I have found that when everything in my life seems pretty OK I tend to not write as much. I don't know if I just need that angst to really write something that has that same kind of hit or I just don't push myself to sit down in front of this computer. I think I get scared that what I write won't be as good, as raw if I'm not feeling particularly emotional. I mean does the audience really care about how annoying getting ranch a million times a day is? I don't find it particularly entertaining on an intellectual level. Sarcastic? Sure but as usual, my mind wonders, strangely connecting dots. And for some reason, ranch led me to ponder about my lack of self confidence. I feel good about me, my words. I think my doodles, for as simple as some can be, capture those moments that reside in this head. I know at the end of the day what I do is good, amazing sometimes even but I still flounder. I still put an incredible amount of pressure on myself no matter what it is I am doing to be the best at. The thought of you reading this right now and saying to yourself that it could be better should terrify me enough to not write this at all but still I write. I had a hard day. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It was the usual grind. It was the usual restaurant life madness but today I allowed myself to get swept up in my own doubt. When things started to crack, I questioned my own ability and it sucked. I have gone through the darkest of nights without breaking a sweat but sometimes it is the dumb things that tend to break me. It infuriates me. I can shake it off most the time. I can tell myself that I'm just being too hard on myself and figure out a way to rise above it but still I doubt. The confidence that I have drains out of me slowly like someone punctured a hole in me, deflating a little more over time. I patch it and I move on but I know that hole is still there, yet another ding to carry around.
Most the times my instincts are right on. I think about something logically, all the different paths it could take, five steps ahead of where I actually am, and land on an outcome but then I question. I feel like maybe my judgement is wrong or off or not well thought out. I try to do what is best for everyone around me and put myself out of the equation. I try to think of the big picture, not just what is in front of me in that moment. And maybe that's my downfall because when shit starts to hit the fan I don't trust my instincts. What I do isn't an important job but it makes people happy. I started tending bar a few weeks ago. I've never been a bartender but I've been a barista. The counts are the same but just the ingredients are change. They are both fast paced and similar while having just as many differences. I've been at this place long enough that the move made sense. I enjoy it. I'm not the best at it (yet) but I am learning new things every day. And the fact that I am not the best at it (yet) will drive me bananas until I do master it because that is the way that I am. It doesn't matter what feat is put in front of me, I will conquer that challenge. I just don't know how to live any other way. While my drive to become a master at this trade or any trade really is strong, my confidence is still quite shaky. It's not because I can't do it. It's not because I can't handle it. It's because I question how to get it done. I live my life by a very simple rule. Keep it simple. Try not to over complicate things but that doesn't always mean I do. Sometimes when a drink comes through, I freak out a little bit. Sometimes when three people sit down at my bar at once and I get a table and the well is blowing up and a keg blows, I get overwhelmed but still I try. The minute I don't I lose. I may look a bit nuts. I may run around like a chicken but that doesn't mean I will allow myself to fail, confident or not. I will not fail. We all have moments though when it feels like everything around is exploding. Sometimes it does. But you know what? For all those things that happen that are out of our control, we just need to remember to breathe and believe in ourselves to know that we get through it.
I'm still learning my way around a bar. I'm still figuring out how to make all these drinks and my rhythm, taking care of my customers while till taking care of the people's on the floor. I'm still trying to find my place next to people who have been doing it for years. I don't know everything yet. I won't know everything for a minute but still I don't stop. I know that part of the problem is my own confidence in myself. I know that I should tell myself to shut up when I start hearing these dumb whispers about I can't do something. That's not just about this new position. It's about everything in my life. It's about being a mother and a wife and a friend. It's about being true to myself. If I think someone looks at me in a way I can't do something, it hurts me but not as much as I hurt myself. Here is the thing. You could think I am a complete failure and, yeah, it would still bother me but I want you to know that I am ten times harder on myself than you. That's just the nature of my beast, a beast I'm still learning how to tame. A friend of mine just got a promotion. She gets scared that she won't be good enough, that she won't get it. The truth is the girl has already got it, she always has. I don't know if she knows how incredibly proud I am of her, of how much she has grown, of just her. I tell her that it's OK because she is still learning. She hasn't always done this sort of job. She's only been at it for a few weeks. There is a lot to learn, a lot to sink in. No one can be expected to be brilliant at something they've never done instantly. We all start somewhere. I tell her that she will have this incredible moment when everything just makes sense, when the stars align and the sun shines bright. It's funny because I listen to myself tell her these things, wondering why I can't practice what I preach. She's right. I've got this, too.
Last night I went to a party for my work. I have to admit I was about 90% sure that I was not going. Not because I don't enjoy my coworkers. Between you and me, they are some of the loveliest people I have ever met. So why then? I knew that I would have a good time. I knew they would make me smile. We would all laugh and carry on and let loose and blow off that steam that we can't whistle out when we're knee deep in the weeds. I know myself well enough to know that once I got there, it would be fine... but still the same silly anxiety that haunts me haunted me last night, too. I get weird around a lot of people. Not because I think anything is going to happen to me or to anyone really but because I feel invisible in large crowds. And I know. It doesn't make much sense but I feel like I fade away when there are too many people around me. Sometimes that is perfectly fine. Most the time I don't really want to be all that noticed. But sometimes becoming that invisible makes me feel so very lonely, too lonely. I start to lose touch with what is around me, with who is around me. My head feels dizzy and nothing seems very real. I understand now that is just the form my anxiety takes. I know exactly how to deal with it when the walls start to move in on me but it doesn't take away how devastating it can make me feel. So, yeah, sometimes I don't go to the parties that I'm invited to. Some days I don't leave my house. And a lot of times I would prefer a small number of good friends at my table then a large amount of them stuffed in a room. Not because I don't love the people in my life but because sometimes I just can't keep the walls from spinning.
I battled with the decision to go all day yesterday. The entire week I was all for it. I was excited about it but the reality of me is that my excitement for something doesn't always guarantee I will go through with it. I wasn't feeling very well yesterday. I spent most the day in bed sleeping, still not knowing for sure whether or not I was going to make an appearance. Then, one of my coworkers texted me and pretty much made it clear that I was going. I don't hang out very often. I don't drink very much. I'm always worried about all the grown up things that bog me down so I don't let loose very often either. This is my escape, these words and my doodles and my journal entries. All these things don't deal much with other people when they are being created. I just know that I am creating something. After I am done, you will do what you want with it. I guess that's the difference between being with people and being with myself. I can lay these words out and fade away but I can't always escape from a glance if you're standing in front of me. It makes my head just as dizzy. But I did make the decision to go but I brought my camera. I haven't had much chance to really figure it out. I thought what a great opportunity to try it out and, in a way, be with all these wonderful people without feeling that same old anxiety that always tugs at my ankles at these sort of things. I walked in with my camera in tow. I forgot how wonderful it felt, to be part of something without being completely in something. I could see these moments, capture these moments, and stay safely in my wallflower bubble. I got their smiles and their laughs, their joys and their tears all in these pictures from the way that I saw them in all of their beautiful glory. It has been years since I have picked up a camera of any sort other than the dumb pictures we take on our cell phones. It has been years since I allowed myself just to follow my eye, to let the world see the world as I do. It is invigorating, exciting. I had people ask to take my picture. Here is the thing. I am not a huge fan of getting my picture taken in the first place but that is not saying I run from a lens. I just got to be in the mood. Last night I wanted to be the camera, not in front of it. There doesn't need to be proof of my existence. The fact that these pictures now exist is proof enough. The fact that I was taking these pictures made me feel like I wasn't fading away in the crowd of many. Perhaps being invisible isn't all that terrifying.
Tonight I got off work and I was sending some of these pictures to one of my coworkers from last night. I am extremely happy that so many of these wonderful people truly enjoyed the pictures I took. I was just playing around for the most part but many of them came out really well. So well that it has lit a fire inside me to go back to this once creative outlet that I loved so much but walked away from like I did so many other things in my life. Sometimes I feel like I am terrified of everything. I worry too much about my family, about my job, about my cats, about all these things that, sure, I should take care of. I put out these blogs and write these books and draw my doodles and I love them all but I forget that putting my heart out the way I do takes courage. I forget about that courage and convince myself that my fear gets the best of me. I stood behind that camera last night. I wasn't scared or worried to be in the middle of all that football chaos. I was a part of it even if my face not once appeared on that film. I forget sometimes how brave I once was and I fool myself into thinking that I lost it somewhere along the way. What I forget is that life changes. I don't understand the way it changes me sometimes. We lose things along the way and we carry around these holes that we try to fill, knowing that we won't ever really fill them. We forget that when we lose, we gain. I guess I think about how I used to be, this brave and bright and full of life sort of girl. I think about how going to a party never bothered me. I think that's the sort of courage I'm supposed to have because that's how I used to be, right? But that kind of courage never shared a word. That kind of courage never told the people around her how she really felt. That kind of courage made it impossible for me to be human, to be kind, to be vulnerable the way I am now. I sat at one of the booths last night looking at the pictures I took as the party went on around me. I remember looking up and smiling. I knew that it was time to go but for the first time in a long time I was glad that I had came. I look back at that moment tonight after a long day and I understand how I never lost my courage. It's just quieter now but a courage just the same.