Anxiety got the best of me and I started to cry, not the cute cry, but the I can’t even get a single word out of my mouth kind of cry.
I went into today terrified. Today was the day I was to go meet with a group of woman, a group of woman who I had never met before. Now to some of you, it’s not a big deal, you love meeting new people. But to me and others who are living with anxiety, it scared the shit out of me. I was a ball of nerves in the morning, making sure my hair and makeup looked just right, playing in my head over and over all the interesting things I wanted to say.
I walked into the room, the only spot left at the table was at the head, I said to myself “you go girl, you just sit at the head of the table like you fucking belong there” and I did. Then we were each given 5 minutes to introduce ourselves and talk about our business. It started at the other end of the table and one by one all these beautiful women talked about their careers. There was a relator, a photographer, a lady who owned an electrical company etc. These were all badass women with loads of experience and as they went through their stories, I shrunk lower and lower into my chair. I kept telling myself that I didn’t belong there, that these women were far more knowledgeable and experienced than I was, I had nothing to bring to the group.
It had gotten to the turn of the lady sitting next to me. She owns an immigration advisory, something she has worked years to do. Hearing her speak brought back some traumatic memories, memories of having to leave New Zealand, my home, my job, and my family, the memories of saying goodbye to my husband and our kids as I walked through the airport, not knowing when I would be allowed to see them again. The lovely lady next to me has now finished, it’s my turn to talk…. As soon as I went to open my mouth my combination of horrible memories and anxiety got the best of me and I started to cry, not the cute cry, but the I can’t even get a single word out of my mouth kind of cry.
But you know what? All these scary, intimidating, beautiful and successful women were there for me. Even though we had just met, I felt like in that moment, I had everyone in that room’s empathy. It was a big moment for me. It was the moment that I realised that these women aren’t looking down at me, they’re here for me. I belong in the group. I am valued.