’m Jo, I’m a walking critical path and there ain’t no Excel sheet I ain’t reformatted.
But then there’s the anxious reality. The reality that yes, I remember so much stuff, but only because I’ve spent 15 years compulsively writing EVERYTHING DOWN. Every bag has a book in it that is filled with scruffy, scatty lists and notes because my anxious nature makes two things happen;
A) makes me believe that I will instantly forget everything I’m being told because I’m crap and so is my memory, so I’m better off basically writing minutes of every conversation I ever have just incase I spontaneously develop Alzheimers at 28 and need all of the details.
B) makes me actually forget things because my mind is so preoccupied with worrying about everything else, like if that pain I got in my ear momentarily a week ago was actually in fact a brain tumour or if the chicken I’ve got a home might actually be off and might put me in hospital.
I also have to write everything down in a really clear fashion incase the worry takes over and I self combust. And then at least my to-do list is somewhere for someone else to read and action. Because I’d only worry from beyond the grave that I’d be letting someone down.
I’ll write a whole other post about my list writing but just know that I wrote one once whose action items included ‘shave legs’ and ‘brush teeth’.
The One Everyone Wants Girl
It happened a lot when I was single that I would get flashes of ‘he’s one lucky motherfucker getting to hang out with me’.
When I say flashes, I mean they’d be gone quicker than you could say ‘Tinder’.
But the truth of the matter is that every time I ever got asked out by a bloke I would spend a decent week wondering what kind of bet he was doing it for, what kind of prison he’d just left or what kind of sexual deviant he was.
Again, there’s a whole other post in here about anxiety induced dating.
Let’s just say one thing. It was fucking dire.
The Knowledgable Girl
There are the times when I’m like, I didn’t even go to uni but Jeremy Paxman is in for a fucking treat because I’ve done nothing but watch Scientology documentaries for 7 weeks straight and I know all the facts about everything.
But then in reality I sit down to try and learn something new but my brain wanders around from everything to worrying that my Nan might not answer the phone next time I call which might mean she’s dead to worrying that the guy I went on two dates with might go off and shag someone else or that I just smudged the nail varnish on my little finger and someone might see that on the train tomorrow might judge me. And before I know it I look up and the documentary has finished and I’m left sitting there wondering what I did with the last hour of my life. Oh yeah. Worry. Shock.
Or even when I do have the knowledge, I do have the answers (yes, and the key and the secret…) I go to yell it out in an attempt to prove how full of facts and intelligence I am, but my anxiety pipes up with her whinging once more and tells me to shut up because I heard it wrong, and I’ll look like a prat and probably blush so I might as well just stop before I start.
The Sexy Girl
There are the moments when I feel all demure and curvy and envisage a long thick mane of hair falling down my back like something out of a more clothed 2007 Kelly Brook calendar.
But then there’s the reality of my anxiety telling me that everything I wear makes me look like Pat Butcher shoe horned into a jam jar and so I just avoid reflective surfaces for days at a time.
The Laid Back Girl
Pah! Say no more.