My (Literally) Naked Fear

Recently I’ve been tackling a lot of things that I’m afraid of. You all know about my (almost) past issues with anxiety, and it’s my ongoing goal to try to attempt every single thing that scares me, in the hopes of being able to overcome them.  Public speaking was the absolute scariest.  Throw me out of a plane, put me in a cage full of spiders, no problem, but ask me to stand up in front of people and speak? No thank you! Until about… 6 months ago? I asked my boss if I could facilitate a workshop every week. All eyes on me, thinking on my feet, projecting to a room full of blank faces… biggest fear, let me tell you. But I did it. And I kept doing it. I forced my desire to overcome it to hold more weight than my fear.  And though it started incredibly scarily, the only way to get over it was to take the risk.  Now, I’m still slightly nervous if I have to speak up in front of people, but it’s nowhere near as bad, and it’s no longer something that makes me want to leap out of my office window onto the gob-infested concrete below.

Now, as you know, I’m also terrified of singing in front of people.  Lauren commented on my little poll the other week asking, if I was so afraid of it, and I thought I wasn’t very good at it, then why did I want to do it in the first place? The simplest answer is that I don’t want fear to dictate my life. I don’t want to be held back by what other people might think of me. I enjoy singing, even if my range is  barely an octave.

I adore musical theatre and I get goosebumps when I see a massive choral number taken on in Glee.  I might not be any good, but it doesn’t stop me wanting to try.  So next week? Up goes the vlog. In which I serenade the internet, knowing full well that as well as the kind souls who cheered me on when I first posed the idea… there’ll be people ready to judge. And I’ll try my damnedest to instead focus on the courage it took to do it in the first place – and the fact that I’ll never try and take anyone down if they’re trying to break out of their comfort zone.

Tiny victories fuel my perseverance and determination to keep going, keep taking on the intimidating and riding through on the adrenaline, focusing not on fear, but on triumph, the growing confidence that’s slowly rising, and liberating me from the fear that held me back for so long. I might make a fool of myself in the process. But that’s okay. It’s all about whether or not I think I’m foolish for trying. People may think I’m incompetent, or untalented, or whatever they need to feel in order to make themselves feel better. And that’s okay too. Because at least I’ll have tried.

So, what’s next? Right now, my biggest fear is building the foundation of new friendships.  It’s so easy to do online, where people can take the time to construct their words and sentences, promote their most desirable qualities and hide behind the safety of a computer screen in a tracksuit and greasy hair going on day 3 while posting cropped and Photoshopped pictures on Facebook.  Not so easy to do it in person! I see people I’d love to be friends with – but I also see a similar pattern of being afraid to take a chance. I listen to the voices I carry around telling me “they wouldn’t be interested”, or “I’d be crossing professional boundaries” and worry about being rejected, content to stay in on Friday nights with my cat singing Rock Band to her delightfully non-judgmental and forever loyal little kitten face.  But that’s easy. And those people I want to be friends with? Would be awesome to hang out with instead.  I mentioned my nail girl and my massage therapist a few posts ago, when I was writing about where to find friendship as an adult. WoW doesn’t count. Well, let’s see. I see my nail girl every three weeks. We’ll talk for an hour or so and catch up and I find myself really looking forward to chatting and seeing how she’s doing, hearing her stories and sharing my own.  And wishing I could just have the courage to ask her to hang out sometime, so we could maybe do that more often.  Same thing with my massage therapist, who I see weekly, who’s as big of a nerd as I am, who seems to have the same kind of values I do, and who’s another Trekkie… who hasn’t been introduced to Doctor Who yet.  We’d be great friends! But still, I let that fear of rejection and crossing boundaries prevent me from taking the risk. Though this may have something to do with the fact that all of our conversations take place with me half naked with my face in a hole.  But still. Is that really a good reason for not potentially having a great new friend in my life?

What do you guys think?  Naturally, Facebook would be the easy route… but naturally, both of them have massively high privacy, non-contactable or addable profiles.  I have another appointment this Sunday for a massage, and an appointment on Thursday for my nails. Should I bite the bullet and just see what happens? And how do you do it without coming across a total weirdo?? Tips would be very much appreciated!

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58 comments

  1. From what I’ve heard I think with asking the massage therapist, especially since I believe yours is male, that it might be crossing a professional boundary. Not saying anything would happen, but questions could arise for him, especially if a co-worker sees you two out for coffee or something. Just my warning. I hear you about the difficulty of making friends, my wife and I do have great friends who we see often, but its a small group and their lives are changing so much that sometimes we feel it’d be nice to branch out and meet other people as well (can never have too many right?). Good luck!

    1. I was thinking of maybe asking if he and his girlfriend wanted to go for drinks with D & I one time – so it didn’t come across as a “hit on” or something creepy like that?? 🙂

  2. I say just ask. Ask if they want to go out for coffee or tea sometime and go from there. First step is always in asking.

  3. i think a nail tech & a massage therapist are totally game especially if they rock your socks. it’d be awkward if it was like a doctor or something or your lawyer where there was definitely a work boundary but if its someone you chat with and see regularly ANYWAY i don’t see anything wrong with asking. loved the line about being half naked tho LOL

  4. Go for it! I’ve had the same thoughts about befriending people IRL who I see often, I just haven’t for one reason or another. Good for you for wanting to take that step. All they can say is “no”, but I suspect they’ll probably say “yes”! :o) Good luck!

  5. A couple things:

    1) I recently found my flute while cleaning out the house. I took it out and played a few scales and thought to myself “I should take a page out of Emily’s book and post a vlog online” You’ve inspired me lady. Now I just need to get around to doing it…

    2) I think you SHOULD ask them. I’m starting to figure out that a LOT of people our age are ALL struggling to make new friends. I still have my HS friends, but we’re all at different places in our lives, and it would be nice to have new friends with similar interests.

    3) Even internet friendships scare me…I’m planning to eventually expand on this in a post – but you’re RIGHT, it’s easy to make friends online, but once you’re together in a room, or even SPEAKING…what if you’re not compatible!? What if there are awkward silences?! It seems like you have a solid base with your nail/massage girls. Go for it!

  6. Everyone fears rejection; it’s completely normal! I really doubt that they would think you’re a “weirdo” by asking them to hang out sometime. On the contrary, they may think you’re gutsy, which is certainly something to admire. I would, at least. If you’re so comfortable with them, it should really come out naturally. And you never know, they may be thinking the same thing and are afraid to ask you! Or you may get lucky and they read this post and be-friend you at your next appointment, without you having to do anything! 🙂

    1. I’ve looked for book clubs, unfortunately there aren’t any that I’ve found locally for people around the same age 😦 It is totally hard to make friends as a “grown up”!! I did go to my first dance class yesterday though and there were a couple of other younger people I was going to talk to afterward, but they bolted as soon as the time was up!! Maybe next week 🙂

  7. I’m not sure I could have a male massage therapist!!!! I think it would freak me out. I get completely naked for mine…especially now that I’m pregnant, it lets her get my lower back and my hips and it feels amazing. I see what the other people said about the massage therapist being a little awkward…but I like your idea of asking to meet up as couples, that might not be so bad. I think the nails girl is totally fair game.

    As far as asking…hmm…I think I like the idea of having something or somewhere to go. Not just, let’s hang out…but, there’s a concert or an event or something to go and do. I think that would seem easier to ask about. Here’s my question, if they turn you down or it doesn’t work out are you going to feel weird about going to them for nails/massages? I’m just thinking, you have to be prepared to switch nail/massage people just in case…but think positive! I think it’s great that you’re going for it. The last time I tried to extend friendship boundaries was with a mom whose son went to daycare with Jordan. They moved so I gave her my number and e-mail so the boys could get together…but she never contacted me. 😦 It can’t hurt to try though. Really, it’s their loss if they don’t see how great of a friend you are!!!!

    1. Oh wow well I don’t get COMPLETELY naked lol, that would be a bit odd!! Asking to hang out as couples though might lose the “weirdo” factor – I think that’ll be the best way to do it. And you’re right – having something specific to go to not just “wanna hang out” would be way easier and less uncomfortable, that way they can always so no I’m busy or something, and at least I’ll have tried 🙂 I HOPE I don’t have to switch people… they’re both REALLY good!!! That sucks about that other lady – maybe she just lost your contact info, did you get hers? ❤

  8. I think you should go for it! What have you got to lose? Seriously?? I think its funny how we can fee so awkward doing things like this, trying to make friends and such… But I find that when I break the ice by using awkwardness to my advantage the other person usually feels the exact same way! I say put yourself out there love! You will never know if you dont try and you will kick yourself for not trying…

    Best,

    Hannah Katy

  9. Okay, first let me say that I am so proud of you for facing your fears. You are amazing!
    I do not think it would be crossing boundaries to ask them to hang out. My husband is a hairstylist (that’s how we met), and he says he likes it when clients just say, “Hey, we should hang out sometime.” Actually a few of his friends are current or former clients. He enjoys it when normal clients extend a friendly invitation to hang out.
    Also, I became really good friends with my make-up lady. She is great and I think I gave her a card telling her how much I enjoy her company/services. In the card there was my number saying, “If you ever want to get together outside of business here’s my number.” We started texting after this. I hope this helps. Good luck!
    PS- I am sending you your penpal mail tomorrow. I got nice paper and pens too!! Sorry it took so long.

    1. Awww thank you!! I can’t wait! 🙂 It’s good to hear other people have befriended their “service providers” too so it wouldn’t be completely out of the norm. That’s a great idea about the card! I may have to steal it and give one to my nail girl. It’d be a bit creepy to give a guy a card though lol.

  10. Maybe say to your massage therapist “Ooohh, you REALLY have to see Doctor Who. I have some of the seasons, you could borrow it or we could watch it. Do you have Facebook?”

    I always hate that original getting-to-know-each-other part of friendships, where you’re not sure whether you’re actually friends yet or just friendly… Good luck!

    1. Honestly I would LOVE to have them over (I think his girlfriend is geeky like we are too!) and watch Doctor Who! I guess I’ll never know though if I don’t try right… sometimes I wish life had a fastforward button to skip the awkward parts lol

  11. I have a hard time making the leap to friendship too, so I’m not sure I have any good advice about it. I think it doesn’t hurt to ask someone if they want to go for a coffee and chat though. The worst they can say is no. 🙂

    1. You’re right 🙂 I think even if they don’t want to hang out and they say they’re busy, that won’t make it awkward for future apts and at least I’ll have asked. 🙂

  12. Oh, my gosh! I could have written this post! This is one of my biggest problems and I especially am having a hard time with it now. In all honesty, I don’t have friends I hang out with socially. I have work friends, school friends, and then family. There are a couple girls I would love to get to know better and hang out with socially but it’s that first step in the asking that makes me stop.

    And since I have such major insecurity problems, I always wonder “Why in the world would they want to hang out with ME?!” But I do think if I could just ask, I would learn why. For the most part, I do know why someone would want to hang out with me. I do know I am a fun person to be around, but there’s that niggling fear in the back of my head that stops me.

    And because of you, maybe I’ll ask the girl I have all my classes with to go out Friday when we finish classes to celebrate. Or I’ll ask my best work friend to see a movie on our pay day. We can both do this! We can both make those hesitant but meaningful first steps!

    E-mail me!! 🙂

    1. You should TOTALLY ask them both to hang out! This will be the week we challenge ourselves to do the same thing. I’ll email you after tomorrow and let you know how the first one goes, you do the same!! 🙂

  13. Good for you for working to overcome your fears! I think you should just ask these people in your life if they would be up for doing something socially. IT sounds like the therapist is a male, so I would probably pose it as a double date? If he’s cool, his wife/girlfriend/significant other probably is as well (I am assuming he is in a relationship).

    Good luck, my dear! I can’t wait to hear your vlog! I am connfident your voice is better than you are telling us it is. Singing in front of people can be intimidating, but you can do it! I used to be such as chicken about it and was always nervous to sing in church for fear that others would hear my voice & think I sounded horrible… And I used to sing in these competitions in high school and did solos so I just told myself ot get over it & not care what they think!

    1. I think the double date idea is a great one 🙂 Wow you sang in church?? That’s amazing! I hope one day I’ll be able to get up in front of LIVE people (as terrifying as the internet is, I’m still by myself in my living room lol) not worrying what other people think!

  14. I’m terrible at making friends in situations like that, so I’m not really speaking from experience, but I think just asking something casual about maybe getting coffee sometime. Something pretty low pressure Okay, this sounds like you’re asking them out on a date, but I guess you kind of are. 😉

  15. i can’t remember if i told you or not but i am best friends with my hair stylist and my nail lady and i are close enough that we could go get a drink together or invite each other out. i don’t see anything wrong with that. especially when you guys have so much in common!

    go for it lady. i am all for it!

    1. I think I will! Unfortunately something came up this week so I have to wait another week now… but my coworker goes to see her too and she thinks I should go for it 🙂

  16. It is hard making new friends when you’re a grown up. My husband and I have found it hard making new (hearing) friends. We want to have both hearing & deaf friends. It’s hard when we’re not in school anymore or playing peewee soccer.

    1. Definitely – I’m trying MeetUp.com but there aren’t really any local groups I’m super interested in – there’s one super geeky LARP group I’d love to join but it’s slightly out of the city and I don’t drive 😦

  17. Ya know, I’ve been friends with a bunch of people in my hair salon for years. People in those service industries are usually really quite social! Why not just flat out ask. Or book the last appointment of the day and ask if they want to grab a drink/coffee after. Or something like that. You’d be surprised how easy it’ll be!

    1. I hope so! I know all her RL friends are the girls from the salon though so it’s a little tough “breaking in” but we have been talking about Glee lately, maybe I’ll invite her over for an indoctrination lol 🙂

  18. I love that you are facing your fears and knocking them out by taking on that which you fear! You will very soon be fearless! In regards to making new friends simply bite the bullet and ask if someone wants to hang out. If the answer is no, try not to take it personally, there are many reasons people may say no. The masseuse may simply want to keep clients and friends separate. You never know until you put yourself out there. Worry not about the outcome, simply follow your process and things will land where they land. Let go of the outcome and the fear of rejection will fade away.

  19. i love how inspiring you are. tackling my fears is another thing i’d like to do and i try to base my life off it as well, but i don’t tackle it as aggressively as you seem to do! cheers!

  20. I say go for it! You’re tackling all your other fears, which is awesome, so what’s one more? Furthermore, who wouldn’t love to hang with you?!

  21. Thanks!! You know what – I did! And it wasn’t awkward at all! We’re Facebook friends now and we tentatively have plans to hang out (the 4 of us). Except they’re moving away in two months!! 😦

  22. Hi! I am new to this whole blogging thing, and saw your discussion on 20sb so thought I’d come over for a look. I really like your blog and can’t wait to keep reading.
    Plus I take inspiration out of what you are doing, I often have fears like that holding me back when really my heart is telling me to do something else, so I take heart that someone is doing something about it, and I can too 🙂

  23. I think it’s great you’ve been taking steps towards conquering your fears. It took me ages to feel at ease out of my comfort zone when it comes to public speaking. This coming from the girl who hated answering questions in secondary school with fear I would be wrong and people think I was stupid. By Uni the confidence had emerged from somewhere o.O
    I’m not sure what possessed me, but last Oct I was able to get up and sing Britney Spears, Led Zeppelin, Christina Aguilera and….Vanilla Ice at a friends birthday on karaoke. So terrified of speaking, to singing in a pub-fill of people, isn’t it amazing when you look at your progress?

    I think you should go for it with the friendships! Can’t wait for updates! Making friends is weird in the adult world, I’ve been meaning to blog about it for some time. It isn’t easy like school or Uni where everyone is thrust into making friendships because everyone is out looking for them and I felt all were really accepting of a hand of friendship. I miss those friends but regardless of whether I had gone to Canada or not, everyone is spread over the UK and the world so it’s still fairly difficult. I came to Calgary for a bit in the autumn when my boyfriend’s job offer was secure to see if I’d like it. I found it so difficult, everyone walks around doing their own thing, locked into their headphones or mobile. I did some really geeky surfing – Craigslist. Looking for a friend. Success. We’re still friends when I came back to live here at the start of April. I feel like my nerd rating went up 100 points just then.

    Haha, I love the ‘Wow doesn’t count’, Most of the people playing on EU servers are Scandinavian so having something equating to real friends isn’t that possible. I did become super good friends with my arena partner, who was Norwegian, and we met on an occasion with little awkwardness. Shame about the distance.

    Best of luck on the road to fearlessness. Feels like we’re all getting closer!

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