I know the title might sound a bit dramatic to some but there is no better way to describe what these past few months have been to me. In my last post I mentioned how I had a drastic change in my life. I quit my job, started a teaching internship and have had to deal with much higher educational demands than ever before. The result was a worn out girl who began to second guess anything and everything she did. I had an official shutdown and it was painfully terrible. And what was culprit of this shutdown? My extremely irrational, yet stubborn fear of expressing what goes in my mind.
I have realized through these tough times that I would rather put out safe ideas, pretend not to know, pretend not to care, fade into the background, than risk expressing myself only to find out that it is not good enough. Who is this judge that gives the verdict anyways? I don’t know and yet I have been living in fear of this “judge” for as long as I can remember. I guess the judge would be anyone that could disapprove, dislike or think something is stupid that I put out. This judge, I guess, is anything or anyone that can somehow confirm to me that I am in fact not good enough.
That’s why it was so terrifying to me to hear that I needed to share my writing with others (which just so happens to be one of the things I care about the most which increased my fear of sharing it by 1000). That meant I had to open up to the world and let people in on what goes on my head. Terrifying! I have been flying under the radar, quietly observing and reflecting for so long in peace. Now I was being thrown out to share my thoughts with many, many people several times a week, which left me feeling like I could break down any minute.
I dont know why I have always had such a fear of expressing myself. I have always just been a fairly private person. I am the definition of an introvert and this sharing was driving me nuts. Thank God, I stuck with it though. I dragged myself to class everyday. I stayed up late writing and rewriting presentations and running through my presentations before anyone woke up while I drank my morning coffee. I sat through classes, dreading the moment I would be called up, sweating bullets, yet showing the demeanor of a calm, uninterested person (sooo far from the truth!) while I finally gave my presentations. The thing is I stuck with it even though my anxiety was telling me I had run for cover and hide or ELSE. I’m still not sure what the “else” is. All I know is that it is damn scary and it’s stopped me from doing things many times before.
I have shared more and put myself out there more than I ever have in my whole life in these past 2 months. It’s been very difficult but I am truly starting to see leaps of improvement all of the sudden and I could not be more excited. I am becoming more relaxed about the idea of saying things that are wrong or that people wont agree with or like. It is my opinion and therefor should be worth sharing just like everyone else does. I have also become much more relaxed and confident while giving presentations. I still feel nervous but at least I feel a lot more comfortable standing in front of people. I even went so far as to enjoy myself while I gave my presentation this morning which is a definite first!
I know that there is still a long road to travel but I am very happy to know that I am on that road. Sometimes I am running by, other times I am walking and sometimes the best I can do is crawl along, but I am advancing. I am getting better. I am slowly chipping away at the protective shell I built around me that has been harming me more than helping me. I am beginning to get a taste of what it feels like to express who I am and it feels delightful. I will continue exploring different aspects of who I am and letting my creativity and self come through. I can’t imagine anything feeling better.