It has been two years since I ventured out on a Saturday night with some girlfriends for a night on the tiles. It was my 33rd birthday and we went into town for cocktails and food. It was a relatively good night, but was the beginning of my not being able to go out. I remember feeling overwhelmed and really didn’t want to join in with their antics. I felt self-conscious and like a wet lettuce. Two of those girls are my good friends and have stood by me through my break down, but the other one and her wife…she was my best friend for 24 years and now barely an acquaintance. I have come to terms with the fact that what they consider to be ‘fun’ and a ‘laugh’ are not what I do and I don’t want to have to pretend to be something I am not. I have never been brave enough to be like this, but I am now 35 and there is a point in time when I have to accept that I am who I am, I like what I like and I don’t want to have to pretend any more.
So the weekend just gone was meant to be when a friend was coming to see me, unfortunately life gets in the way and she couldn’t make it. BUT hubby was at home this weekend and I decided that I wanted to go out. So my friend from therapy and I arranged a girls night out. I was happy to just drink at hers and listen to music and have a laugh but she suggested this pub near where we live. I was shitting myself about it, but I figured that it would do me some good to venture out a bit. Let my hair down and enjoy the fact that I was staying out all night, no kids to worry about and I could be me!
My fear of dogs is a massive issue with going out as is my fear of people in general, especially men. However, she did her homework. The pub we went to did allow dogs but only on a lead and they had to stay with their owners. It’s a family pub too so the usual Saturday night goers wouldn’t be there. I was still terrified and a little anxious because she was bringing a friend with her who had stayed over the previous night. She assured me that we would get on and that this friend understood my social anxiety.
Over the past few months I have lost a fair amount of weight and my jeans which I live in are either ripped or far to baggy. The clothes I have kept from my early 20s are ridiculously too small and so my wardrobe is a little sparse in clothing for a night out. Panic set in, I emptied my clothes onto the bed and tried on virtually everything. I asked hubby for his opinion on two outfits…I was actually quite happy with how he looked at me, think he finally saw how much weight I have lost and appreciated the fact that I don’t look like the beached whale I had become. My figure is not the greatest, but in comparison to how I was, I feel a lot better but there is room for improvement. Anyway, I found an outfit which got the seal of approval for hubby, and as I said to my friend, I felt like I looked like a social worker! Probably because I had worn similar stuff for my uni placements! But I scrubbed up ok and actually felt good about myself!
I was so nervous though, I got my stuff together for staying the night, made sure I had my phone, fags and cash card and said my goodbyes, shut the door walked to the car and realised I had forgotten my keys! Great start Lib!!!
I drove to the pub and my friend came out to meet me. Told me how nice it was to see me in something other than jeans and t-shirt and that I looked really good and how noticeable my weight loss was. We went straight to the bar, got me red bull and went to the garden where her friend was. Her friend and I were both really nervous, we shook hands and had a cigarette.
As the evening progressed it turned out that we all had heaps in common and we got on like a house on fire. It was so relaxed and fun. It was like meeting with people I have known forever and conversation just flowed, I even felt able to be honest with her and tell her that I was bisexual. This is something I am beginning to be more open about but still find hard to say. I am crap with words when speaking to people. I get tongue-tied and nervous and just can’t get the words out. I was terrified, but my friend encouraged me and it was fine! Felt silly for being so scared!
The girl who I met had to get the bus home, but the evening was so good that it was hard to leave and say goodbye. So I offered to drive her home. I’ve really not driven far from home over the past 18 months so this was a big step out of my comfort zone in a courtesy car which is TINY! However, I hadn’t been drinking and therefore felt that with them I could do this. So I drove her down the motorway back to where she lives. It’s a drive I have done before and I knew where I was going, but I was nervous. However, it was fine and we had a great laugh. We are going to have another night out soon with this other girl soon and I have to say I am looking forward to it!
My friend and I went back to her house and cracked open some drinks, put on Kisstory and laughed like I have not laughed in what feels like forever. It was such a good night. Conversation was great and the whole evening flew by! She has a king size bed which I am determined I am going to steal…so comfortable!
This may not seem like a big deal, but for me this night out pushed me beyond my comfort zone. It made me open up to meeting someone new and being open and honest about myself. I know that not everybody will be like this, but I have also realised that I feel far more comfortable around people who have similar problems. I don’t feel stupid with them and most importantly I felt instantly accepted for who I am. I didn’t pretend to be anything. I was me all night and because of that I had the best night ever.
I was shattered the next day. I did drink but not to the extent I could have done, just enough to be tipsy! I feel that my local friend understands and gets me. I have a real life friend who I feel I can trust and whom I feel incredibly lucky to have in my life. And now, I cannot wait for the next girls night out!!! 🙂