I am strong and I am weak #CapitalCrime

Capital_Crime

I reported everything that went on from 26-28 September at Capital Crime in a previous post. Today I’m sharing some other highlights.

First though, I just want to stress again that I had the best of times at the book festival so please don’t see this post as negative because it wasn’t a negative experience, I have only happy thoughts looking back.

It only seems fair that I let you in on that other side of me when I was there, the one that nobody sees very often because I can hide it fairly well and because people don’t realise some of my thoughts. I was debating whether to do this or not but with WorldMentalHealthDay just behind us, I’m feeling strong and I want to give you a look behind the curtain.

I received really great support from my friends and the lovely Meggy (@choconwaffles) of Chocolate’n’ Waffles in particular (she’s a team on her own) but of course I had some weak moments. I didn’t want it to taint my report about the festival but it’s only fair I share the good with the bad so here’s a little more about the latter in this post. There are definitely some things that I want to do differently if there’s a next time and that I know now I shouldn’t have stressed about. It seems silly now but it is what it is. This is my journey, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned in life, this is just one of them for me. 

So here were some of my stressed out-thoughts from a few weekends ago.

Train

The first day, it went wrong quite soon. The train to get to the Eurostar was cancelled. Of course I had calculated this too into my planning (I am nothing if not prepared to the fullest) but still, it made me wonder if the rest of the day would go this way too, the start of my adventure could have been better. No real panic there yet though, I took the train in the other direction to a bigger town and then took a direct train to Brussels. I have done this once or twice before so I wasn’t too stressed. Luckily, someone told me where to find the Eurostar terminal in the trainstation because I didn’t see the signs for it. I was a little anxious though going through security because the security check is exactly the same as when boarding a flight where you have to put items on a conveyer belt. I have a fear for flying so I couldn’t shake that feeling of unease. I knew I was boarding a train but it felt as if I was going on a plane. Once seated and seeing we weren’t flying off Harry Potter-like, I was able to relax more on my two-hour ride and I was assured again that Meggy would be there waiting for me so I was ok by the time I got to my destination and in a good mood.

St. Pancras train station

I was quite overwhelmed when I arrived at London St. Pancras station. It’s really big and easy to get lost in which was what probably had happened if I were alone. I counted my lucky stars that I had Meggy to lead the way (I even tried to mislead her but she knew very well where to go haha). I had some fears beforehand about getting on the tube (the underground) as I had read up (a lot) beforehand about different cards (the oyster card or the travel card) only I didn’t know which one and where to get them, but I just had to hold my bank card next to a reader and I had paid. Who knew, so simple! Again, if she hadn’t been there I hadn’t known and would have spent at least an hour getting to the venue. We were there in no time instead so I stressed about this for nothing beforehand again.

Proof copy

It was lunchtime when I arrived so there were no panels and we had about an hour to kill. We went to a secondhand bookstore then where I spotted a proof copy of Will Carver’s novel Nothing Important Happened Today which isn’t out until November! I’m not going to name the bookshop because I don’t want to have anyone put it on their list to go shopping for proofs. Let’s just say that Meggy rectified it with the shop’s owner! I’m in complete awe that she did that. My style would be to tuck away that book somewhere on the lowest shelf behind other books or something but going to talk to someone about it, I wouldn’t dare.

Goodiebag

It’s hard to speak up for yourself in any situation. I need more time to think about what to say and how to react which is why I avoid unpredictability (which is why I always avoid arguments and fights at all cost too). There’re a few situations I certainly could have handled better, if only I wasn’t so shy. One example was the goodie bag. When I received the Weekend Pass at the registration desk they didn’t give me such a cool tote bag (with 2 books and plenty of samplers in it). The lovely Meggy went back with me and asked for it. If she hadn’t I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have two more books to read.

dav

Wrong name

I’m not good at talking to people I don’t know, I hate bringing attention to myself… even when ordering food or a drink in a café I always try to have the other person order for me. I’m lucky there are still some gallant men (and women) who don’t mind doing that.

On the first day I surprised myself when I initiated a conversation with an author – Deborah O’Donoghue who wrote Sea of Bones – who was waiting in line at the loo (and yes I did manage to call her by the wrong name but it’s because I wanted to be quick, I saw the opportunity and didn’t want to miss it… and I just don’t do quick very well) but all was well, she was actually super nice and we had drinks together. I couldn’t say no when she proposed, could I? Not that I wanted to do that of course. So I did and I enjoyed myself. I did have a small panic attack when she left me with another author afterwards that I hadn’t read the book and didn’t know anything about, but Merilyn Davies, the author in question, was super friendly too and made me feel very much at ease. I’m really determined to read When I Lost You soon as well.

mde

Heidi Perks, Rachel Kennedy, Deborah O’Donoghue

dav

Merilyn Davies

Who’s who

The event was very well organised but I wished people had nametags. There was no way of knowing who everyone was. If some authors weren’t pointed out to me by the others I would have missed some of them at least. If I was there alone I would have missed out on some great intel.

I love the bloggers I met, they’re normal people, my kind of people, and so sweet and friendly really… but we were a very small group. Where were all the other bloggers? I thought the blogging community would be a real community there too who would get together but that didn’t happen. It made me realise you better do know someone who plans on going to an event… if Meggy wouldn’t have been with me, I’m also not sure I would have dared to talk to Ronnie, Zoé and Danielle by myself or hung out with them for so long, and it would have been a lovely festival anyway but pretty lonely too.

Hotel

I feel almost embarrassed (ok not quite, I’m grateful) to say so but Meggy walked me to the hotel and stayed with me until I checked in at the reception. Even then, I still managed to get lost inside. I KNOW! Well in my defence the receptionist pointed to the left hallway and I needed to go right the other way. Luckily someone from security crossed me and asked where I was headed, he gave the right directions and I did find it then. The room was quite fine but then I realised that the electrical outlets were different and I couldn’t charge my phone. The phone I needed to let my father know when he needed to come and get me at the train station the next day. It suddenly felt like that phone was my life line.. cue small panic attack :-). Well I needn’t have been anyway because on the way back home I suddenly saw a screen in the train that there was a plug under the seat. I gave a shout, hit my head when bending down to see it (the person in the seat next to me did have a good laugh) and when I arrived in Brussels again on Saturday my phone was 100%. The room was ok but there was no hairdryer so I didn’t dare wash my hair if it meant going out with wet hair. The duvet was also too thin so I was cold the whole night and I didn’t bring a sweater or anything warm for an extra layer. I think I slept for two hours and was up at 5 again.

sdr

The sound of silence

I’m getting to the crux of my story now. Is it a surprise that day 2 was a bit of a struggle? I wasn’t myself and godawfully emotional by the lack of sleep. My absolute lowpoint must be that I saw the lovely publisher Karen of Orenda Books and I didn’t say a word. I want to crawl under a rock now. I feel sooo bad about it because I really wanted to tell her that I was so thankful for the blog tour invites and the books I received in the past and I wanted to say something about her great taste in the books she publishes, how much I loved them and… I didn’t say ANYTHING. I have no excuse even… it just didn’t come out of my mouth, it was like the mute button was on all of a sudden. I didn’t say anything to Antti Tuomainnen either when I stood right there and I think someone else asked for a picture for me with Will Dean because I certainly didn’t have the courage. Everything passed in a bit of a blur. The tables for the signing were crowded, there were a lot of people and everyone was wriggling there around those tables, I don’t know but it made me close up. I’m even going to spare you the embarrasement with C.J. Tudor, I had a minor breakdown in front of her but luckily she didn’t react to it. Let’s just say that Meggy deserved that novel of The Other People so much more and made me get tears in my eyes. She’s an angel really for letting me have it but I still feel incredibly guilty too.

Photos

IMG_2718

I never want to be in any photos, be it a work thing or leisure but I had thought about it in advance and prepared myself for this eventuality. Even though I’m still happy I have photos of me with Mark Edwards, M.W. Craven, Merilyn Davies, Will Dean and C.J. Tudor, I still hate the way I look. I should have paid better attention how I presented myself on the photos. I should have lost my jacket/coat at least and I’m asking myself why I didn’t do something about my hair. I washed it the day I came to London but it looked like I hadn’t washed it in a week. I could at least have fluffed it a bit or something. Gah. Good thing nobody sees these photos.

Language

I haven’t spoken to anybody for more than 5 minutes in English in ahum 15 years, maybe longer? So I was a bit apprehensive about that. I was determined to pay attention to my pronounciation and accent but I don’t think I was there 5 minutes before I forgot my good intentions. I know I can do it if I put an effort to it (usually I read two sentences in a book out loud that way, and that’s pretty much it) but it’s just too exhausting. Everyone did understand me though, so there’s that.

Line

I know and I think I handled it all okayish, for me being me. In life there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think something couldn’t have gone better if done differently (perfectionist, much) or that worries me, I even exhaust myself sometimes so it’s only natural that it comes with me on my travels. Meggy’s help was amazing, but still, I wish I had a redo button and do a little better. I have absolutely no regrets of going though. Those two days were exhausting and yes overwhelming but very worth it, it also gave me a really good energy to take home with me and I did feel proud of myself for other things like being accepted in the group. I have proven to myself and hopefully to you too now that you can go to festivals and enjoy yourself, even if you’re an introvert and even if you have anxiety… seriously, if I can do it, you can do it !

42 thoughts on “I am strong and I am weak #CapitalCrime

  1. I have said it before, and I must say it again, you have been brilliant during your trip. I know it doesn’t always feel this way. You know what? I feel the same. There are things I would do differently. There are moments I’d like to rewind and redo. I look at the pictures and I find myself looking awful. I wish I’d had time to go to the hairdresser, or find the right makeup to hide the part of my face I don’t like. I wish I’d taken different shoes because my feet were in fire by the end of the festival. I wish I hadn’t made a fool of myself with Steve Cavanagh. But you know what, fuck it. Be proud. I am proud of you. I am thankful you were by my side for this amazing trip, and you made me feel stronger and bolder.
    Guess what, next time, we’re having lunch or whatever with Karen. I’ll make it happen if you feel like it. Festivals are busy, so it’s not easy to get a chance to chat with publishers. It really was crazy at times!

    You have nailed it. I am glad you posted it, though, so you can let those feelings go now, and look forward for our next adventures xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much Meggy! For your understanding, again, and having my back. I was nervous posting this but you’re right, it’s out of my system and I’ve said everything there is to say about the festival now :-). If this was the worst that could happen, I absolutely look forward to a next time, I’m ready for those new adventures and a lot more confident about it then I was before this event. I also think you look absolutely fabulous in every single picture! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is just so relatable. I think a lot of us have felt the same at these events. I have to confess that the first time I went to Bloody Scotland on my own I barely spoke to anyone other than the authors who signed their books for me. It’s actually the reason I now go as a volunteer. I find it much easier to put up a front and act confident when it’s required for a role.

    I get a press pass for Bloody Scotland because I take part in the blog tour but have yet to pluck up the courage to go into the press room and get it. I’ve also never spoken to any other bloggers as they seem to all know each other and go around in a group.

    Compared to me I think you did brilliantly. It’s too easy to beat yourself up for not doing things but think of all the things you did do. Also now you know what to expect next time will be so much easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we’re more alike than I thought, it’s something I’d see myself doing too! People often think I talk easily but it’s also often because it’s in my work field, the contact is professional and ‘easy’. It’s still a shame nobody came to you to chat. It’s why I would like real badges with names so it’s easier to recognize another blogger. Maybe you should just come to Capital Crime next year ;-). The rest of the gang will make you feel very welcome and you never know, maybe, just maybe I’ll be there again as well :-). Thank you so much Ali, even though I wished you had another experience, it’s good to hear I’m not alone!

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    • It’s not patronising at all, I love hearing this, and I’m so happy there’s so much understanding in general for me (more than irl really where I often decline to go somewhere or do things and people don’t get why). Oh I hope to see you in London one day then ;-). Thank you sweet Clair!

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  3. Oh my goodness what an amazing and heartfelt post. Well done! You should be so proud of yourself and the obstacles you faced. This may sound odd me saying this as I only know you online, but I am so proud of you for doing something that took you out of your comfort zone ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Book festivals are so much fun but also so overwhelming. It sounds as if you did brilliantly. If its any consolation most of the authors I know feel the same as you, so it’s certainly not just a blogger issue. I hope knowing this gives you the courage to go to more similar events and talk to authors. We’re all in this together. Big hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t given much thought that some authors have to push themselves as well with such public events, being in the spotlight with all eyes on them. They’ve all hidden it very well, but that’s of course not to say it’s not there. It’s actually good to know and makes me feel better too in a way. I’m sure a next time would go much smoother already, practice makes perfect right :-). Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Events like this can be so overwhelming. I’m the worst for not knowing what to say to people, and I have also been in a room with Karen from Orenda Books and not said anything!

    While there may be things you wish you’d done differently, be proud that you went out of your comfort zone, and know that it’ll be easier next time round x

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have? I always think that everyone is always so confident and I’m the only one but there are more people like me! Well we’ll both talk to Karen if we see her again, right :-)? I do know it can only get easier… it was my first ever event so there was too much coming at me, I’d be better prepared what to expect and how to react and dose my energy. Hopefully there will be a next time now 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know. I look at everyone – in any setting – and wonder how they manage to be so confident and calm. Trust me – you are not alone! And it’s a deal! Karen isn’t going to know what’s hit her! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I cannot tell you how much I love this post, Inge! You are so strong, don’t you ever doubt that! Being this strong even though you feel weak on the inside? That’s the toughest thing of all and it makes you a very strong person! I can totally relate, I’m a perfectionist too, I’m often tongue-tied because I want it to come out perfectly, and then I wait so long the moment has gone 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m my own worst critic and I just can’t help it :-). It’s also difficult to put things behind me and not keep thinking about it but the post really helps me to get it out of my system and look forward now, and it does a world of good to hear that everyone’s so supportive. Thank you so much lovely!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this, thrre us so so much that resonates with me, when I go anywhere big I either have to plan every foot in front of the other or I have to follow someone and copy them. I get worried and disorientated but I think I hide it quite well! We’ll done on getting through it x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep that feels very familiar :-). I can hide it quite well too.. the only way you can see is that I’m very quiet and that I’m not smiling or my smile is so obviously forced. I did smile a lot on the first day though ;-). Being able to hang out with other bloggers made a big difference too for me, even if they were more outgoing, I didn’t feel like a fifth weel :-). Thank you love!!

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  8. Oh, Sweetie, I feel for you, knowing that I was exactly like that at one time in my life. But you did it, and you had a great time despite all the little hiccups and bumps along the way. And next time you’ll know what to expect. And then, the next time too, it will get better. And to have such great friends to help, is always a bonus. And I’m so happy you took the plunge, and wrote this post too, it’s important for all of us to know not everything goes as planned, or smoothly, and that we’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m just so happy you too that first big step, and took yourself out of your comfort zone, and showed yourself that you can do it. Now, the world is open to you to explore more … with friends. And always, Sweetie, always. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  9. *sends high fives* for going to the event! Seriously, if you do not feel comfortable in certain situations, then it’s a task and a half to even make yourself go and experience those situations. I am really glad you went and that you can have the hindsight because sometimes the hindsight is a stepping stone towards learning from our experiences too… I am glad Meggy was right there with you – because it really is good to have someone there with you – and you took away some good memories.. I mean, you met authors!!! this is awesome!!! 🙂 I’ve never been to an event like that 🙂 And you did it!!! ❤

    As for the hair and the coat and what not- meh, don't stress. We are our own worst critics! I always imagine you like a pixie and I doubt anything can change my 'mental view' of you! 😀 hahaha…

    Here's to the next event! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • *high fives back* It was so out of character for me that people around me were very surprised.. *and alone?*. I had my doubts but Meggy was invaluable and made it so much easier.
      I know… soooo many authors, it’s a dream! And they’re all so normal and so nice too, and willing to talk to everyone. I thought you couldn’t talk to them really.
      I love that you see me as a pixie and that’s they way I want everyone to see me, that’s a version of myself I can really live with :-). Thanks so much Liis for all your lovely words!

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  10. Inge, what a truly heartfelt post. I want to give you massive high fives and hugs at the same time for overcoming those obstacles. Even more so for doing it in London – I live in the UK and I have put off going back to London in MANY MANY years because it terrifies me! You are a superstar for it all and sharing your thoughts xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have been enjoying yer posts about going to these events. I hate people (not individuals but big groups) and the idea of going to a book event makes me uneasy. I know I could do it but it would stress me out. Being in a new place is always nerve-wracking even when it can also be exciting. I love to travel but never want to talk to anyone in new places (well ever – I want magic insta-friends). Ye beat yerself up but seriously it sounds (to me mind) that ye did just fine and were worried about totally normal things. A train being cancelled is not a little thing. Also I am horrible with names and have had to admit to people that I know I met them (sometimes multiple times) and yet don’t remember their name. Silly but true. I don’t see anything weak about this post at all. I see brave and strong and successful. Arrrr!
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are lots of people who are bad with names, so it’s not unusual. It’s amazing that even you, a Captain, would be nervous about attending such an event. It does make me feel more normal than I’ve felt in a long time. I only have confident people around me who didn’t see why my trip would stress me out. Thank you so much for your comment, it’s very much appreciated !!

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  12. What a lovely and brave posts. I think, it is so great that you went and the more you try these events, the easier it gets. Personally, I love to travel and get out and meet new people in various countries (I am actually an introvert, but not to the same extent as you), but I still remember being a bit confused and worried the first couple of times I travelled on my own. Oh, and I hate being photographed and always try to avoid it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you lovely, I know, firsts are always tough. Even overwhelmed, in the end I feel changed because I did it and it’s given me a confidence too. I’m also happy I posted my views now, it feels like a coming out and is strangely liberating. Haha no surprise that you don’t want to be photographed!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t say how proud I am for going through with this, stepping out of your comfort zone and actually go there! As an introvert with mild social anxiety, I can relate to most of your issues (although I’ve never minded travelling myself; it’s the social interactions that scare/freeze me)… I admire you for everything you were able to do (Meggy is a star) and you shouldn’t feel bad about things that you might have wanted to do differently… All the more reason to start planning the next event so you can meet up with the authors you missed and do the things you didn’t get to do the first time around. 😉 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Yvo! You come across as a really confident person, you surprise me. Your opinion is always clear and strong and I imagined you to be like that all the time. I know I’ll be stressed again next time because of the time in between but I also know more what to expect so that eases my mind too. I know I can do more than I gave myself credit for some months ago and I’ll build from there. It feels so good to hear that confirmation though, it gives me a real boost too xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww thank you! I guess I’ve learned to disguise it well enough over the years, although it’s easier online that in person. Especially phone calls and bigger groups of unknown or lesser know people are a nightmare for me. xD
        And I’m sure you will enjoy it even more the next time around! Already knowing what is to come and having such supportive people going to the same event is always a big help. ❤

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