Reader, I know I seem to be a shining beacon of glowing confidence and self-trust but I'm afraid it's all a lie. The fact of the matter is Reader, that were you to peel back my pale, pale skin, you'd find not organs, but fears, worries and niggles, all wrapped in a juicy coating of hysteria. Here are a few that keep me constantly on the edge of hyperventilation.
1) Being Late
Oh-God-oh-God-oh-God-I'm-going-to-be-late-crap-crap-crap-why-isn't-the-train-here-yet-I'll-never-get-employed-ever-again-they'll-not-pay-me-then-a-big-scary-man-with-bad-breath-and-a-comb-over-will-shout-at-me-and-make-me-stand-in-the-corner. Yes, this is how my mind works. Even if I'm not late. Usually just when I'm not outrageously early and have to sit with a book (n.b. being early does not scare me, although I enjoy it less now that I don't smoke and it's not an excuse for chain smoking any more). This means that I now have a reputation for turning up to friends' houses when they're still in the bath, because to everyone else 7.30 means 8, but to me it means 6.45. I think it was further stressed when I went to Drama School, where they had a 'if you're even one minute late you get shut out for the rest of the day' rule, which terrified me, because I just knew if I ever missed classes because of lateness, it would be the ones that I would really learn things from. So I ended up being on great terms with the security guards, because I was always the one they unlocked the doors for first thing in the morning, even when I had later classes. This has led to me needing to go to sleep very early at night, so like a granny, at about 8.30 I start yawning at thinking of how jolly nice it would be in my bed. Employees however, love me, because I am NEVER late. Ever. And sometimes I'm actually too early (this has happened before at auditions, where I'll have arrived before the auditioners!)
2) All my hair falling out
This isn't actually that unfounded a fear. Last year, during a particularly stressful patch at school, my hair started to fall out. I am unfortunately not a natural beauty Reader, but my hair has always been rather a crowning glory. We have always had a great relationship, and even years of smoking and dyeing the stuff didn't make it lose its shine and thickness. Long days of lessons, peer pressures, stresses of work and very little sleep however, did. I'd wake up in the morning and there would be hair all over my pillow. I'd take a bath and when I got out, the surface would be covered by my hair. I felt like the mean girl in that film about witches (Can't remember what on earth it was called but am sure it started with C) only I'm not a bitchy racist cheerleader. Now, my hair is much repaired thanks to primrose oil tablets and a bit more free time, but I still have that fear on looking like a boiled egg my whole life. That would be AWFUL.
3) Spiders crawling into my mouth while I'm asleep
Urgh. I hate spiders. I watched Arachnophobia when I was a kid, and I've never really recovered. Even tiny wee money spiders provoke screams of horror and prisons made of water tumblers. They just look mean. Like evil. And they always sit on the ceiling, just out of reach, looking at me cruelly with their beady little disgusting eyes. I wouldn't even be that pissed off if they were made extinct due to some huge spider based flu.
4) My belly button unravelling and all my guts falling out
This one stems from someone telling me that belly buttons are made when the nurse ties your cord up when you're a baby. So it makes sense that it could just untie. Right? Right? Um...
5) Forgetting that I've given up smoking and accidentally having a puff
Because that would lead to a whole fag, and that would lead to a packet and then I'd be an addict again and I never ever ever want to be that reliant on a drug ever again. I used to spend about £55 a month on fags, money that now, I'm so confused I was even able to spend. I used to live off 8p noodles, so that I could afford baccy and filters. Utterly insane. And I always smelt like a granny. And my teeth went a shade of yellow that only a hygienist could remove. When I first gave up I had actual nightmares about smoking again, and then I'd wake up and be like 'argh, ohmygod, what have I DONE?!' But am quite proud that I've given up for over a year now. I should get a pressie.
6) My cellulite being worse than I think it is
It's there, it's bit, it could hold Armenian families, and it's the reason you'll never see me in a pair of hotpants without tights or leggings underneath. But what if it's even worse than that? What if, when I wear a swimsuit or a short dress, everyone does silent screams and vomits in pot plants. Hey. It could happen. Maybe everyone always carries tictacs just in case they see the backs of my thighs. Oh god.
It's smug and it makes you pee red. Just plain wrong.
8) Having a bogey hanging off my nose
Just awful. I've seen it happen to other people, and it's gross. In the same way, earwax on display (nothing is a bigger turn off than seeing a guy with a big yellow glob in his ear), that white gack you get in the corner of your mouth and my tights being tucked into my pants. I also have a fear of my boob escaping my bra and a nipple being on display, because the idea of going on the tube and not realising as my nipples wink at strangers is unbearable.
9) People thinking I fancy them when I don't
The problem is, I love flirting, and banter. And because I'm an actor, lots of eye contact is second nature. But people then think I have a thing for them. And if I get a sense that they think that, I get really unbearably embarrassed, blush whenever I see them, stumble over my words and act like a fool. So basically, act like I fancy them, which makes it all the worse. It's exactly the same when I get accused of something I haven't done. I blush, giggle, get shifty. Basically I am useless.
10) Loved ones being dead in a ditch
This dates back to my parents telling me that if I didn't let them know where I was going to be I could just wind up dead in a ditch and they wouldn't know. I used the phrase today when The Lad hadn't got in touch for a whole day (am I the only one that thinks that's ages, or is that just another neurotic thing about me?) and when I finally spoke to him I said 'Where were you? I thought you were dead in a ditch!' At which he was very confused and reminded me that there aren't actually any ditches in South Ealing, and had in fact been playing on Final Fantasy on his phone, hence the lack of contact. He is, of course, now more aware than ever that his girlfriend is completely bonkers. Especially since I then got annoyed because I said I missed him and he said he didn't miss me back. To be fair to him, he did say he loved me very much and would be very happy to see me every day, it's just that he doesn't feel he needs to see me every day. Which is where another of my neuroses comes into play...
11) He doesn't love you, he's just with you because you're really needy
The poor Lad is constantly fighting this particular neuroses. It's highly unlikely that he would have done a long distance relationship, meeting my mental rellies, be moving in with me etc if he just felt trapped but the fear is still there. Every so often it's like a little monster within takes over and goes 'You're completely mental! He can't possibly be attracted to an UTTER LOON like you! You keep asking him if he'd still love you if you were bald or obese or had a leg missing! Poor boy, turn your back and he'll run for the hills with that female friend of his who's much prettier than you and is really really funny and not just in a ha-ha-look-at-that-idiot-way'. I have been told this is actually quite normal. Most girls feel it at some point. In fact, lots of girls feel like that ALL THE TIME which is a shame for them really. Anyway, I try to ignore the voice, because I think I would probably turn into a needy, snivelling little freak if I didn't. And that is MOST unattractive.
I'll end it there Reader, before I rub off on you and you go away all neurotic and stuff! After all, I don't want loads of readers constantly asking if they're doing it right or getting scared of the typeface!