About social anxiety and traveling foreign countries II
– My London experience (Oktober 2015)
(I never manage to finish this back in 2015 and decided to finally do, so half of it is old and half of this I just written)
My first real blog post was about my social anxiety and how it affects me. I mainly wrote about it because I booked a trip with people I have never met in person to a place I don’t really know and let’s face the music: I was bloody freaking out about it.
So to get straight to the point: I sat on my seat on an airplane in the dark and quietly cried. It wasn’t one single (beautiful) tear like you see it in movies, no I couldn’t stop for solid 20 minutes, mainly because I was flying from Heathrow that bitch is always so busy that it took us forever to take off. Why was I crying? Oh well: because I was happy. Of course not completely because I was leaving but still; I was happy.
That doesn’t sound like much, but I don’t think I honestly used that term to describe my feelings since the beginning of grade 11 and that was in 2010.
And not just was I happy on that plane (which would have been kind of weird) no I have been happy for solid 4 days (maybe not the first night but we’ll get to that). And if you haven’t been happy in about 5 years 4 days is a really long time.
But let’s take it to the top: Me, little 21-year-old me who flew only 4 times before in her life, of course, arrived way too early at the airport but I guess that’s better than oversleeping (if you like story’s about that my friend Nika overslept for her flight: video). I spent the spare time I had listening to music, eating and of course: panicking. I was tense, fucking tense. I was a lot better once I was in London. Okay, it wasn’t but once I was off the tube I was more excited to finally meet my longtime internet friend Nika than to be nervous about anything else. And there she was: my light, my sun… joke. We both were standing pretty much next to each other but because it was kind of busy there we didn’t see each other. And well sorry to disappoint you Nika but there was no heavenly glow around you but I was still really happy to meet you in person. (Anni, you’re next, that sounded creepy, sorry)
After just “throwing” my suitcase into my (8-girls bedroom) we went for dinner with an old friend of Nika. What I like about internet friends: when you meet them sometimes it’s the most normal thing in the world like you had always hung out together. Well, at least that’s how it was with us. Nika’s friend was british, meaning I was thrown into cold water. I didn’t know if I could talk to him at all. I can write in English without freaking simply because: if I’m not too sure about how to say a certain thing I can just google it, look it up and stuff. Also, I am doing the writing thing a lot more than the talky thing! But for some reason, I was able to talk. I was just as nervous as I am always with new people.
This evening me and Nika took our very first selfie together and I still love it.
(Took me too long to write this because I just forgot what came next. I think the next main thing was my bedroom. Eight girls. That’s a lot. And for some reason, they all have been to bed at 10 pm(!!!). And because it was my first night I wasn’t organized at all: I needed to get into the room at least 5 times to get stuff I needed for the bathroom. I felt really bad. I had to get up quite early the next morning to sign in online for a university course. And this is the part where I stopped feeling bad about the last night: they were so loud at like 5 am one time then at 7 am the next time and last but not least at 9 when I just tried to get back to sleep because I knew the others wouldn’t be up before 10 am. Like seriously?)
A lot happened that weekend: we went to MCM, I met Jack and Dean (and manage to make an absolute fool out of myself in front of them), we went clubbing and we laughed a fucking lot. On my last day there we even went to the cat café and met Caspar Lee (Nika freaked a little and it was the funniest thing ever). The weekend ended on a high. And it was the first time I was happy again. This doesn’t mean I haven’t had fun the last years but I never was happy, never completely, not for years. This were the first good four days I had and since then a lot more good days followed. I don’t think the people I met that weekend know this, I don’t even know if Nika is fully aware of this but it is true: during four days there never once was a dark cloud there. My head was clear for the first time in years. When I laughed I meant it and my mind wasn’t thinking about how uncomfortable I should feel. I forgot about the clouds. I forgot about not wanting to have a future because if a future would hold more days like that I actually wanted to live long enough to experience this again. And this is the reason I started crying when I was sitting there, alone in this seat row of a late evening plane from Heathrow to Düsseldorf: I suddenly realized that I was actually happy that weekend. I suddenly realized that I was not happy before. I suddenly realized that I was still able to be happy. It is really hard to describe what it felt like. I remember that it was really overwhelming, but at the same time, I felt at east. I can’t remember feeling happiness as present or as strong ever since, but that might be because it hasn’t had left me for such a long time since then.
Still remembering this weekend, these days in London, give me a weird feeling. I can’t recall how I exactly felt on that flight but I still remember it a little (even after all this time). I don’t think there will ever be a trip as meaningful as this. I went to London again, for Sitc 2016 and the trip was amazing and I had fun and I was happy most of the time, but I already managed to be happy again.
London in October 2015 was something special, the trip itself, but more importantly me being happy again.