Most of us probably have a list of fears that we keep tucked close, hidden where they cannot be seen, where others cannot seek to infiltrate and destroy us. I’m pretty open with a lot of my fears. In the past I have wondered if there was anyone else who felt the same way I did, so by sharing my experiences, I hope I can spare someone that feeling. This weekend, I confronted one of my main fears– social anxiety.
I feel I am getting better about dealing with a lot of people in one area. It’s odd, I can go around New York City, moving shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, but when the crowd is vying for my attention and wants to talk (and go off script), it’s hard to deal with. At my university, I worked two events, one Saturday and one Sunday. Sunday’s event was an open-house, which I’ve done several times already, but Saturday was my first writer’s conference. Luckily, I was only manning the sign-in desk along with the other graduate assistant. Unfortunately, I forgot the signs I printed earlier in the week, which threw me off, but thank god, there was a script I repeated about eighty times that day.
For the rest of the day, it was smooth sailing, but when I got home, I threw myself down and took a two and a half hour nap to recharge. I should really say surrendered to the nap. I don’t think I could have stopped it. That’s what happens quite often with social anxiety. Dealing with other people is stressful. They’re unpredictable, sometimes rude, pushy. More than often, they’re none of the aforementioned things, but one never knows when they’ll surprise you.
In May, I’m doing a reading and small seminar at the Steampunk World’s Fair, and of course, I’m worried about it. I worry about not making a good impression or that I’ll be dreadfully boring. Will I stutter or will they hate my books? If more than a handful of people show up, will I freak out? Of course I will. I’ll bring water and coffee and possibly a bag to hyperventilate into, but I won’t stop myself from doing my reading. Probably a dozen times I’ve asked myself why I signed-up to do a reading. I’m a nobody author with a tiny following. I know at least two people will show up, and if more than that comes, I’ll be eternally grateful. As a writer, my biggest fear is that they’ll hate my books. As a person, my biggest fear is I’ll make an ass of myself. Honestly, they aren’t too far from each other.
No matter how many times I read aloud or do group events, the fear is still there. I’m hoping that practicing every few days for about three weeks leading up to the reading will help to lessen my fears. Pretending not to be an anxiety-ridden introvert takes a lot of energy, and I’m beginning to wonder how long I’ll sleep after the Steampunk World’s Fair.
On the topic of the Steampunk World’s Fair, I’m supposed to have a short story in a you pay what you want bundle along with several other artists and musicians. When I get more information about the bundle or what day I’ll be giving my reading, I will let you know, but for now, if you want to get a ticket, which is good for Friday to Sunday, please go here.