Let me first apologise for my lateness. As in life where I am perpetually a minimum of 15 minutes late for absolutely everything, thus my writing has become a part of that same lazy force. Lateness doesn’t bother me in my daily home life, although it probably bothers my friends, family and employers (sorry guys) and realistically I am in fact still in bed when I told you I was on my way but sitting in traffic, and I am probably still thinking of a way to get out of it.
In the virtual world I cannot use that excuse.
Equally, I have been subdued by that crafty git called ‘writers block’ and complained that the amazing nature of the world I live in, and the life I have created for myself on the other side of the planet to home is uninspiring. I have been blinded by the tie-dye fabric of Bali and the dream like nature of living somewhere with zero responsibilities, matcha pancakes and free roaming monkeys, that I forgot quite what the real world entails. Not that I plan on actually committing to adultdom, but more creating a version of it that is equal to that of fat-free ice cream; looks the same- most definitely is not the same, makes you feel better about your contribution toward life in general- allows you to drink two bottles of red at the weekend and not feel bad about it. (Weekend? Who am I kidding? Throughout the week and its definitely not two)
I am lazy. I am so lazy. An issue that to many is a bad trait in a person, but has infiltrated my body and mind and caused great sloth-like movement and thought, and made me an expert in the realms of procrastination, day-dreaming and over-thinking. How I ever got a Master Degree I do not know as I think I was asleep for the majority of that period.
I check Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat steadily and orderly throughout the day instead of doing actual stuff. I complain that I do this but I still will never become one of those people who goes on a social media cleanse, and concentrates wholly on their own life because lets face it, we’re all nosey bastards and filters make me feel fabulous.
So what I am trying to say here is, much like I have said to every boss I have ever had, my friends, my parents and just about anyone who’s had the absolute pleasure of knowing me;’ I’ll try to be on time from now on’.
But I can’t promise anything.
Like many before me, living in a different country to your home is an entirely different pace of life. Mainly because people don’t understand all the slang terms you’re using that you think are completely normal (how is calling someone a mug possibly confusing?) and also because cultural references are not as important (Harry Potter, Marmite, David Beckham, the Queen and Custard Creams are not to be slagged off or mocked but revered with silent admiration) This different pace is especially confusing when you travel alone, it’s not like backpacking where you couldn’t possibly give a damn if the snoring bloke in the bunk bed opposite wants to be chums, you don’t need to like everyone you meet, you’re passing through like a fabulous smoke that bestows wisdom, fun, and sarcasm upon those befitting,and shuns the ones you judge first hand and thereby never speak to again. Much like Mary Poppins.
Here, you are making a home and a life, even if only for a short time, and you haven’t got your mates at home who you have been friends with for such a long time that they are now obligated to like you.
This is a problem if like me, you are a social lemon. I do perfectly amongst my friends, never questioning my sudden outbursts of mentalness, and allowing the natural crazy to shine through. These people somehow became mine and are never allowed to leave. Making friends whilst travelling is more subdued, it takes time to get to the stage of friendship where you let your mental out, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have found this with my many travel buds, where examples include laughing so much you’ve very nearly wee-ed and falling arse first through the centre of a rubber ring.
But then, you find yourself at a new stage of travel. Where you have basically run out of money and have come to adult for a bit. Not full adult, but not backpacker. More like a twenty-something with a carrier bag.
Here slim responsibilities start coming back to you, actual bills you’ve ignored for weeks that you really need to pay, you need to pay rent and you can’t get it back at the end of the month off your lovely mum when you’ve run out of money and want to go out on the piss on Friday night. You need to buy sensible shoes because you can’t actually wear flip-flops to a job interview (Though in Australia I think its accepted), all the pancakes you’ve eaten in the last two months have suddenly caught up with you the minute you stepped off the plane, and now you actually have to do exercise because apparently monkey avoidance on the way to a bar is not a legitimate form of it. A sarong is no longer a correct piece of clothing, a Oreo is not proper sustenance, beer is not your daily intake of water and you cannot buy a new pair of fake Ray Ban’s- or Ray Bali’s every other day. You must adult, and to make this situation so much better for you, you must make friends.
Now the friends you have at home, you don’t know how they got there, they have just been there as long as you remember. I cannot recall a single first ever conversation with any of my friends, I think I’ve just convinced myself we all congregated as babies in a mass friendship coven, promising never to leave each other no matter how late Alex is for everything.
So you sit and you wonder, and you think about how to establish that in your new and temporary home.
This is where I fail, and become a social lemon.
I have never been someone to care if people like me or not. I have always played to my own theme (Mysterious Girl- Peter Andre, not kidding) I wear what I like, I speak how I like, I dance how I like (though that is rare as I am an embarrassingly awkward dancer and am reminiscent of a collapsing rhino) But I convince myself there is a pressure there sometimes. I over think and end up with what must be a form of anxiety. This has been the source of many a cockpocket argument, where you have been convinced you are socially inept and thereby unfriendable.
Now I assume there are many like me out there, whose minds get the better of them in these situations. Where you are so thorough in your desire for an amazing life in your new home that you forget to just be you for a minute. That the pressure of your own mind, coupled with the fear of disappointment, embarrassment or even the fear of being alone, stops you from being yourself, and allowing others to experience that great joy within your friendship. Letting the people around you see that crazy, because maybe that’s just one of the reasons that people love you.
You can’t make any form of social anxiety stop right away, or maybe ever, I don’t know. But when you sit there with these new people, you need to remind yourself, and I need to remind myself, not to be self conscious, not to be afraid and not be quiet. I am loud, I am the loudest, most sarcastic girl you’ll ever have the happy misfortune of meeting. I am also a brilliant friend, and you would be lucky to have me.
Much like my brilliant Australian who took that social anxiety and chucked it out the window the first time we met.
So next time I’m in a new social situation, and I feel that social lemon on the rise, I just need to remember, not everyone is for everyone, some people are complete mugs, and some are fantastic. The anxiety will still be present, that’s not something I, or anyone else out there can change straight away. But the determination to get past it and live in my new destination as thoroughly as I live at home will overtake:
With ease, with a lack of class, and a raised eyebrow;
I am me, like it or lump it.