body positivity, mental health

Social Anxiety, Swedish strangers, and a fat activist.

In March i decided that I was no longer going to say no to doing things based on fear or anxiety. I decided the only reasons I would turn down doing something would be physical incapability or it because went against my beliefs or morals. My goal was to experience new things and ultimately morph into some kind of extroverted butterfly or something like that.

This came about because I was pretty much fed up of living life either as a caterpillar (ironically very hungry) or hiding in one of those Cocoon things 🤷‍♀️ and I figured the only way I was going to get to where I wanted to be, was by doing the things that scared me.

Living with anxiety can honestly be so debilitating. I overthink every damn thing. I didn’t get off a bus where I was supposed to once because I was too worried about it being the wrong stop and having to walk passed all the other passengers in shame. I ended up doing a massive lap and going back to where I started and ringing somebody for a lift in stead. I NEVER do things by myself because even though I’m 27 I feel like I always need a responsible adult with me. I don’t speak to people unless they speak to me first and then I struggle to even know what to say and it just turns into an awkward nightmare.

So in March I set up an Instagram account that was basically for documenting me facing fears, preaching about body liberation and talking about mental health. All in a bid to get me to where I wanted to be. And I’m honestly a little closer! I’ve given talks in church, one assigned and one completely voluntarily (massive deal, honestly) I’ve been to the temple for the first time in 5 years, I’ve spoken to people, I phoned a stranger, I stripped off on a beach for no reason other than the fact that I could, and I’ve taken 50% of my kids out of the house ON MY OWN. Now I hear you thinking ‘no big deal’ but they honestly are MASSIVE.

Anyway, through this Instagram account I discovered Sofie Hagen. A fat activist, comedian, author and all round delicious human from Denmark. I bought her book ‘Happy Fat’ and found out that she was touring the Uk for her book tour/stand up and reeeeeally wanted to go to her Cardiff show. I asked a friend to come and was brutally rejected (forgive you though el) Too worried about going alone I posted an Instagram story explaining all the things and asking if anyone wanted to come with me. I KNOW RIGHT!? WHO AM I?! And I had a message from a girl called Alice who I had spoken to a few times already. (@bodyposalice) Alice lives in Sweden, and is doing a nursing degree, but turns out SHE WAS IN CARDIFF AS PART OF A FOREIGN EXCHANGE PROGRAMME WHILE SOFIE WAS TOURING THERE!

What a small world! So we booked tickets. Me! To go to a show, in Cardiff, with someone I hadn’t met IRL. Due to my aforementioned struggles with public transport I booked a hotel to stay the night and so that’s where I am now. The morning after. Sat on my hotel bed after having breakfast in the hotel restaurant alone and After spending the night with a perfectly lovely stranger.

The whole point of me telling you all this was to show you that doing scary things is good for you, it allows growth. It helps you realise that you are more than your struggles. Spending time with yourself gives you a chance to get to know you. You are the only person in the world that you have to spend 100% of your time with so why shouldn’t you enjoy your own company? Every good friend that you have was once a stranger, so don’t be afraid to talk to them. On The other side of fear lies freedom.

And also, Sofie Hagen is genuinely hilarious and if you get the chance to see one of her shows then you should take it! Especially if you are Westlife. (You had to be there)

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