Here’s the story of heat, confidence, and my brain.
Have you ever experienced temperatures so hot that your feet stick to the floor? I put a towel down on the bathroom floor before I had a nice, cold shower. And before I got in, I had to stand on the towel. But as I lifted my feet over the bathtub, the towel came with me! I had to peel it off! And it’s not the only thing sticking to me. Every piece of clothing I wear takes ten minutes to peel off each night. Which doesn’t hurt at all until you get to the underwear department. Honestly, it’s hit 33 degrees Celsius in my town this week. In England! We’re not used to this hell. I’m fairly sure large chunks of the melting ice caps have been put into the seven glasses of water I’ve had today. I’m peeing round the clock. Which is a nightmare, because the bathroom is like a bloody oven…
How do people in warm countries cope? I can’t get anything done. Every inch I move I’m out of breath and need a quick five minute respite. I suddenly woke up one day this week to find myself glued to my bed, which is quite a change after ten months of rain and bitterly cold temperatures, followed by the wettest and coldest June on record, a time when it didn’t rise above 10 degrees. And the Brits don’t seem to know what to do about this change.
I’ve been out. There are old people in thick cardigans. Fat men with their tops off. Women wearing these vests. Most people in trousers or skirts, with the odd short wearer here and there, plus the occasional short shorts wearer. Usually teenage girls, but fair enough, it’s hot. Bloody hot. Really bloody hot. And now and again, you’ll see the occasional teenage boy, pretty boys usually, walking the streets in their Hawaiian themed shorts, sandals, and no tops on – flashing their six packs. Often completed with the sunglasses and ragged hair ‘beach boy’ look. Oh, they make me sick. They’re just trying to impress girls. And the worst thing is, it works. “Look at my unrealistic body image – who doesn’t want to sleep with me?” Erm, anyone with a brain?
I know men like that. They’re all dickheads. What? They are! They think body image is what people desire in a potential partner and it isn’t. It’s what on the inside. What someone looks like shouldn’t matter. And I tell you why they keep doing it. Because quite a lot of girls are in to that. All show and nothing else. Well, somebody has to date them, I suppose. I’m not jealous, though. I don’t want a girlfriend. But there are people as ugly and nerdy as me who do. They haven’t got a chance. And that’s why I prefer winter. People talk to each other in winter. Get to know one another. In the summer, however, it’s so hot it’s exhausting just talking. Or breathing. Or moving. Or doing anything. At all.
One could argue it’s the same as men lusting after the skinny bleach blonde blue eyed beauties in their skimpy clothes, with their big boobs and fake tan. But ladies, I can assure you, many, many men do not like that type of girl. The average man is much more likely to be attracted to a realistic woman. I am. The girl next door. Because she’s not in the clouds…
But I do think the sunshine brings the best out in people. I really do. People seem happier and jollier. And that’s a real noticeable change in England. People go from ‘miserable gits’ to ‘pleasant gits’ quite quickly. If you want proof of this, I went outside this week. And I never go outside. It’s full of people. And they’re irritating and judge me far too often. If you have borderline social anxiety like I do, then, bloody hell, this world is a shit place. Nobody seems to like you and everything is terrifying. I’ll take you through my day.
ARRRRRRGH! I have to go outside!
That’s how my day usually starts. When I wake up in the morning, everything I have to do starts rushing through my brain, all at once. Bus times. What if it doesn’t come? Routes. Alternate routes. Alternate bus times. What to say to people. What social conventions will I need to navigate through? How do I do what I need to do? You start panicking. Your brain starts screaming at you. ‘IT’S TOO MUCH! You can’t do it! You’re a failure! You’re pathetic! You’re gonna struggle because you’re a coward! The world doesn’t like little old you!’ This is what you have to deal with if you’re shy. And there’s no cure or management. You just have to take life one step at a time. That’s all you can do.
I went to the bank. I don’t have a credit card, debit card or bank card, so I have to go to the teller and ask for some money. I walk into the bank. I get my passport out of my pocket and I notice my hands are shaking. I go into the queue and wait for my turn. The woman asks me what I want and I tell her. I’m not looking at her because eye contact doesn’t exist in my world. She starts making conversation. I don’t know what to say. So I just nod and smile, although my face when I smile looks like the face of a constipated gorilla…
And I get the hell out of there. The second I got my money, I bunged it in my pockets and I went to the shop. I wanted a voucher for dad’s 60-something birthday next week. The second I went into the shop, I scanned the area. I was trying to get a snapshot of how other people were behaving. Because I had no idea how I was supposed to act. In the end, I looked rather awkward and ungainly, but I managed it. But they didn’t have everything I wanted, so I went to another shop.
Now, by this point, I was already sweating quite badly, and not just because of the heat. My brain started screaming at me. My plans! My poor plans had gone out of the window! ‘You’re pathetic. You’ve failed. What are you playing at? Have you any idea how stupid you look? You’re laughable at best.’ I chose to ignore Mr. Brain because he was starting to annoy me.
And you know what? I managed. I did what I had to do and I did it well. I don’t like to sing my own praises, because I’m crap at everything, but I’m proud. I went to that other shop and behaved like a normal human being. I don’t know how, but I carried myself well, I feel. I wasn’t trying to, it just happened. And I went to another shop, a card shop, and I spent ten minutes looking around. Normally, I’d run in, pick up the first card I see, and run away. Fast. But I didn’t run. I was normal for once. And that’s sounds really insignificant but actually, I’m quite proud. It was normal. And for me, that was really special. I managed to ignore that bastard of a brain for long enough to have a normal day. Of course, it’ll only be temporary, I’m not strong enough to defeat that negative voice in my head, but for one moment, I saw a light after living for so very long in the darkness. And that’s gone, but it doesn’t matter, because I had a good day. And I never have a good day.
I only realised when I got home quite what had happened. In fact, the only thing that went wrong was in the second shop. I didn’t have much money on me and my mathematics skills are – abhorrent, let’s say. I was there for ten minutes trying to add up. I just couldn’t do it. I failed maths three times. Eight years of lessons, combined. Three fails. I’m not trying again. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Well, that’s three. Screw maths. I came to the conclusion that I would have just about enough. £57. Yeah, I was quite pleased with my mathematics skills. I confidently went up to the till lady and she scanned my items. Totted up the total. And what did it come to? £45. Oh, fiddlesticks…
Yes, I’ve had a good week. Infuriatingly hot but my brief dalliance with confidence made life shine for one fleeting moment. I know that confidence is gone because a really pretty girl got on my bus on the way home. She smiled at me. I immediately wet myself.
I put my head down and looked out the window.
What? Hey, the last girl who smiled at me turned out to be a lesbian. And she was gorgeous. Just like this new girl. I’m not saying all the girls who smile at me are lesbians, but so far, quite a few of them have been.
Oh, she was lovely. What a shame. Stupid brain…
Okay, I’m going now. It’s so hot I am starting to melt. My cold ice cube filled glass of water has now boiled. My chocolate bar has melted, too. But at least I’ve got a new shaver and toothbrush to unpack. They won’t cool me down but they’ll always be a memento of a day when I saw light at the end of a dark tunnel I thought I was trapped in.
They’ll also be a memento of that day a beautiful lesbian smiled at me.
I don’t know that for sure, but knowing my luck…
American activist, diplomat and politician, Anna Roosevelt (1884-1962), once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Peace Out :|:
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