Yesterday, fear had knocked on my door. I opened the door and said, “hey, how are you? I was just getting ready to leave, so I can tell my story.” Fear responded with doubt, but I kindly told it “thank you for trying to protect me. But, if you don’t have an alternative other than not to speak, I’m about to get ready and do this. You’re more than welcome to come, but you won’t be driving, controlling the radio or riding shotgun.” And, I left.
This message was inspired by both Elizabeth Gilbert and an experience I had when I decided to share a story about self-satisfaction at a storytelling event on Thursday in Hyde Park called Grown Folks Stories. I was excited about speaking all day, but as I headed there from work I began to think about the story I wanted to tell and began to worry about if the audience would like it. In that moment, my excitement had quickly turned into fear and I immediately felt small, and no longer wanted to do it.
When my friend and I got to the event, it was crowded, but the vibe was amazing! Some of the stories that people shared were heartfelt while others were downright hilarious. This motivated me to get up and speak, but I was still scared…until the host said the last storyteller was coming up. After that, I thought I missed my opportunity and had to wait until mid-November to do it (because Grown Folks Stories occurs every third Thursday of the month).
Then a part of me said, “no! I will not wait until next time. I’m going to do this now. I just want to share a story of mine that I think is funny and if they don’t like it, oh well.” I walked right up to the host and asked her if I’m able to share a story, and I signed up. Within 5 minutes, it was my time.
I expressed to the crowd that I was nervous, because it was my first time, and they were very supportive. I took a deep breath and began. Every thought of doubt and fear that filled me was gone. I was energetic, clear, filled with life, and had the audience bursting with laughter. After I finished, a guy walked up and complimented my story.
I left the event proud of myself for not letting fear control me. I felt empowered and am looking forward to the next Grown Folks Stories. I wonder what story I’ll share next.