Charlie? She’s a fucking letdown

When I wrote about Eroticon a couple of posts ago, I was kind of hoping my nerves would settle before the day itself. Instead, the complete opposite proved true: I spent last night wide awake with nerves until 3.30, and I had to get up at 6.30 to drive to Bristol. Where I spent the whole day in a state of permanent terror.

So, this is a post of two halves. It’s half about how, even from the sidelines, I could tell that Eroticon is a genuinely warm, fun event, full of great people, even those, like Domsigns, who have been lovely to me on Twitter, and who I still haven’t even met, because I’m too chicken to network. And it’s half about wondering when I became so fucking defined by my anxieties that I don’t even recognise myself anymore.

The boy and I have a conversation every so often about whether or not you should confront and challenge your vulnerabilities. He says yes, I say no. But actually, the reason the conversation winds me up so much is because deep down I agree with him – I think you should push yourself, it’s just that somewhere along the line every time I push myself it’s led to me having a fully-blown panic attack. So I’m being kind to myself, and judging myself like hell for it.

I kind of wish I’d been blogging longer by the time Eroticon came around – I mentioned in my last post that I wasn’t sure whether I’d put my name or Charlie’s on my name badge. As it happens, it was hers, so I’ve spent my first ever day being Charlie Powell in public. And frankly? I was hoping she’d be more fun. Sure, she likes the same things I do: chocolate, wine in the sunshine and really, really good hugs. But none of those things, all of which people tried, calmed her down any more than they do me. My point? If  I’d been her for a bit longer (I’ve only actually been blogging since September), then perhaps she’d be a better alter-ego, one I could use to put my own anxieties to one side and make sure I don’t miss out on amazing opportunities like I did today, like the chance to meet Girlonthenet.

All this aside, I did find Kristina Lloyd’s flash fiction workshop really useful. Because I typically read and write novel-length fiction, but would love to dabble with short story writing, it’s massively beneficial to have someone show you good examples of stories where there’s little to no exposition, just a story contained within the sex itself. One particularly good example was read out by Janine Ashbless, whose work I’m aware of but not that familiar with – I’ll certainly be seeking it out now, though.

Kristina got us to brainstorm story ideas inspired by either paint names – Farrow & Ball are the best – or nail polish colours. I picked Essie’s Tea and crumpets, which I did actually once buy for a friend, and I have got a few ideas floating around for stories based on this – if the finished product is any good I promise I’ll post it here.

In the meantime, if any of you see Charlie, can you tell her to pull herself the fuck together?

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5 thoughts on “Charlie? She’s a fucking letdown

  1. I so identify with this. Drunkenly hassle someone for sex – no problem! Actual, useful networking? Sorry, can’t do it – waaaay to scary. Relieved to hear I’m not the only one with networking anxiety.

  2. Hey there – I’m so sorry I didn’t get to meet you – I always love love love meeting guest bloggers, and your guest blog was incredibly hot! But I completely understand the difficulty in going up and talking to people. I spent the first couple of hours of Friday night being terrified, and it was only due to the lovely attentions and introductions of Innocent Loverboy and Domsigns which hauled me out of my shell.

    So, here’s the thing: you probably don’t want to hear me say ‘oh you should totally just talk to people’ – that doesn’t help with my anxiety either, and when I’m hiding in a corner staring at my phone trying to hold back my own terror the idea that I should ‘just talk to people’ doesn’t much help me either. But what I will say is two things:
    Firstly – if you’re up for it, next time there’s an event where we might both be, DM me and we can talk via DM then I’ll try and find you and introduce myself. I often find this is a much easier way to bridge the gap than (gulp) actually walking up and introducing myself in person, which scares the crap out of me. And I will be just as nervous and we can shake together. And I can introduce you to some of the other fantastic people too!
    Secondly: If this is something that you’re really struggling with and you want to try a useful thing – I’ve been going to CBT for a while to try and deal with my own anxiety issues, having eventually realised that the kind of panic I was having in many situations (not just social ones) wasn’t great. It hasn’t ‘fixed’ or ‘cured’ me, so I’m not going to evangelise, but I think it has helped me a bit by teaching me techniques to get over certain obsctacles, so if this is something you reckon might help have a word with your GP who should be able to put you in touch with someone. I’m not saying “oh you totally need to do this”, just… I don’t know… it sounds like you and I might be a bit similar and this is something that was useful for me so it might be useful for you as well.
    Finally – much love, and I hope I get to meet you at some point in the future!

    • Hello! Thank you so much for the lovely message!
      I think this bit sums me up to a T – I could have written it myself…! “when I’m hiding in a corner staring at my phone trying to hold back my own terror the idea that I should ‘just talk to people’ doesn’t much help me either”
      I confess, GotN, I didn’t even make it there – I was too pussy 😦
      I have to say thank you so much for your offer too as I would love to meet up and say hello in a similar event – it would be awesome. And that’s such a great plan/tactic too, so thoughtful of you. I could definitely handle doing things in the way you suggest.
      As for CBT well, I have tried it (when my marriage imploded) I had a few months and I have to say I totally agree with you. I think it’s a really practical, and simple, way to deal with anxiety and the situations that trigger or exacerbate it.
      I used to be ridiculously shy in a social context (virtually mute, it was excruciating), now I just get super wound-up in situations when I don’t know anyone and/or when there’s any requirement to promote myself in any way.
      I’m so glad to hear that you feel it’s working for you too; that sort of anxiety is so horrible to deal with isn’t it?
      Thanks again for being so kind about my post, and sending much love back to you too 🙂
      Take care and hope to meet up soon (I promise not to be mute!) xx

  3. Pingback: Talking about it | Sex blog (of sorts)

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