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being all that you can be

Being all that you can be

I have a confession to make.

I hate crowds. I especially hate crowds when I have to meet new people. Even if these are people I know already, through the miracle of the internet.

So it wasn't just the heat and the humidity and allergies that gave me the migraine yesterday, it was the stress of having to go to a party where there would be a lot of people I didn't know, or knew but never met. The stress of thinking about it all week long resulted in the worst headache ever.

I know you will find this hard to believe, but I am incredibly shy. I have a hard time looking people in the eye when I talk. I tend to play with my hair or twist the ring on my finger while I talk to people that I don't know. If it's a group of two or three people, I'm ok. But once you go over that number, I freak out.

I shouldn't except invitations to parties that I know I will not end up attending. But each time I do, I think it will be different. I will overcome my fear and shyness and get out and meet new people. I will be strong and confident and bold.

Not bloody likely. The confidence surges through me for a week or so and then as the days approaching the gathering advance, it starts to crumble. By the day of the party or meeting or whatever it is I'm going to, I'm downing Excedrins and curling up on my couch with my blankie.

I don't know what I fear. Perhaps my sense of inadequacy overrules anything I try to do. I'm sure that's the reason why I never followed the advice of my college professors and tried writing for a living. The fear of not living up to what others expect you to be is overwhelming. It's just easier to not try at all than to do it and be looked at as something less than you really are.

I'm not saying that I am not who I present myself to be here. This is me. As long as I am with my friends or family or not in a huge crowd, this is me. I have met other webloggers before, in very small groups, and I think it went well. But the whole crowd thing makes me nervous, and I know I don't act like myself when surrounded by bubbly, gregarious people. I am easily intimidated by those who have more confidence than me.

Maybe I willed myself into having a headache so I would have a reason not to go. Maybe I should have just said no to begin with, so I wouldn't have the added stress of spending that whole week knowing full well that something would happen at the last minute to make me back out.

I'd like to overcome this. I really would. I feel this fear of failure and fear of new things and fear of looking strangers in the eye and letting them see who I really am, how I really look, how I really sound, is going to keep me from ever doing anything more than what I am doing now.

Fear has kept me stagnant. But a greater fear has taken its place. That is the thought that this is the crest of my life, that my phobias and idiosyncracies will keep me from every doing anything greater, from ever trying to be anything more.

It's time to move past it all and see what I can do.


I hate crowds because there might be too many bodies to drive through instead of just one or two my car can run over.

slay the dragons, as Aaron says.

Laurence, facing crowds while driving is a totally different thing. That's why I drive an SUV.

Did you ever see Death Race 2000? I'm all about the points.


You may very well be shy. But I also think you're humble. It's difficult for you to go into a crowd and be recognized for your work and reputation; and possibly have to endure people praising you for your accomplishments.

You might want to try something like NetMeeting, where you could meet some of your online buddies face-to-face in a one-on-one setting. As you become more comfortable with people seeing your face and hearing your voice, perhaps you will lose some of that fear.

I always get nervous before I have to make a speech, play a gig with the band, go to a party etc but soon that stomach-sinking fear turns to enjoyment once I'm actually there.

If I had stayed at home everytime I was nervous I'd probably resemble Gollum, and no-one wants that. I'd also have missed out on some great times.

Just remember that everyone else is just as nervous, and that it's really easy to give advice when it's not me that has to face a crowd of strangers that will laugh at you behind your back...;)

well, they are bloggers -- people who spend an inordinate amount of time in front of their computers writing and reading the words of relative strangers, so i don't think they'd be too overly bubbly and outgoing. even the ones who (like you) have strong online 'voice' are probably quieter and more withdrawn than, say, non bloggers.

now add a bunch of alcohol and i'm sure things would change, but that always changes things.

you could try imagining them all in their underwear. unless you do that already.

"now add a bunch of alcohol"

... which is precisely what we did at the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash.

Or at least I think we did - it would explain the gaps in our collective memories.

i love you no matter what.

I can see the new malt brew now:
"Blogahol...it gives you balls"

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Hello. If you are owner of this site, delete this message, please.