This is me:

What do you say, when you are told to introduce yourself?

Well, we have all been here, haven’t we? You get to an event or gathering to find you don’t know anyone around you, and that’s OK. There is a good vibe, some laughter, wine, and you are perfectly content with being the new person in this space. But then, some well meaning individual decides to put a spot light on you, enthusiastically calling out your name to the whole group, inviting you to introduce yourself.

That moment, right there, with everyone looking, is the one where I always think I could be back at home with my children and dogs- who don’t expect an introduction from me, and I really need to stop leaving the house.

The most recent event was a friend, probably my best friend in the world, taking me to stay with her parents for a week by the beach with the kids. They were lovely, welcoming, genuine people. They prepared home cooked meals and cocktails, planned activities we all enjoyed, and could not have done any more to make us feel at home if they tried. And when the wider family and friends descended for the mid-week BBQ, they were just as kind and welcoming- so why am I filled with dread at the question? How do I introduce myself to these people with beautiful homes and careers? And why does it matter so much to me?

Honestly? It’s because whenever I see that quote above, I can’t help but notice my grocery list feels rather empty these days.

I was in a long term relationship which ended very badly 18 months ago, and it has left me single for the first time in my adult life. My children, as much as I love to call them that, are actually teenagers now, and want minimal supervision rather than cuddles and Netflix. I had my daughter at 18, so have been a ‘we’ and not an ‘I’ for my entire adult life, and it’s bloody hard work figuring out what ‘I’ am.

The ‘respectable career’ I had lecturing in University, and studying a PhD, made me miserable, so in went my notice. The home I scrimped and saved for, and spent 5 years renovating is on the market, so I can rent a house you can’t swing a cat (never mind my 2 rotties) in, out of town near a river in a picturesque Cheshire village. I have the option of being self employed doing things I love and have done as hobbies for years- reiki, aromatherapy, other holistic therapies. I am a Co-founder of a Crypto Services company, which I really love despite being new to the world of Crypto. And my experience in the Third Sector is going to be put to good use with the decentralised charity platform I’m also Co-founder of.

So when my life has fallen apart in many ways, but is falling together in many others, why is it so hard to say: I’m not sure who I am, but I’m enjoying figuring it out?

Maybe it’s their lack of understanding about many of the things I’m passionate about. Maybe my own insecurity at ‘putting myself out there’, or a misguided need to justify myself and my recent life choices to virtual strangers.

I don’t have the answer yet, so if anyone reading this does, then do let me know! Because I am enjoying this journey, and despite the ups and downs of new homes and careers, it really is a world of possibilities.

And once I figure out how to articulate that to those who stare at parties, I will be a very happy lady. Until then, I will simply say- I’m Mel, and it’s great to meet you.

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