Jenny told me that she wanted to tell her story and about how she was working to do scary things in her twenties. I’ve known her for a very long time and it was great to listen to her achievements and see how far she has come:

“Cutting my hair off really was daunting. I don’t know how the idea came up in my head, really. I think it was because my hair was getting really, ridiculously long, I thought I need to get this trimmed soon. And my mum, who also has short hair, said ‘Why don’t you just get it cut short?’. After a few months, it was still stuck in my brain and I said to myself yeah, I might actually go for it! My inner voice was saying ‘Do it! If you don’t like it, it will just grow back’. I asked my friend and she said the same thing, so I decided to go for it. As soon as I said that, my brain started saying ‘Oh, you sure you want to do that?’ – thanks brain! But I took myself down to the hairdresser, and as soon as I showed him the picture of how short I wanted to go, he told me that I could then donate the ends to the Princess Trust, which was fantastic! He got my hair up into the little buns, took the first one, and said ‘Are you sure?’ I said ‘yes!’ and then it was done – no going back now! Once it was done, he asked me how it was, and I told him that I felt a lot more confident than I did. With my long hair, I basically felt like Violet from The Incredibles as she always shies behind her hair. When I showed my friends, they were amazed at how different I looked and how much it suited me. It really was great to get such nice compliments.”

Is this the first scary thing that you have done, or would you say this is one of many?

“Going to America for the first time on my own at the start of the year [2020] was definitely one of the first things. I haven’t been on a plane in a very long time. When you are kid, you don’t really know what is going on and you don’t really care. But when you’re an adult, and you experience anxiety and things, it’s a little scary! It was my first time going to America, and I was only there for a week to go to a Doctor Who convention. I was incredibly jet lagged and had a cold, but it was amazing!

I did go to Cardiff by myself, just to see if I could do it. Obviously that is slightly closer to home than LA, but it was just a test run. And now I have done America, I’m hoping to go to Glasgow!”

So now you have done this, would you be willing to do more things that scare you?

“Yes and no, it really depends. My biggest issue is phones. I don’t like answering phones. I don’t know why this is, but it’s especially when you’re on your mobile, and you don’t know who it is that puts me off and I say ‘no I don’t want to answer that!’. At work, it is fine because I know what to expect, but not at home. If I have to make a call to the doctors, for example, I know I have to do it, but little me is like ‘nooo! I don’t want to pick up the phone!’ “

What do you think confidence is?

“Confidence is such a big word, and can mean so many different things to different people. To me, I think confidence is about finding yourself. With me, I’ve always been in my little shell and I hide away from people and don’t answer phones. So it is almost like believing in yourself and pushing yourself forward a bit. I think it’s like saying ‘If you don’t do it, you will never know what it is like’. That was my biggest ambition to go to America; I would hate myself so much if I hadn’t found that confidence within me to do that. It was so hard to not listen to that voice that says ‘no, don’t do that, Come back to your shell’, so I do think that confidence is to believe I yourself. “

One thing I would love to talk to you about, is your cosplay! How do you find the confidence to do that?

“I only go for characters that would suit me and my ability. I would never go for like Wonder Woman or anyone like that, my confidence is not that great – plus I would be cold! It’s all about doing something you’re comfortable with. Like, with Wonder Woman, I’m a little body conscious. I’ve been bullied in the past about my weight, so that has always been in the back of my mind. So that is where my confidence has just gone and that is why I always wear what I do.

When it comes to wearing cosplay outfits, I definitely feel more comfortable when I do it with others. It can be a big daunting to go into town dressed as one of the Doctors, especially in town that is not known at all for cosplayers. People will stare at you, but when you’re with a group of friends doing it, it’s so much easier.”

When you messaged me about doing things in your twenties that scared you, is that just till you get to your thirties, or is it a life long ambition?

“I hope life long and always find new things to push me. It’s all slowly progressing. My parents have also noticed changes as I’m starting to talk to people rather than hiding away like when I was a kid. I think they are relieved that I am coming out of my shell. There are still little moments that I’m not quite there with yet, but here we are – I never thought I would go to America, I never thought I would get my hair cut short!

Another thing I did this year was a cosplay drawing project. With all the conventions being cancelled this year due to the virus, people were getting sad so I thought why don’t I do something to cheer you up? I asked my cosplay friends to send over a photo of them in their favourite cosplay outfits and see if I can draw a sketch for them. I then decided to help out a charity that I saw Peter Capaldi (my inspiration) sponsor a while back, by sending the money I made from the drawings to them. It wasn’t a lot, but they were very thankful! And the people who I drew loved the sketches. I even got sent a photo of one little boy I drew with his picture and a note to say he loved it and it made his day! So that really helped me with the confidence to build my artwork business. Getting little comments like that really boosts me up! I have doubts in my work – it’s that little voice in the back of my head again saying I can’t do it – but when I hear things like that, I get more and more confident.”

Have you noticed the difference in yourself?

“I would think so. Because I never thought I would be doing anything like what I am doing now – talking to you about it. I always bottle things up, but I have learnt in the past to not bottle things up because it will just eat you away. So I have seen a few changes in myself. Even getting my job I never thought would happen. I managed to get through the interview, and it has now taught me how to talk to people and strangers.”

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