3 weeks have flown by since I last wrote. With further restrictions being lifted life is beginning to be fun again. I am now going into the office 3 days per week and work is definitely getting busier.
Last Thursday I had to take a huge step out of my comfort zone and give a presentation via zoom to a very large potential client. In a 'normal' world it would have meant a long journey to the North East. The introduction of many now working from home has eliminated that, so I guess one positive has come from the lockdowns we have endured.
Usually in my work I am very confident but the morning of the presentation I woke up and was a bundle of nerves. I had my hypnotherapy in February for my confidence, self-esteem and self-worth, and it has been life changing. Thursday did put it to the test. My therapist has helped me overcome my anxiety by getting me to realise the same physical symptoms I experience when anxious are identical to those when I'm excited about something, so Thursday I just kept reminding myself I was excited to have been given the opportunity to deliver this presentation.
30 minutes before the presentation I went for a walk to clear my head. I then went to the ladies and stood looking in the mirror and told myself out loud I can do this. I was dressed in business wear, the first time since November, I looked the part and felt totally at ease and confident entering the zoom conference in front of 3 senior managers and the MD of the company I was presenting to.
My presentation was to last an hour and I knew I was the last person they would be seeing that day, with 4 competitors before me. No pressure! With the help of my Networks Director the presentation was delivered. At the end I was informed a decision would be made in two weeks. I was also a little worried when one of the senior managers said he'd like to provide feedback. My heart sank when he said I've not done this with the others but…. He went on to say how impressed he was and lots of other fantastic comments. I wanted to burst with happiness but had to maintain my professionalism. I did pretty much float home.
Personally, life is going well. My Facebook group is continuing to grow. With just under 800 members and fantastic feedback and reviews I really cannot believe how well it has done in just over 4 months. I continually get comments saying what a fantastic group it is, how much fun people are having and what I love is the fact that so many people, like me, have connected with others we would never have met. I've already met with a few people who I've got to know through my group and have a night out planned this week to meet with about 10 others.
What started off as a bit of a joke at a very low point in my life has turned into something I am incredibly proud of creating. My therapist has been giving her services free each week to my group members, and we have covered so many topics including, confidence, self-esteem, setting boundaries, creating your own reality and many more. My silly little group has turned into a safe, fun network of like-minded people. We laugh and joke, there is a lot of innuendo and banter. We tell our stories, which are always met with positive and encouraging remarks. One of my male group members put a comment up the other day saying he thought my group was the best he had come across and congratulated me on starting it. I'm learning to accept and appreciate the compliments I receive, something I always hid away from before as I never thought I was worthy of them. Now I embrace it.
Somebody I cut ties with in January reached out to me 2 weeks ago. We had been friends for a number of years, but he did something that hurt me. I now know my reason for feeling hurt was because I never set boundaries. That was due to my lack of confidence. I do not hold grudges and I did accept the olive branch that was handed to me. He said he had missed me, and he does appreciate me. Something his actions didn't show in the past, but I guess that was because I allowed it.
I am still the same person I have always been but this time I have boundaries. I know my worth. I feel like me but a better version of me. I've stopped trying to please everyone all of the time at the detriment of my feelings. I like who I am. I like how I look and I'm happy. This version of me is taking some getting used to for my friend which I find amusing. Every day I continue to learn more about myself, about who I am, what I want and what I need, and I'm rather enjoying the journey.
I've written and re-written this so many times. Each time it just seems like a huge block of words on a page. Not because I'm sad, quite the opposite actually. I'm a bundle of excitement. I feel like a kid at Christmas and my brain is working faster than my pen so to speak, so words are just tumbling out at a rate of knots. I have so many exciting and happy things going on at the moment I feel like I'm going to burst. None of it is life changing, but I haven't been this excited about anything since the early months of 2020, and it feels good.
I'm meeting up with a friend I've known since I was 7 and lost touch with. We met again through my group and have arranged to go for a walk on Wednesday. It'll be great to catch up on what's been going on in her life and chat about old times. I also have my jab booked for Thursday afternoon. After them trying for the past 2 weeks to send me to the Isle of Wight I've finally been booked into Guildhall Walk. Most people in my age group are not getting it yet which is why I can't have it locally, so I consider myself lucky as my children are both Type 1 diabetics and the letter of invitation states I'm a carer for a person who is vulnerable to Covid-19. However, I am needle phobic! The thought of the needle, not the vaccine, is already making me nervous. I know, I'm a wimp. The journey to get the jab will be a doddle, but I'm concerned about coming home. I faint every time I have an injection or blood taken so the thought of a bus, ferry and another bus on my own will be interesting. Possibly embarrassing but well worth it. My second jab is already booked for the 13th of June.
This coming weekend is what has got me about ready to pop. I'm going to see my daughter. Apart from a brief moment at Christmas I have not spent anytime with her since her birthday at the end of October. We are meeting up for a drink in the garden rain or shine. I do not care if it is thundering, lightning or throwing it down with hailstones. The gazebo will be up and we are meeting.
I'm also going for garden drinks with a guy who I have known for 34 years. He is a few years older than me and I had a huge schoolgirl crush on him. I was a first year, he was a fifth year, so he never knew, and I don't think he even realised I existed back then. We bumped into each other when we both worked for Butlins 25 years ago but hadn't seen one other until October last year, when I recognised him on my way home from work. After a hilarious chat on the train and ferry, we added each other as friends on Facebook and he has kept me entertained during this last lockdown with his wit and humour. It is going to be great to actually sit and interact with another adult human. 6 months alone with a teenage boy has been a challenge at times.
Next week I go back to the office for 2 days and the plan at the moment is to do so on a weekly basis. Again I'm so looking forward to interacting with people. To see others without a mask on is going to be fantastic. I have missed seeing smiles and people's facial expressions.
The therapy I have had for my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth has been life changing. I've put some of the weight back on I'd lost at the end of last year, and I'm happy and comfortable with how I look. My parents had commented I had gotten too skinny, as did a couple of people who knew me that I'd bumped into on walks. I think they meant I looked unhealthy, but were too polite to say. On top of my own therapy the therapy sessions we've had in my group have been a massive help. We have covered confidence, trust and last week was boundaries. This week is creating your own reality. The feedback myself and Dawn the therapist have received is fantastic and everyone on these sessions has said how much they have got from it. For me personally I never really set boundaries. As a pleaser with confidence issues, I've never been comfortable verbalizing my boundaries or dealing with it, if I felt that they had been crossed. In the past I allowed 'friends' to treat me however they chose and just put up with it. I no longer have contact with two people I've known a long time as they crossed boundaries time and time again, but I let them. I always thought I would miss these people in my life but in the past 2 months since I last spoke to them, I can honestly say I have not at all. It's also given me a much clearer perspective of what and who I want in my life.
My group is continuing to grow and now has over 600 members. Since I started it as a bit of a joke the day before New Year's Eve, I have been amazed at what has been achieved. I never imagined for one minute I could have created something that has helped so many people. I have already booked in to visit a few members who are scattered around the country and have a few from Australia and Canada who are booking a holiday to the UK for the get together once life has fully returned to normal.
I feel like I did back in December 2019 when life for me was fun and exciting. Spring is officially here, the gardens are starting to come to life after a long tough Autumn/Winter, and that is exactly how I see my life at the moment.
I have thought and thought and overthought about sending this post. Something that happened with my post the other day, gave me a bit of a kick to do so, along with other things that have recently happened. Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and do something that fills you with fear. I had spoken with Luke earlier in the summer about writing my ramblings but didn't have the courage at that time. I have been posting for a few months now anonymously, why? I have felt safe. Safe to be able to talk about my deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings without concern of any disapproval or backlash or causing hurt to anyone. It has been incredibly cathartic and helpful to be able to write things I have not been able to find a voice to say. I am fully aware that it is better to get feelings out, not let them fester. It is for me sometimes easier said than done. I have always found it easier to convey my feelings on paper but allow my emotions to get in the way of clearly expressing my true self vocally.
I know the reasons why, and again it is fear. An absolute fear of people’s reactions, a fear that friends or family will read it and criticise, or be hurt by something I have said, fear that my weaknesses will be seen for someone to hurt me and a fear it may open up awkward or difficult conversations.
So, what has changed, why now have I decided to let people see who writes these ramblings? Quite a lot has changed for me, in the past couple of weeks both professionally and personally, and it is time to be brave and build on the positives. I am also ready to move on with the next chapter of my life, a story not yet written.
Professionally I started a brand-new job in a completely new sector to what I have been used to, at the end of September last year. Quite possibly the worst time to change jobs but something I needed to do. At the time I was able to bounce my fears off someone else. Whilst I could not see past the emotional impact my previous job was having on me, they were able to offer a rational and outside perspective which helped me make my decision. The first few months in my new role were incredibly challenging. I was learning new skills, building a client base from scratch in a climate where many people have not been working. I was also going through an incredibly tough time personally.
In the past two weeks my hard work, resilience and perseverance in my career has really paid off. Deals have been rolling in and this has boosted me no end. I also had a goal for major progression when I started my new job, and this is getting closer to achieve. I was also approached last week by a business contact who has offered me a second job outside my main one. It is something I can do around my current role, fills my time and has opened several other avenues up for me, including the possibility of starting my own business - something I have thought about for a while but never really got beyond the daydreaming stage. Now I am seriously researching this possibility and whilst I am just at the ideas and fact-finding stage it has given me a buzz.
Personally, I have been up and down like a yoyo for a while. I started writing my other blog and created my group as an escape from how I was feeling. It has been, like this blog, surprisingly cathartic and a lot of fun. It is also gaining momentum and has opened other avenues for me to pursue. I have engaged with so many people in the past 2 months, from every walk of life and from all over the globe. I have made acquaintances with some truly wonderful people and know that great friendships are on the horizon. They have also taught me a lot about myself and helped me to realise I will no longer tolerate certain treatment from others, people I have known a long time and considered trusted friends, when in fact their selfishness has had a negative impact in my life. It is quite funny how outside perspective is sometimes all you need to see clearly. And the opinions and feedback from others about me over these past few weeks has benefited me greatly.
I have been dealing with some internal demons, whilst I can quieten them, I cannot silence them and every now and then they rear their ugly heads. One of my biggest demons is my confidence. Confidence in how I look and whether I am worthy or good enough. Externally people see a confident strong woman. That is a mask I have worn for many years and comes from my career. I have always been a top performer in whatever job I have done, progression was always offered not sought. I could look confident although not necessarily feeling it, as I knew my stuff and knew I delivered fantastic results. I guess changing my career paired with my confidence personally, being rock bottom, was a bit of a catalyst to the issues I have encountered since November.
I know I cannot continue to feel the way I do and have sought help through therapy. I had some unofficial counselling back in the summer, but I was reluctant to spill all so to speak, so really was not getting to the root cause. I had a therapy session on Monday and have a 3-hour session booked for Friday, where I am going to be hypnotised. It is to help me address my confidence, self-esteem and self-worth issues. I have been warned it is going to be incredibly emotional but if it works, I am willing to try.
So, who am I.? My name is Samantha, I am a 46-year-old woman. Mother to 2 grown up children. A Business Development Executive for a Telecoms company. Like most people I have been through tough times. I overthink, I self-critique far too much, I am passionate. I love openly and honestly. I have many flaws; I trust too easily but at other times not enough. I put other people’s feelings and needs before my own. I am a pleaser and a fixer and whilst I can be the shoulder to everyone and giver of great advice or so I am told, I will struggle in silence with my own problems. I can be incredibly stubborn. I only ever mean the best and whatever I do is without malice and with the best of intentions, but know I can go about it the wrong way. I also know I can be a total contradiction of myself. I love to laugh and all I want from life is to be happy. But this is me, this is who I am. I do not want to be a different person; I just want to feel better about who I am and what I have to offer to others. I'm a simple person and just want happiness. Is that too much to hope for?