A Little Fear is a Good Thing
By SHembree on October 25, 2011
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (I say that to protect the identities of the innocent), I was asked to read an excerpt from a book at a very public event. By way of background, few things strike fear in my heart as much as speaking in public. Imagine if you will, blotchy red spots on my face (but just for a minute, and then let’s pretend that never happened). Now insert slightly awkward labored breathing. And for kicks, let’s throw in a touch of a cracking, wobbly voice. You get the picture.
I am a firm believer in bringing everyone down around me sharing my anxiety as a way to connect with other people. One person I confessed my fear to said something to the effect of me needing to expand my horizons and take a public speaking class. I was only limiting myself blah blah blah.
Here’s the thing, there are fears and then there are FEARS. I could take a public speaking class, but I would need to be heavily medicated to do so. Better yet, we could host this public speaking class on an airplane with my friend who is deathly afraid to fly and really get our crazy on. Or, we could recognize and accept our not-so-strong suits and push ourselves in other ways.
Enter the BlogHer Writers’ Conference.
For our Mamas Against Drama readers who don’t know, I will just say that it was a conference for bloggers in NYC. Yes, that’s right, bloggers do on occasion come out in the light of day to interact with the outside world. So I decided to expand my horizons, leave the crazy comfy confines of my stay-at-home mom world and go. It had been a while since I had interacted in public with adults I didn’t know – while in heels, mind you – so my inner dialogue on the train ride there went a little something like this:
This is the dumbest thing I have done in a while. But, it’s kind of nice to be sitting here without the kids. I am so not prepared for this conference. Hmmm, that guy had M&Ms. I wonder if they sell those in the cafeteria car…
Have I mentioned yet that I met another blogger online and was sharing a room with her at the conference? I am pleased to report that she did not chop me up into little bits, and she is likely thrilled to report the same. But I digress…
I could tell you everything I learned and how rewarding the whole experience was, but I am confident that other bloggers will be recapping the highlights on that front. What I will say, particularly for moms who get so immersed in their daily lives and their kids’ lives that they don’t take the time to invest in themselves, is to do so. It can be something as simple as a dance class (although we all know how well THAT went) or as big as a trip to NYC for a writers’ conference. Whatever it is, do it. It’s good for your soul to get a little uncomfortable and to connect with new people – and by new people, I don’t mean the moms you meet over discussions about organic foods and school functions. I mean people who can view you through a lens that isn’t X’s mommy. You might be surprised at how great it feels to be valued for something other than your diaper changing skills (not that those aren’t important, because let me tell you, I am an ace at blowouts, standing diaper changes, and diaper rash).
And as for what I learned, despite the fact I said I would leave it to others…Okay, I already knew this, but it was reinforced by countless people: You will never make money off of your blog, it will suck out your soul, and take over your life if you let it (as a side note, people probably told me the same thing about parenthood). With that said, if you are doing something that will suck out your soul, it might as well be doing something you love – whether writing, parenting, or something else entirely – and it might as well be with a group of people who make the endeavor a little more interesting and a lot more fun.
Shannon Hembree has worked in the White House, given birth to twins and a singleton, co-founded www.mamasagainstdrama.com, and been parasailing and white water rafting. Despite these accomplishments, she will admit that if faced with the choice between another set of twins or speaking in public she would choose the twins. Okay, not really, but she would think about it before making the choice, and that is very telling.
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