As this week comes to a close, I find myself with a compulsion to write about it. I feel as though this entire week has been satiated with sign after sign of things really and truly changing for the better. I’ve had such difficulty in recent months with finding my place, believing in myself, pushing myself forward and I’ve spent much of the time writing and dreaming about how things will be different one day… and I truly feel this week has been the turning point.
I was supposed to start a second job. I went for the interview and was offered the position on the spot, with training to commence the following week. This, however, was a month ago – the training was postponed until this upcoming week, and yesterday I had another call saying they’d hit a work shortage, and would have to put the training on hold indefinitely. I’d been pondering the effects of having to work 13 hour days and how it was going to affect my everyday performance, health, and general well-being, and lo and behold, I get a call telling me I don’t need to be there. Again. Hard not to see it as a case of question asked, question answered. I’ve asked Sweet to help me budget, and with summer days looking ever more scarce, I think I’ll be doing a whole lot more staying in anyway, so hopefully I’ll not need that second job after all.
Another issue: my constant, paralysing fear of speaking in front of people. In meetings, in classrooms, anywhere. I’ll psych myself up so badly that by the time my turn to talk rolls around, my voice has been overpowered by a thundering heartbeat and trembling limbs. But interestingly, this week I had opportunity after opportunity thrown at me to overcome this. I got offered a photoshoot gig for a New York clothing line, with a proper photography company, selling real stuff. I was terrified – standing in front of a camera, having to be good enough to sell product, never having taken coaching or anything of the sort. Why did they want me? I was the short girl whose missing inches spoke louder to agencies than she ever could. I was the girl with the unruly hair, the small chest and big hips. The girl five years older than 90% of her competition. Why did they want me? Still, it was a chance to go in there, wear beautiful things, get pampered a bit and spend an evening in the ever-elegant Fort Garry Hotel. And it went amazingly! So wonderfully so that I was informed excitedly the next day that I “looked like I’d just walked off the cover of a high fashion magazine”, and they wanted to book me – and pay me – for the next two weekends. To be in a fantasy “women with weapons” calendar to be sold across the states, and to sell an enormous, beautiful black gothic wedding dress. I’m incredibly pumped, but my self-doubts are finding it hard to keep it up with things like this happening. Maybe I’m not as awkward and unappealing as I’d always thought.
The third sign came in the form of a project I’m helping organise at work. Over the last month, I’ve arranged scheduling and worked with a film crew for a couple of documentaries we’re doing. I’m fine being creative and setting things up from behind the scenes, but on Tuesday they hit me with a proposal. They wanted me to be the voice to narrate the entire finished product. This meant speaking, and being very good at speaking, for 50 people a week to hear my voice promote our services. I was given the (extensively long 12 page) script, sat in front of a microphone with two media guys and their camera equipment, and told to go. I was terrified. My whole life, I’ve allowed my nerves to get the better of me. Always speaking too quickly and too quietly (and in an accent, too) for people to be able to understand. So when they told me to slow down after my first read-through, I went into panic mode. My skills were being tested and I was failing miserably, just like I always had. I went upstairs to grab some water, promptly burst into tears and sent one of my coworkers to do it for me. I proceeded to go home and beat myself up about how stupid I was, what a bad impression I made, etc… and then went back to work the next day. Where I was told they’d called and said they wanted me to try again. They said I had the voice that was “perfect” for this, and sent me a big long supportive email empathising with my anxiety. As I was talking with my boss, a student walked by with his young son, and informed us that the “only reason he brings the boy is because he likes her voice”. It was pretty hard to ignore all the signs around me pointing to the idea that maybe I could do this after all. So the owner came down, set me up in a little room, and we did a read through. It was fine; encouraging, supportive, and he even asked me to read a script for another video they were doing – and to be an “on file” voice for their company.
This was ridiculous. I’ve had a week of facing my fears… and being shown very loudly and very clearly just how unfounded they really are. I can’t express my amazement at how I’ve just been shown that my thoughts aren’t reality… and the support of everyone surrounding me has just blown me away. The inside voice that’s always told me I can’t do it has finally been silenced. I’m ending this week on a total high, and ready, really ready, to face whatever comes up.
Next week I’ve even volunteered to facilitate a weekly workshop. The girl of 2 months ago would’ve cut a hole in the ground and thrown herself hard into it at the very thought. As Switchfoot put it, this is your life. And if I can pull this one off, I think I’m well on my way to being who I really want to be.
Waou! I think this was a really challenging week for you and that you learnt a lot. Don’t hesitate to try new things even though it is really hard sometimes. Fear holds us back when we should go forward. We are scared because of our education and the way we see ourselves. Doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. “Practice makes perfect” that saying is so true.
I feel sometimes the same as you do and I know it is easier to say “do it” than actually doing it. I think you had great opportunities this week and I hope that it’ll continue and that in a few weeks or months you’ll feel more confident and ready to try things you have never tried before.
With a lot of love. Benoît