I’ve been an introvert for as long as I can remember, choosing to stand in the shadows, too shy to seek out the spotlight. If in the spotlight, I fidget awkwardly, feeling inadequate (and I think it shows), looking half-petrified half-bemused; that’s my resting-face when I’m feeling nervous A couple of weeks ago when I found myself at the centre of attention, I started to feel nervous, I could almost feel my cheeks flushing as my smile started to feel painfully strained.
Slowly yet resolutely, a simple yet ground-breaking realization came to me. In that still moment, it dawned on me ‘they are just people; like you, they are just people’. I immediately felt my smile relax and become more natural as my body released the tension. I chuckled as I realized that this was a turning point, that I’d found my breakthrough.
Face your fears always. Jump in head on and don’t hold back. Fumble your words. Bungle your way through. Lose sight of the shore, be a castaway. You’ll land some place that won’t be worse than the mind-prison your fears lock you into. Break free and decide to do it anyway. Hedge your bets. Put all your eggs in one basket. There cannot be a place worse than where you are right now. Don’t wonder till it drives you mad. I need you to know that feeling lost and uncertain is part of your journey; don’t skip it. Don’t numb your longings or lower your expectations. Stand bold and dare anyway. However hard, try. Fail. Fall. Dust off and try again. It gets better.
You’ll rarely be 100% sure before you do anything. So if certainty is what you’re waiting for, banish the thought and just start out in a direction, any direction really. When I was contemplating a career change, the only guidance I had on my search was that this next job would require interacting with people, being on the frontline, in the trenches, coalface. I had little clue of where I’d end up but I knew I needed to conquer my anxiety around groups of people. I landed somewhere, see? And I am yet to fall flat on my face. And if I did, it would all still be worth it. You know why? Because I’m finding out who I am by my own virtue. I’m getting to know myself through the reflection of others, I am interfacing with people on a daily basis, conquering my perceived limitations and building up my confidence.
My story is far from told, but I can confidently say that I’ve started out on the right footing. Everyday now I go through life bright-eyed and bushy tailed, with the widest silliest smile plastered across my face –ready to make someone smile, share a joke, give a compliment, find some common ground, share humanity. And in turn, here are some of the comments I’ve received from: ‘my my. aren’t you just the happiest person today’, ‘what a beautiful smile!’ (this one I hear ALL the time), ‘you have grace and forbearance’; that last one I had to look up 🙂 I even received my first ‘Above and Beyond’, honour on the job for excellency. I feel happy.
A few years ago, faced with the frailty of human life with my own at risk, I awoke to the realization that time waits for no man. If I was going to make a career switch to what I considered important in life, I was going to have to make the switch sooner than later. With my hubby’s support, I made the switch. Well, not quite like that –more like I lost sight of the shore and waded into deeper waters to find myself.
What I have now found to do, I do as a vocation. In my mind now (which is all that matters) I am doing meaningful work, interacting with other humans freely on a daily basis, spreading my sunny smile freely, making someone’s day better in my own little inconspicuous way. I’m on the right track, and I’ll be okay. We’ll all be okay. Always remember this brave girl, brave boy, you were made for far more beautiful things.
ღ Helena Grey xoxo
No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams ~ Maya Mendoza