At the grand old age of 32, I am now in possession of some vital self-knowledge. I know that jumping out of things, rides in theme parks, protracted sessions of HIIT, anchovies, raves, disputes carried out in any form other than e-mail, and brightly-lit restaurants are all categorically not for me because I’ve tried them or similar over the years and – all hail advancing years – am now comfortable enough to say so.
But every now and then its important to prod at boundaries, so last week I tested the outer limits of my comfortable circle to see if adjustments should be made to the list of things I do and don’t do.
It started with my first festival – the Green Man in the Brecon Beacons. It’s a good starting point to the festival thing – family friendly, talented acts, lovely food, beautiful scenery; but I decided that festivals really should join my ‘no’ list because I felt rudderless and uncomfortable for much of the time and didn’t see why anyone would put themselves through that when a concert basically serves the same purpose but with a lovely warm bed to snuggle up in after all the noise and cold and junk food.
Conversely, I found that while live broadcasting and TV made me feel nervous and uncomfortable at the moment right before going live, it seemed to be something to add to the ‘yes’ list, and during my segments for BBC 5 Live’s Drive Time show and then on Newsnight to discuss Zadie Smith’s comments on how long is – or, rather, isn’t – appropriate for a youngster to spend in front of the mirror with Kirsty Wark and journalist Claire Coleman, I managed to form sentences and argue a case while my heart hammered away at an alarming pace.
It is at times like that when I think having had struggles with panic is a bit of a blessing. While it makes seemingly insignificant things like getting on the tube pretty hard at times, it also shrinks the momentous, rather like the relatively teeny moon does when eclipsing the sun. As I’m now so inured to performing under stress (panic disorder will do that to a girl), the fact that my heart rate rocketed didn’t phase me too much, and I wasn’t felled by nerves while positing that I thought that Zadie had a point – but that there’s artistry in make-up, and motive is everything, so if you choose to spend your time engaged in applying make-up because it brings you joy, I’m all for that.
Click on the above links to listen/watch – and let me know what you think about make-up, time spent doing it, how long is too long, how much is too much and what not. And throw in your thoughts on raves and brightly-lit restaurants, too, if you’re so inclined. I especially hope I’m not alone on those things.