Original post: On being an incapable nincompoop
Recently I pushed myself/signed up to push myself even farther outside my comfort zone. And then, I promptly freaked out.
What I did was reach out to an arts group that provides low cost dance classes and performance opportunities to mostly underserved youth. Anyone can participate regardless of background, race, income level, etc. They are about much more than that though. It’s also about increasing self-confidence, cultural awareness, discipline, and community. Suffice it to say, I love the idea of this organization.
Last week, I observed one of their practices and participated in a lyrical cypher. The lyrical cypher is basically a dance-off where everyone is a winner. You take turns improvising and just dancing while everyone else watches and cheers you on. The dancing itself was a really wonderful experience. Everyone was incredibly supportive of each other.
What was scarier was meeting with the executive director afterwards and discussing some tasks I could take on. I’m going to keep attending practices to be an extra set of eyes and also help with some social media posts. I did my best to act confident, but pretty fast my anxiety went into overdrive, especially when I got home and thought about what I had committed to.
Self-critical questions kept repeating in my brain: “Why do people trust me so much?” “Why do others think I can handle things?” “Why do people give me responsibilities?” Oh, and the statement that “I am an incapable nincompoop” returned quite loudly as well. And if I think it, it must be true, right? Anxiety says yes; therapy says no.
What I eventually found to be helpful was mindfully noticing these thoughts as they poured in. I recognized that there was a pattern of seriously doubting myself. And all of this was despite evidence of plenty of times I’ve handled new responsibilities and adjusted to new situations.
So, I march forward towards my values and what I truly want despite the fear and doubts. Perhaps, the more effective questions to ask are “Why do I not trust myself?” and “How can I change that?”
P.S. I just got back from another practice where I was thrown into leading rehearsal while the head coach met one-on-one with students. *internal screaming* It was probably the most assertive I’ve ever been in my life. But I did it, and I’ll go back next week.