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Churning stomach

Over the last four weeks I’ve worked on a presentation for a Photography Workshop I’m teaching this Saturday. All the curriculum, diagrams, words, concepts I’ve made from scratch. It has been more than a year in the making. Now we are down to the wire. I’ve sat on the $20 Staples Clearance chair I bought for my freshman dorm room, now residing my office (aka the Sensory Deprivation Room), and planted myself in front of Adobe Illustrator to pump out a 45 page Workbook while the lamenting indie tunes played in the background. I felt, for a few minutes, like I was in college. And I missed it. A little bit anyway. I was producing something. Researching, writing, creating graphics, making a finished presentation, preparing for a deadline, getting ready to teach. That part was cool.

But underneath that, it usually works like this: I get nervous and a way overly stressed out. I quickly flip tabs in the internet browser, procrastinating, avoiding doing work when I get a little bit stuck. I get incredibly distracted, worrying about things I shouldn’t really worry about, like insisting I have nothing to wear, then quickly browse Anthropology’s website ridiculously thinking some trendy outfit is somehow going to make my Workshop magically be great. I drive in my car and worry that people actually signed up for this thing, peeps I don’t actually know, for heaven’s sake, and that they’ll think I’m way lame in real life. I worry that I should have gotten a haircut and worry how much it sucks that all this stress has made my face break out like I’m some 15yr old nervous about going to the prom. And then I bite my nails.

Sometimes I stop myself. From dreaming. From going out on a limb and trying new things. Because making reality out of what I am dreaming and hoping sets me up for having to follow through with accountability, which then leads to the chance of failure. Often times just thinking about the potential failure scares me to a point where I lay in bed at night and thoughts roll around, those worst-case-scenario, I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough experience, what the heck am I thinking? kind of thoughts. On the level of principality, I know (in my head) how much more we learn from making mistakes. But in my heart, I really don’t want to have to walk into the discomfort and endurance it takes to work through actually doing it. Ridiculous, I know, to limit myself from even trying by being too worried about what it takes to try that psych myself out enough that right there I fail to allow myself to even do anything. I really don’t want to be a gal who limited herself by her own lack of experiencing perseverance and remained limited by her perceptions other people’s estimations of what was possible.

So it takes me a bit to get the ball rolling. Then once I get the ball rolling, I severely doubt what the heck I am doing. I’ll likely ask for your opinion, then argue with you about it. Because I have already over-analyzed every conceivable angle, argument, counter-argument and line of reasoning. But here’s the kicker…I’m arguing because I WANT YOU TO CONVINCE ME. Most of the time, I’m already so riddled with doubt, I’m feeling bleh about a situation and wondering what the heck I have gotten myself into. I’ve unconvinced myself. I need help deciding what I should do. No, really more why I should do. So I’ll ask. Then you’ll give your input. Then I’ll ask why. Give me reasons! Defend your stance! Persuade me! It’s not good enough to provide one line answers, or generalizations, or that it’s ‘good’ (I hate being told it’s good). Because I’ve already gone through them all in my head, and I want it to be more than just good enough, it needs to be the better, most supported possible answer out of a myriad of generally mediocre answers and I need help getting there. Even when it comes down to the wire, the 89th minute heading into stoppage time, I’m still doubting.

I know Saturday morning I will wake up before my alarm. And still feel like I’m going to be late. I’ll fear everyone will know that I don’t really have it together. My confidence will nosedive. I’ll regret that I didn’t put on that 6th extra layer of deodorant. But I also know it will all be just fine. They day will be really fun. Everything I’ve worked on will fall into place. The small stuff won’t be the huge deals I make them out to be in my head. Moreso, I’ll get to know new, just incredible people. I’ll get to teach them something they will be incredibly excited about learning. They will walk away feeling inspired, having inhibiting walls torn down, gaining new understanding. I love to teach. I love photography. Love it. You’d think I wouldn’t have anything to worry about, right? Right….?

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