“There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational- or in simpler terms, fears that make sense and fears that don’t.” –Lemony Snicket
I am afraid of frogs. And toads. Well really all amphibians and snakes too. I don’t like reptiles, but I am not afraid of them. I am afraid of things in the ocean, mostly fish and sailing. I am afraid of puke. Me puking, others puking, tv and movie puking. I am not afraid of the dark or spiders or mice. I am not afraid of flying or public speaking. I am not really afraid of failing.
All those things listed above do not really effect my life. The puke a little bit, but I am working on it. Really. A frog or a snake may scare me for a second, but I don’t live in constant fear of them. I really have no interesting in sailing or swimming in the ocean so I don’t stress about it. And I have overcome a lot of fears. A lot. I was too afraid to go to lunch the first 6 months of my job at Bethany. I was afraid to fly. I was afraid people would find out about my anxiety. I was afraid of doing anything by self, afraid of other people judging me, I was afraid of traveling and trying new foods. I have come a long way so I don’t really feel I need to do more “conquering” any time soon.
But today, one of my fears trickled down my neck, made my stomach drop and my heart pound. The more it was discussed, the closer I felt to tears. I try to joke about it, but truly I am feeling paralyzed by the thought of it.
My office is having a banquet. About 200 people (most of whom I do not know) mingling, sitting at a table with people I don’t know, small talk. I am supposed to invite people, and that also consumes me with fear. I just don’t like it. It may be irrational, but the thought of asking people I know to come to an event in which my agency will be talked about and they will be asked for money (just asked, no one has too) seems so intrusive to me. Like all those people that show invite you over for dinner and end up trying to sell you Amway. I guess because I don’t like these things, I assume others don’t either. Because I would not want to feel like I had to go to someone elses banquet, I don’t want them to feel they have to go to mine either.
And when I think about inviting people, I get sweaty and prickly. My ears ring and my heart pounds. And even if I don’t have to invite people, even if I have to mingle with strangers, I feel the same way. Put me behind a table with a task. Have me bring water to speakers. Let me pour coffee or check coats. Just please don’t make me mingle with people I don’t know. The last 2 times this happened in hid in a bathroom stall.
I can stand up in front of 100 people and talk for 6 hours. I can knock on the door of a new client, walk into their home and assess or educate all afternoon. There is a topic, and agenda. Mingling, small talk, meeting new people… sickening.
I do think it important that I can be myself. That I can find value in what I can do and use that. I think it is important that I am me. And as much as I like to be perfect, I’m not. I have learned to embrace who I am (with daily moments of wanting to change who I am).
And I have learned that although there are many things to be afraid of, there are many thing that are amazing and wonderful. And I can be a part of them and they make me who I am. And for everything I fear, I love 10 times as many things.
So if you happen to be looking for me at an event and can’t find me, check the bathroom, I’m the one with the really big feet.