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!