Me, in the throes of a massive panic attack on the top of the Sacre Coeur. *Quick note: if you have Vertigo and/or Claustrophobia, do not climb the Sacre Coeur tower, or any other old tower for that matter. Narrow lightless winding stairwells that go on forever...shudder.From reading my blog, I bet many of you imagine me as a somewhat brazen fearless monster. And it's true. In the right kind of setting; I can be charming, witty, gregarious and more than just a bit bawdy. Outgoing with strangers. Banisher of the awkward moment. I can do with the conversation ball what only the profesh soccer players can do with the real one. But the key here is...the right setting. The truth is I have lots of fears, tons really, but they often don't see the light of day because I am very clever at masking them and at keeping myself in the right place and in the right light all the time.
Enter Dutch Design Week. I am going to Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Not for a day or two to scout around, but I'm staying the week and will be volunteering with these lovely groups. Film + Design and Eat Drink Design. So what does this have to do with my fears? Well, I will officially be taken out of my carefully curated settings and thrown into the unknown. Here's a list of my biggest fears/upcoming challenges:
1. Fear of being unknown. I'll be going to a previously unforseen [for me] region of The Netherlands...alone. No support system. No cohorts to laugh at my clever witticisms. No fan club. No friends. Not even a mild acquaintance.
2. Fear of self-promotion. Part of my plan is to [gasp] network. Now here is where I really fall short. As conversationally fluent as I am, I fear/loathe networking. I feel so cheesy when I'm trying to sell myself, like having an agenda makes me dirty, conniving. It's a big stumbling block for me, but if my growing pile of rejection emails tells me anything, I'm going to have to get creative if I want to scare up an income in this place.
3. Fear of heights. I don't even like being in the Imax when viewing aerial shots. I get queasy, dizzy, terror-filled. Did I mention I'll be spending a night sleeping in a tree? Yeah, well I'm mustering my bravery on the sure chance it'll make for some great writing/photography. Now that I've put it out there with you guys, I can't possibly come home tail between my legs. I will climb that rickety ladder and I will sleep in that tree...alone. Hope I don't have to pee in the middle of the night.
4. Fear of small enclosed spaces. Claustrophobia with a capital C. Did I mention sleeping in the tree will involve a teeny tree house? What did you think? I was gonna tarzan out and recline on a couple of branches? No friends, there's an arbor abode, perfectly poised to test my moxie in it's distance from the ground and it's limited square footage. So yeah, I can feel the panic rising but I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to bed some really cool art; and prove to myself and anyone else who cares, that I can grow a pair when the situation calls.
So there it is, a week of hurdle jumping planned for yours truly. I can't say I'm not a bit terrified, but the chance to face my fears, meet some great new people in the creative fields, and collect some witty tales to tell, is all too tempting. I'm filled with a fear/excitement/anxiety cocktail.
So what are your fears? How do you combat them? Avoidance? Or do you like to face them head on?