This went on for another few days: Six girls tapping their toes and trying to remember their left foot from their right and I was faking through my math work. The song, which escapes me now, was burned into my brain. Then it happened. TC came down with a really bad cold and stayed home from school . I overheard my teacher tell the girls at the next practice that they would have to make due without the 6th person in the dance group. I don’t know what came over me, but I stood up and said, “I can do it. I know the steps. I can fill in for TC.” My teacher looked at me and said, “Are you sure? You know it’s in front of a lot of people.” I nodded, walked over, took a “candy cane” cardboard tube and preformed the dance perfectly the first try. That Friday, I danced for a full house... erm, cafeteria. I felt like a super star and completely confident. I didn’t mess up. I nailed it. I was made for the stage.
Fast forward a couple…okay, okay… almost three decades later. I’m two months into my new job. Less than two weeks ago, my boss asked me very last minute to go to Philadelphia for our company’s big conference to fill in for another employee. It was déjà vu. Over the course of the last week, my responsibilities grew and next week, I will be speaking in front of approximately 300 people. It’s been one crash course after another and I know what I have to do. I’m really honored. My boss believes that I can handle this even though I am still very new to the company. They trust that I’ll do a good job. I know the steps and my right foot from my left. My red and white striped skirt is now a business suit. My cardboard tube candy cane is now two laptops and a microphone. But, the audience will be less forgiving than the PTA and I’m not the confident super star 3rd grader I once was. I’m nervous. Like, I’m not sure my deodorant is working and I'm really gassy nervous.
What happened to my 3rd grade bravado? I do "brave" things all the time. I speak in front of people. I introduce myself to groups of strangers. I sing karaoke... badly. I say YES when a comfortable NO would suffice. But, I now find that I regret jumping into the scary and question why I put myself into these situations. I usually come out okay in the end with a good story to tell, but the anxiety that plagues me the minutes, hours, days, and weeks before the event is almost too much to bear. I've lost my natural ballsy attitude somewhere along the way.
As a mother, I have to be brave for my kids, so in turn, I can encourage them to be brave and try new things. I have to show them how to take bold steps. I have to fly away from the nest to show them how it's done before I kick them out. Yes, the 300 pairs of eyes starting at you are scary, but you'll be amazed at how good it feels to survive a good scare. Try the spinach. Yes, it looks like snot, but you might actually like it. Introduce yourself. Show off a talent. Take a trip to a strange new town by yourself. Take on a huge responsibility. That is how you grow. That is how you live.
I'm putting on a brave face for my family. I'm honest about being nervous, but I back that up with "but I'll be okay and you will, too." The Hub is more than capable to handle the monkeys while I'm gone. I'm almost ready to board my first flight in 6 years. I'm ready to experience a whole bunch of unfamiliar. I'm ready to do a fantastic job. I'm ready for a quiet night in a hotel room where I am sole master of the remote control. As long as I remember my deodorant and underpants, I'm sure I'll be fine.
|Picture Credit: http://themetapicture.com/|