The truth is that I am more confident around friends and family as I feel comfortable being myself with them, I mean who doesn't. Yet in large groups I tend to sit back and observe (comes in handy when writing), therefore leading people who don't know me very well to think I am weird. There are still issues around my family though, for example no one (besides my cats) have ever heard me sing properly. For me there is like a physical wall inside my head creating a barrier and stopping me from doing certain things. I have always found starting new thing (clubs, schools, groups) hard as the prospect of having to meet new people, talk and start at the bottom when others are more knowledgeable scared the hell out of me. This problem has stopped me taking up a few things and also made me incredibly nervous about taking up a career that is so unpredictable.
When I started writing people thought I was stranger than ever. They believed it to be an anti-social job and that I was becoming more of an introvert than I already am. Maybe they are right, I have never enjoyed huge gatherings or talking to people for a long time and being in a family that did was a nightmare but I am happy in my own skin I'm learning slowly to ignore the comments that used to affect me. If I am happy with what I am doing that is all that matters right? And anyway I've found out there is a lot more 'talking' involved with writing than what people think.
I was nervous about putting my work out there as I thought it would be a lot harder to connect with people. I have never enjoyed meeting new people as a fear and lack of confidence always got in my way. However when I entered the writing community I was pleased to find out that I wasn't the only one. Writing, for the most part is a solitary job and I was glad that other people were in the same situation as me. Everyone was welcoming and had a genuine interest in what I was doing. This was probably down to the fact that we had similar interests and therefore could talk easier. It was also reassuring to know that what people were telling me was wrong and to find people like myself.
There are a few things that have helped me immensely with my confidence. First, was meeting people who had the same interest and passion for writing. It was easy to connect and talk. Also a year ago I started a drama A-Level and it has been one of the best things I could have done. I regretted not taking it during high school, instead choosing German as I didn't have the courage to start something new. However when I started college I decided to throw myself in the deep end so as I could live without the thought of "what if."
In all honesty the first time I walked into the room and saw everyone I was incredibly nervous. I was the only one who hadn't started acting from a young age but after an hour I found that it didn't matter. They were all like me, nervous about meeting new people and about starting afresh in a new college. It's safe to say that we all had to get to know each other extremely quickly in drama as not even half an hour into the lesson we were up of the performance floor trying to make objects (crown/tank etc) in groups out of our bodies. It was a great way to loosen up and we all had a great laugh as we were all in the same position. If there is only one thing I have learnt from drama it is that you stand out more if you don't put the effort in and so, because everyone was giving 100% I didn't feel stupid about letting go.
I have shocked many people with the performances I have put on, even my family. We are taught this weird type of theatre by Artuad, which basically means scarring your audience through chaos/calm and taboo subjects. This is the part where I was really tested. I had to go into the audience and be right in their face, even had to pull a few out and throw myself at them (luckily they caught me) but I did it and the feeling after was amazing. A lot of my close family and friends were shocked to see me do it and couldn't comprehend what they were seeing, especially the people who always saw me as the "quiet, shy, weird" girl and you know what? I loved shocking them. By the end of the performance not only had I got over a major barrier in my mind, I also felt like I had proved all the people who had said things about me wrong.
I feel the same way in writing. Mixing with people who hold the same interest is great for confidence as I never felt like the were just listening to me to be polite. We could genuinely have a conversation and share opinions. Through drama I have built up communication skills, confidence and developed a thicker skin. It may have helped me socially but mainly it has helped me mentally. I now know that you should have the courage to let yourself go for what you want, to have fun and not let anyone (even yourself) stop you from going after what you want. I mean what's the worst that can happen?
I'm not saying you will see me performing in front of 1000s of people or singing in front of anyone but it is a step in the right direction. Taking drama was one of the best decisions I have made for giving me a boost in confidence and that is probably down to the fact I threw myself in at the deep end first. If I could, I would have done it so much sooner had I realized what it would have done for me. Even so, I am still gaining benefits from it and the look on people's faces when they see me is always priceless so I think I'm going to continue to shock people, not only with my acting but in how I am becoming more confident and determined.