When I was growing up, I was always one of those "Back of the Class" kids. It's weird, because stereotypes in films, TV and books always has the kids who like to sit at the back pegged as the trouble makers that don't do any work, whilst the kids who sit at the front of the class are the "swots", "nerds", "teachers pets"...you get the idea.
A lot of my classmates would probably have called me a swot, mainly because I was quiet and got on with my work (it certainly wasn't because I was smart, since my average grade all through school - expect in English!! - was C).
However, the idea of sitting at the front of the class - with everyone snickering behind me - still gives me bouts of anxiety, even today. I don't like people being behind me, it makes me nervous because I can't see what they're doing. For that reason, I really hate it when people sit directly behind me at the Cinema (seriously, there is an entire theatre of seats to choose from, and you have to sit behind the only people in the room??)
So, a few weeks ago, my friend and I started going to Aqua Aerobics as part of our big weight loss obsession for 2014, and needless-to-say, both of us opted to linger at the back of the class (it seemed that a lot of people had this same idea, and it became quite crowded). The session didn't go so well - the water was so deep at the back of the class, that even my five foot six wasn't tall enough, and we ended up feeling like we were drowning.
Another thing that didn't help me, was the fact that I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't see the Instructor very well - so yeah, that was fun!
Move forward to last Friday, and I decided that I was sick of not being able to see, so I opted to keep my glasses on. As a result, my friend and I decided - very anxiously - to go to the front, so that I wouldn't splash my glasses too much (I almost managed it!).
Both classic back of the class kids, we were both incredibly nervous about being at the front and very aware that people behind you watch to see what you're doing (to make sure that they're doing it right - I know, because I do it).
Being at the front scared the poop - not literally - out of me, but do you know what? I preferred it.
I don't know if it was my preference for being at the back, but I've always found myself never having confidence in my doing things right. I've always had to check around the room, that I'm doing the right thing, at the right time. Even the photographs we have from Sports Days show me looking around to make sure that I'm doing it right - and subsequently coming in last, as a result!
So how did I fare from being at the front?
I loved it. It definitely wasn't a case of liking the idea of people watching me from behind (because that freaks me out like crazy!), it was more the fact that I couldn't see them. Since I couldn't see anyone, I couldn't check that I was doing it right, and hence, I just got on with it. As a result, I've found that I am enjoying myself a lot more.
So, if this the solution to my anxiety problems? Put myself at the front, so that I can't see people who I think could be judging me? I don't really think so, because in general, I'm not a "front of the class" kind of person. I don't like being the centre of attention (I found that out when I turned 30, and my friend's encouraged me to wear a big banner declaring the fact....cringe!). I also have to remember that as a general rule, I don't like not knowing what people are doing behind me.
But, when it comes to Aqua Aerobics, I find that I enjoy myself a lot more, and have more fun, when I just forget that there even are people behind me...I just have to splash louder so that I can't hear them ;)