Boy, where do I even start this week?
In last week’s newsletter, you might remember I talked a lot about nerves.
Well, truthfully, last week was riddled with a ton of angst and stress and trying to fit about five days of work into two. I was terrified that one of the several balls I was trying to juggle would fall spectacularly among the chaos. (We’ve all had those weeks, yes?)
But I kept barreling through, kept checking things off my giant to-do list one by one until I found myself last Tuesday night, finally catching my breath before my Wednesday morning flight to New York.
As I shared last week, I was invited to teach a hand-lettering workshop at Camp Good Life Project (Camp GLP) – a weekend retreat for adults to connect with the inner camper of their childhood, and learn, grow, and play among soulful, like-minded individuals.
Spoiler alert: in a word, the event was INCREDIBLE.
I had a sneaking suspicion it would be, but in the days leading up to the event, all that kept flooding my mind was the uncertainty of it all.
How would it feel to walk into a room full of complete strangers?
Would we run out of things to talk about?
What if my workshop didn’t live up to people’s expectations?
What if someone asked a question I didn’t know how to answer?
What if I get picked last for dodgeball? (But… seriously?)
I found out this weekend that there’s a term for all of this unnecessary anxiety. It’s called future-tripping, and it pulls us away from the joy of the present to the nagging doubt of the future.
Still, being aware of your anxiety and being able to do something to quiet it are two different things.
And it wasn’t just the workshop I was nervous about; it was the entire experience I had to navigate alone.
Now, typically when I travel, it’s with my partner, Jason, by my side. He handles the logistics and, frankly, I just show up (and read gossip magazines on the airplane. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.)
But not this time.
I was going to have to fly out alone, pick up my rental car and navigate the two hours to camp all by my lonesome.
It may sound really silly, but even as a 26-year-old woman, well into what I suppose society would deem “adulthood,” it was still kind of scary traveling alone. There are so many instances when I felt fearful and uncertain and mostly just uncomfortable because I was doing things I had never done before by myself.
- When I meandered my way from the terminal to the rental car kiosk at Newark.
- When I pressed my foot to the gas of my shiny Chevy Cruze and was left to navigate the winding, congested New Jersey roads on my own.
- When I (thankfully) remembered that I might need cash for tolls and had to desperately hunt for an ATM in foreign territory.
- When I pulled up to camp at dusk and walked into the dining hall, having never met a single soul in person.
- When I set up my workshop room with a projector I’d never used before and had to play IT troubleshooter armed only with a tiny instructions booklet and YouTube tutorials.
- When I stood in front of my “students” for the first time, hoping that the workshop I’d prepared would live up to their expectations.
SO many moments when I felt uncomfortable, out of my element, and uncertain of what was to come.
SO many opportunities to surprise myself with my own independence. To figure it all out one step at a time.
And wouldn’t you know it… the world didn’t end.
Traveling alone actually allowed me to tune into my environment in a way I’m not able to when traveling with Jason. The drive to camp, though peppered with a few wrong turns, was actually quite empowering and freeing. Entering that dining hall and striking up friendly conversations with strangers reminded me of the fun of connecting with someone new and the delight of discovering shared commonalities. And despite my nervousness, the second I stood to greet the room during my workshop, all my future-tripping was erased and I felt I was exactly where I needed to be. My enthusiasm took over and all I wanted was to share this art form that has become so dear to me.
I was so much braver than I gave myself credit for.
You have within you the capability to do things you never dreamed you could.
And while I know pushing beyond your perceived limits is scary and uncomfortable and it no-doubt can cause those pesky butterflies that are so hard to control, I promise you those moments of fear don’t compare to the feeling you get when you overcome them.
A comfort zone protects you from the anxiety of uncertainty, but it also hides from you your true measure of courage.
So this week, I challenge you to tackle one simple act of bravery.
I dare you to think of something you’ve had a desire to accomplish but the sheer thought of it turns your stomach into knots. And then I dare you to show it who’s boss.
You are SO much braver than you think you are, and while I can tell you that with confidence, it only matters that YOU know that. And the only way for you to know that is for you to experience it with your own heart. Let this be the week you prove it to yourself.
Words can’t quite express my experience at camp. I’m sure I’ll have more to add and share on the blog when I can fully reflect on what happened there.
But what I can say is that there was so much love.
It’s so rare to attend an event where every single person you talk to looks you right in the eye and has a genuine curiosity about what you’re passionate about. There was an equal commitment to engage with one another and I experienced it time and time again throughout my days there.
I’m proud that even when those butterflies in my stomach did their chaotic dance, I powered through, drawing courage from my desire to push my own boundaries and open myself up to new possibilities. I now have new friends and new perspectives as a result of that decision.