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What have I said?

Anna Behrmann worried constantly about what other people thought of her, and it was exhausting. Then she sought help to find her voice

During a dinner party, I was asked to reveal an unusual fact about myself. My heart pounded as I tried to think of something that was interesting, yet innocuous. I felt miserable and stressed and didn’t even listen to the other guests. In the end, I told how my dad had spelled my middle name wrong on my birth certificate - Ninochka instead of Ninotchka, after the Greta Garbo film but, even as I said it, I realised I had chosen an answer that purposely revealed very little about myself.

I could have told them about the time I was driven through Tel Aviv in an ambulance at night after I had a serious allergic reaction to nuts. Or I could have spoken about how I used to write letters to my grandmother when I was a child, even though she lived nearby. Either of these answers would have let people know a little bit more about me, but would also have left me open to their judgment. The first shows that I sometimes take risks and find myself in dangerous situations (I should have asked about the ingredients). The second reveals that my childhood was old-fashioned and unusual.

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