I didn’t choose my job; my parents chose it for me. My sister was already working, she had arranged for me to get a job with her. In preparation for my first day, my mother told me what a state I was. My hair was a mess, needed cutting and I was a dirty spotty, bitch. Whilst this was true, it was down to the fact I didn’t have the confidence to go to the hairdressers, because firstly I didn’t know what to say and secondly because when I am nervous, I did not have the ability to speak. So, my sister tied my hair up, in a fashion that I hated, it was way too girly for me and made me feel so uncomfortable.
We arrived at work and my heart was pounding so much, I am surprised it didn’t burst right out of my chest. My sister introduced me to my new colleagues, my mouth opened but nothing came out of my mouth, predominantly because I was so nervous, no words could form in my head. For approximately three months I didn’t speak, people would ask me questions and I would literally ignore them. Luckily for me, I could engage with the customers as I served them at the till.
The negative voice appeared
When I finally started speaking to my colleagues is when I think the negative voice first became apparent in my head. Whenever I spoke, whatever came out of my mouth was wholly inadequate or stupid. I would go home and ridicule myself for being such an idiot.
I quickly realised that work was like everywhere else – home and school – I didn’t fit in. The ladies were all girly, with their hair and makeup neatly in place. The men were loud and boisterous. The workplace was full of flirting and nights at the pub. But I didn’t fit in. I was ugly and stupid. If I went to the pub, I would tell myself how boring I was, no one wanted to talk to me. So I never went out and socialised, which made me feel even more lonely and isolated, when they were chatting about the night before.
The one benefit of my job, was that it was easy to get hold of a stanley knife. When how I felt got too much for me, I would purchase a new knife, they are so much better, sharper when they are new. I would go home, wait to have time on my own in my bedroom and I would slice my arms and legs with the knife. It was the only time I ever got relief from the noise in my head. I was sixteen and depression was setting in. Because I was so quiet and shy, of course I never spoke to anyone about how I felt.