“Love yourself and life becomes a party” – Jen Sincero
I have spent so much of my life buried under fear. But I didn’t used to be like that. I used to be quite a badass little bitch actually. Let me explain.
When I was 5, the highlight of my entire life was my ballet recital. I had been practicing for months. My tutu was brand new and super pink. I was wearing blue eyeshadow for the first time. It was very exciting and I was ready to shine in the spotlight (I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Sweet Jesus, this girl has classic only child syndrome.’ But I actually have a brother, lol! The poor kid was typically my back-up dancer, haha). Anyways you can imagine my disappointment when another little girl sat down on stage in the middle of what I thought was my big number. Obviously we were 5 and the girl probably just missed her naptime that day. A normal child would have let it go and ate some goldfish instead but oh no, not me. I literally went up to the little girl and started moving her little limbs for her like Pinocchio. The audience gasped. On my dad’s video camera (lol, remember those?), you can actually hear another parent saying, “Jesus, whose kid is that?” and my lucky father literally goes, “NO IDEA!” My point with this story is I used to be able to totally do my own thing in front of a crowd of people and not care at all what anyone thought of me. I think a lot of us used to be like that. But then we grow up and start boxing ourselves in with limiting beliefs, insecurities and all of these other destructive forces.
One of the biggest fears I started developing over time is public speaking. I have studied journalism since middle school and got really good at hiding behind my computer telling other peoples’ stories. I very rarely had to public speak in school and just kind of avoided anything scary like that whenever possible. So you can imagine my delight when about 6 months into my first job post-graduation, my boss tells me I will need to present my project to our entire team. Cue the nausea, the sweaty palms and the inability to breathe. I sucked it up and gave the presentation. Want to know what I did afterward? I threw up. Thank God it wasn’t in front of anyone. I calmly left the room and then threw up some kind of green mystery substance into my hand in the lobby of our building. Yep.
Fast-forward another year and my boss gives me a really fabulous opportunity that involves traveling to a dozen cities around the country. I immediately said yes because I was so excited to travel. But then the fear set in. OMG WHAT?! THAT’S LIKE 12 SPEECHES. IN FRONT OF EASILY 50 PEOPLE EACH TIME WATCHING ME AND JUDGING ME. NO NO NO.
An hour before the first event, I was in the bathroom having a full-on panic attack. I literally felt like I could not breathe. Of course I had to put on my big girl panties and deliver the speech because what choice did I have? After it was over, I totally beat myself up and thought it went terribly. The next day, the videographer asked me if I wanted to see the video. Um, why would I want to watch myself make a complete fool out of myself? No thank youuu. (I know, I’m so dramatic). Against my better judgment, I locked myself in a room downstairs and watched the video. And you know what? I totally rocked it. I smiled a lot, seemed confident about the information I was presenting and answered the questions from the audience well.
Each city got easier and easier. I was literally DANCING in the last section on the last night of the tour. I was so so so proud of myself. My excitement and my passion won. Suck it, fear. *middle finger emoji*
Since moving back to LA, I’ve encountered plenty of other fears and triggers. Instead of going through this new phase worrying what other people think of me, I spend my energy celebrating who I am. One of my big goals with this move is to flip my fear and use it as a motivator. I show up as the brightest, happiest version of myself. I know who I am, that I am powerful, that my ideas are worthy and that the Universe is on my side. I know the exciting experiences I want are on the other side of that fear and I love myself enough to push past that fear. And I feel so much better. Get at me giant leaps.
Have you stood on your stage lately?
Jewelry: Habit necklace