I remember the feelings like it was yesterday. I was in third grade and the teacher gave us a writing assignment. I remember being super excited about whatever it was…writing as fast as my pen could go...feeling creative, and funny, and so proud of myself. When I finished, my friends sitting near me asked if they could read it. I debated for a moment...I really just wanted to give it straight to the teacher. But they were eager...and I was pretty proud of it. So I passed it to them, with the promise they wouldn’t share with anyone else. They loved it. They giggled at the parts they were supposed to and went on and on about how good it was. I was feeling great…and positive I’d get an A.
And then…the teacher changed the game.
She announced we’d be reading the stories in front of the class.
My stomach sank…the panic set in…and I desperately started thinking about how to get out of it. I hated when she did this...when she’d spring these surprise announcements and unexpectedly change the expectations.
It wasn’t like I never wanted to be in front of the class. Most of the time I was great with it. I would always volunteer when an answer was needed…I was the first to offer when she wanted someone to read a book out loud…I was *always* in trouble for talking too much and too loudly. But I wrote the paper with her as the audience…not my classmates.
I don’t know why this hit me the way it did. But the feelings were so intense I can still feel them today. I did NOT want to read my story in front of the class.
One by one the students shared their papers as I sat in agony. And then…I decided on a completely ridiculous plan. When it was finally my turn, I stood in front of the class and began my story. But…I only read the first paragraph or so…and then…because I couldn’t bring myself to share what I wrote…I began making up the rest of the story. And let me tell you…I have NO improv skills. Like, none. Really.
It was bad I tell you. So bad. I felt my embarrassment growing. I saw the confused looks on my friend’s faces from the corner of my eye. I saw the disappointed look on my teacher’s face who assumed I hadn’t done the assignment because it was obvious I was standing there making up details. I tried to wrap it up as quickly as I could…and thought, “It will all be ok once I turn my paper in and my teacher sees the real story and how great it really is.”
Except, again…she changed the rules. She decided NOT to pick up the papers like she usually did. She graded us on the story she heard. And that…was that.
I was devastated.
I know part of the uniqueness is which God created me is being chameleon-esque. I’m excessively adaptable to those around me…like, in an extreme way. I hate those personality tests that ask are you “this” or “that”….and you’re supposed to choose the word you are *most* of the time. There is no most-of-the-time for us chameleon’s…no matter what the non-chameleon’s try to say. Depending on the people around me…depending on the environment…100% effects my behavior, actions, and words for that moment. It’s not being fake or someone I’m not…every one of those moments is me being my fabulous versatile self. And I’ve mostly loved this part of me.
But there is a downside to this. I can sometimes become too compartmentalized. Because I’m someone who loves to constantly network and connect people, most of the time I love bringing people together from my separate parts of life. But other times, when my world’s collide in unexpected ways, it can create an identity crisis. You throw a person from a different part of my world into the mix that I wasn’t expecting …and I don’t quite know how to be.
The craziest, is when it’s something as simple as an email. If I’m writing an email to someone…and then I realize I need to include someone else, I ridiculously stress out, it doesn’t matter if it’s my boss or my best friend. I have to compose a whole new email with this new perspective and agonize over every line, imagining how each person is viewing it and me. And oy, if I’ve written an email to someone, and later find out it was forwarded to someone else that I wasn’t originally expecting…this can send me to the utter depths of stress and despair. (and it's not just writing issues. It's any formalish concept. If I'm having to talk, teach, present, etc., this comes into play.)
I know, this is SUCH a weird issue to have anxiety about.
And I don’t quite know why this issue creeped into my blog life and started shutting me down. But it started as social media grew and I started compartmentalizing those worlds. My facebook persona can be much different than my Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat worlds. (although, this is probably just in my head, and the ones that follow me on the different ones probably notice no difference. Which just means I’m even crazier than I think.) And blogging was definitely a favorite for a while, but as social media outlets grew, and the number of people in my real life that could stumble across this blog grew…writing became harder and harder. And advertising this writing on my social media outlets became impossible. One by one, I began to unlink my blog with my social networks. I’m not naïve enough to think my stuff can’t be found and connected. (shout out to the lurkers!) But I’ve definitely tried to keep them as separate as possible.
The thing is, I know I’m supposed to write, even though I’ve been on the losing end of fear and insecurity. Between my weirdly separated worlds issue…and the fact that I know I’m supposed to write about things that will challenge and make those around me uncomfortable, or even angry…makes it difficult to dive back in. I’ve debated being totally anonymous, I’ve tried to just get over myself and continue this one, I’ve been through every option I could think of a million times. I finally decided on trying a middle ground and go for semi-anonymity as I try to figure out this blog persona. I’ve kept this domain, although I’ve stripped the blog down a lot, (deleted about a hundred posts…and will probably delete many more)…and trying to erase references to my own name and pictures. I obviously won't be advertising on any of my social networks when I post. And I’m pretty sure my old blog audience stopped coming around forever ago, so there’s a high chance no one will even notice such changes or new writings. #marketing101 #whatnottodo