I visited a massage parlour on Monday.
I plucked up my courage, walked to the door and rang the bell. I was expecting to be quizzed and had my spiel ready. Imagine then my surprise when the door was buzzed open. I climbed the stairs and was greeted by an attractive young woman. Which all sort of threw me a bit.
I stuttered, 'Um, my name's Liz. I'm from Zac's, up the road. Do you know Zac's? You do, yes, good. Um, here are some invitations.' And so on. Until I'd run out of things to say (pretty quickly) and we stood and looked at each other.
'Okay, so I'll leave these invitations and I'll go now.'
Stumbled back down the stairs, out of the door and into the street where I took a deep breath.
The invitations were to a women's group that began today over lunch in Zac's. Nobody from the massage parlour came but I hadn't expected them to. I'm just thrilled that I've been over the threshold and taken the first tentative steps.
However five other women did come and were enthusiastic and positive and encouraging.
I've wanted to do something for women in Zac's for ages. It's a male-dominated environment, not as much as it was when I first went there when it was largely bikers (large bikers) but still men outnumber women. I particularly want to see Zac's provide the same level ground for women from all walks of life as it does for bikers, rough sleepers, alcoholics and addicts so when Sean suggested this lunchtime bible study group i was delighted.
And quite nervous today beforehand as I texted Sean. He replied, 'Just be yourself.'
Really? Are you sure that's a good idea?
I've recently watched a TED talk about 'faking it till you make it' using power poses to begin to change your own perception of yourself. The speaker reckoned doing two minutes of power posing before an interview, challenging meeting, or any sort of situation where you need to project an image you're not convinced is really you, will make a difference. And that, eventually, you would not only make it but you'd become it.
I think there is a place for psyching yourself up, changing yourself to create almost an alter ego - I know there have been situations where it would have been useful for me - but a a women's bible group isn't one. That is one place I need to be real and myself, however feeble I think that self is.
So watch this space to see what develops.