Rowan Coleman: feeling exposed?

PUBLISHED: 11:03 30 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:03 30 July 2018

Risk is a scary thing - sometimes you just need to jump in (photo: Getty Images)

Risk is a scary thing - sometimes you just need to jump in (photo: Getty Images)

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On holiday in Spain, risk-averse Rowan is faced with a naked truth

Ah, school holidays, how I love them. And I do mean that sincerely. I love not having to get up at the crack of dawn to try and organise three small boys (the teens organise themselves) into hopefully clean uniforms, and get them to school on the right side of the bell. And I love a break from the ‘school-min’ – the forms and trips and costumes x3 to keep on top of.

But when it comes to our actual family holiday, with all seven of us – me, my husband, two teens, an eight-year-old and six-year-old twins, it’s more of an endurance test. So in recent years I have always taken a pre school holiday short break with some girlfriends. Six of us take four days in which we are not responsible for anyone but ourselves. And for the last three years we’ve come away to the lovely Spanish resort of Sitges. It’s a beautiful medieval port town, with pristine sandy beaches, great restaurants and a lot of nudity.

Imagine our surprise when we, six middle-aged English ladies, turned up on the beach in our kaftans, sunglasses and hats and found a beach of naked people. Now it must be said that there are many beaches around Sitges and only one of them is nudist. But it’s also the beach that is right outside our apartment door. And it’s also important to say that nudity isn’t compulsory. So we looked at all the nude people of all shapes and sizes and we thought of the 15 minute walk to the next beach. And we thought, what the hell. And the truth is even though we kept on our bikinis, after a very short time you just don’t notice all the nakedness.

This makes me think about all the things I don’t do because I’m scared. A few years ago I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, and although mostly I manage it very well, sometimes it stops me in my tracks. The idea of going out to where there will be a crowd of people I don’t know or speaking in front of a room of strangers can sometimes be too daunting. But when I do manage to overcome my anxiety I never regret it.

Risk is a scary thing. I am naturally risk-averse. So how to conquer it? I tell myself that whatever it is, it will be over soon. I tell myself that for the next however-many-minutes all I have to do is bring my A game, switch myself up to 11 and be the gregarious, sociable confident person that people most often consider me to be. And even if I need 24 hours alone afterwards to recover, I will have enjoyed the experience.

So the point is, sometimes life is a nudist beach, just brace yourself and go for it.


Best-selling novelist and mum-of-four Rowan Coleman shares the chaos and comedy of her life in the county

Twitter @rowancoleman

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