When I first started quilting and selling patterns, I never told anyone. Heck, I didn't tell anyone what I did for the first 4+ years that I designed and sold patterns (I started 6 years ago). Maybe I told a few people, but it was a "separate life" than my day-to-day interactions with people. And most people that I did tell, didn't really understand what that meant, so it wasn't a big deal to them. I don't like attention or feeling like I'm a big deal. Cause I'm not. I have a job just like everyone else, and this is what I do.
(Did I mention that I HATE attention??!!) It's funny because I really do love to get up in front of people and teach, or talk, or whatever. I love to share what I know and do. I love talking with people and getting to know them, and sharing our talents with each other. But please don't praise me. Don't applaud me. Don't make me stick out from the crowd.
Here's an example of what I'm referring to, I had a job right before I had my first baby, and at our last group meeting before I quite, the boss/owner thanked me for all the work I did and the contribution I made to the company - in front of everyone. They all clapped. I stared at the floor. (ug. can I please hide under my chair?! Get me out of here! lol.)
That about sums me up.
When we moved here I joined the quilt guild right away, as well as the modern quilting satellite group. I loved it! Everyone is SO nice!! A few of the girls knew right away that I design patterns, and as we'd go to different meetings, one friend was so nice and would introduce me to everyone. AND THEN she'd tell everyone that I am a pattern designer! Suddenly I went from just a new girl to a designer. oooohhhhh!! "Ug. I don't know how to handle this." I know I make a bigger deal of it than it really is, and I'm sure that people really don't suddenly think that I'm some big deal. But it feels like it. Because suddenly all eyes are on me.
This last weekend we went to Canada and joined the quilt guild in Winnipeg. It was awesome! I had such a great time! For show and tell I brought my Celestial Star quilt top. I got lots of ooh's and ahhh's. So much so that it totally threw me off and as I tried to talk about it, I felt like I just became a jumbled mess. (not again). I'm really not this insecure, I promise. I really do know how to present myself and be normal in front of groups of people. lol.
As I was talking to my new friend Deb, I realized that what really throws me off is that all of a sudden, just like that, I have two very separate realities that have collided head on!
I have my in-person interactions that I'm totally cool with. (I do have social anxiety, but as long as I feel at least a bit of control over my situation, I'm good). And then I have what used to be my online reality. I can share whatever online, and when the attention comes, I can safely hide behind my computer or phone screen. Which as I write this, gives me that sense of control in my social interactions.... which makes me wonder if all my problem is, is my social anxiety. That in situations like the one in Canada this past weekend, I lose all control and I'm like Ahhhh!
Anyway, what I originally realized and was going to write about, was that I somehow need to get used to the idea that I do something remotely awesome (because seriously, I can't deny that I LOVE my job and that it's pretty fun). But I don't want to get proud and arrogant about it. How do you deal with/handle doing something super neat and be able to still act normal when someone else gets really excited about it?! How do you not get weirded out and when others compliment you. (seriously, I'm not sure that's something I ever learned. Usually I say thank you and we talk, but I feel so disconnected from anything positive that people say about me. And I'm learning to be disconnected to the mean comments (like today. someone commented on an old YouTube video that I was smacking my lips or something and that it was kind of annoying. I told him thank you for letting me know so I could pay attention to that in future videos, and suggested that maybe turning down the volume would help. lol. It totally shocked me at first, as it does when out of the blue someone takes a dig at you. but whatever, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't being a jerk (like some comments I HAVE received... people can be so rude.)) Anyway...
What I was saying, is that I need to learn to be comfortable with these two realities being one. Learn to put myself out there and be comfortable with that.
I talked with my hubby about this last night and I realized that while I want to maintain the focus on my family, I want to learn to fit in and balance my business. It's interesting how God sometimes directs us to different paths - not to stay on that path - but so that we can then make it to an entirely different one, that we wouldn't have gotten to if we hadn't taken that detour.
I was reading this article this morning and I loved this quote from it,
We can’t see the future. That’s what makes the unknown so scary. Sometimes sticking with what we know, what we’re comfortable with, what we can see, feels like the safest bet in life. But that’s not how God intends for us to grow. Sometimes life requires us to take a leap of faith, especially when it comes to overcoming our fears.
“The natural man and the natural woman says there is no way I’m taking this step. There is no way I’m moving into the darkness until the light moves and I can see where I’m going,” taught Elder David A. Bednar in the video “Being an Agent to Act.”
But the requirement for faith is that we act first.
“Most of the time we think, ‘Well, give me the power and then I’ll act,’” said Elder Bednar. “But the Savior’s gospel teaches that first we act and then the power comes. We don’t know where to go. We don’t know what to do, but my trust in Him enables me to act.” - Why it Will All Work Out, https://www.lds.org/blog/why-it-will-all-work-out
Over the weekend as I thought about my current struggles, I stepped back from them for a moment and had to laugh. Seriously? What am I even struggling for??! It's all in my head.
I decided that I'm going to stop complaining and I'm going to start enjoying. I don't know what's in my future or where I'm going, or what it's going to look like. But like the quote above, that's ok. As I trust God, I don't have to know. I can have faith that He will lead me, and I actually think that sounds pretty exciting!
I thought of this quote a lot over the weekend too,
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."Marianne Williamson
It's true. I'm not really afraid of failure. I've failed enough in life, had enough struggles, hit rock bottom so many times - I have that down packed. Struggle and I are good friends. It's the comfort, the ease, the light and being great that terrifies me. Since we moved here, I lost my life long friend of struggles and trials. And suddenly I've moved in with something better, but different, and we are taking our time to get to know each other. I hope we can become friends sooner rather than later though. ;) And this doesn't just apply to me. I honestly believe that each and every one of us has greatness in us! We all have amazing potential!! And I totally believe that only God can lead us to that. He knows it, He sees it in us, and as we follow Him, He will bring it out of us. That's kind of scary.
I learned last year that I am nothing without Christ. With all my health problems, I know that even breathing and getting out of bed is possible only because of the grace of God. Knowing that made me feel like I was nothing. But I am learning that despite my own shortcomings, I do have greatness in me. I have something that no one else does. Which sometimes it's scary and uncomfortable to be different, but different is also what makes life exciting and beautiful! Embracing that in myself takes faith, and that's ok. Scary is all relevant right?! It doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's all in our perspective.
So bring on the opportunities and let me learn to be comfortable with uncomfortable. ;) lol.
Have you ever felt like this in your life? What did you learn from the experience? I'd love to hear your story!