Tag Archives: Fear of failure

A new experience…

Every year for our birthdays, my daughter and I elect to give each other a memorable experience in lieu of a standard gift. (Full disclosure here: I still get her a gift!!) For her 25th birthday, we took a cooking class together, as an example. When my birthday rolled around this year, she asked what I wanted to do that we hadn’t done before and she gave me a few options. One of them was going to trapeze school.

I can hear you saying now, “Excuse me, WHAT?”
Yes, you heard ( or read!) correctly. I wanted to learn how to fly on a trapeze. On a bar. 30 feet above the ground. And yes, with a net under me. I’m not totally a moron or have a death wish.

Anyway….

Over this past weekend, my daughter and I went to trapeze school.

It was as terrifying as I thought it would be, but it was so much more.

My daughter gave me the option of going first. I took it. As I climbed the 25 foot ladder up to the jumping off stand, I started to run in my mind the last time I paid my life insurance policy, was it up-t0-date? Who was my beneficiary? When I got to the stand, shaking and feeling as if I was going to throw up the oatmeal I had for breakfast ( more on that later) I must have telegraphed my absolute terror to the man who was going to strap me in and basically shove me off the stand because he said, “first time?”

Jeeze. What gave me away? The fact the ladder was clanging from my shaking hands? The pallor of my face? The fact my pupils were constricted with fear?

Anyway…he was lovely, reassuring, and very strong, thankfully. I did as I was instructed: one arm out to catch the bar, one hand behind me holding onto another bar, bend my knees, breathe. ON his count, he made me switch to both hands on the bar, put ten toes over the ledge and don’t look down, just focus on the distance. Now, of course, you know when someone tells you not to look down the first thing you do is….look down!! And sweet, baby Jesus, was I high up. Like third story building high up. On the count of three, he said, “go.” And I…went.

You never know how much you value your life as when it flashes before your eyes.

From below, the main instructor was calling out instructions, the most important one? “Focus on my voice!!” I did. I straightened my legs, lifted them when told, swung them around the bar so that now I was holding on and my knees were clutching the bar. When he said, “Let go and drop backward,” another flash flew past me and I…let go and leaned backward. I think at this time I screamed “Holy, Shit!”  but since neither my daughter nor my husband was videoing me, I can’t remember for sure. I do remember thinking “I’m actually doing this and not dying!!  Then I thought, “yet!”

Next instruction? Lift back up, drop your legs and let go.

Now, upside down hanging from the backs of my thighs is a position I never in 1,000,000 years thoughts I’d ever be in. But, I was. Looking at the world from 30 feet up and upside down is…interesting. And, I will admit, a total rush. And a little nauseating…damn that oatmeal.

Okay, so after a few seconds of this experience the instructor yelled, “Put your hands back up on the bar, drop your legs, and let go.”

Okay, what? Let go? I guess  I thought they would somehow lower me back down. The thought I had to DROP never crossed my mind. He said it again. “Let go.” So, I did.

The fact that I’m here, writing this, proves I didn’t die!!!

Now, no one took video of me doing this, so when it was my daughter’s turn, of course, I had that camera all set to record. Here is her much more stylish swing through:  

And, yes, it goes just that fast!!

So after the first time, when I was letter friggin’ perfect, you’d probably think it was a piece of cake after that and that the next time I’d be even better. Yeah…not so much. You never realize how much you weigh or what terrible shape your arm muscles are in until you are trying to hang with all your weight dropping straight down and someone yells “lift you legs over the bar.” So, I was a one hit wonder with the trapeze bar. Got a perfect 10 on my first try. I should have stopped there, but you know…competition! I tried 2 more times and then that damn oatmeal got the better of me and I got really sick and we had to call it a morning.

But for a few quick hours I flew like a bird. An overweight, middle aged, not very strong bird….but one, nonetheless.

And it was friggin’ fabulous!

One of my favorite human beings is Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, “you must do the things that terrify you.” And I did!

So, next year’s birthday experience? Sky diving sounds good, no?

When I’m not doing birthday or bucket list things, you can find me here::Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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On being a #writer and #publicSpeaking

So this past Saturday I gave my first ever PowerPoint presentation to my local chapter of RWA.

To say I was nervous would be to do a disservice to the knocking in my knees and the way my heart was shooting extra beats.

I’ve spoken publically before, — hell, I use to teach Nursing to undergrads! – but I haven’t spoken publically in a very long time. In fact, I haven’t done anything publically in a very long time, not since I retired and started writing full time.

I think I was nervous because  I didn’t want to screw up, be boring, or deliver a topic that didn’t appeal to the audience. I didn’t eat anything all day because I was terrified I’d hurl!

I’m sitting here to report (1) I did not hurl, (2) I was absolutely starving the minute the presentation ended! (3) my audience laughed, repeatedly and freely in all the appropriate spots (4) there was discussion about the topic – a lot of discussion, so YAY!, and (5) my audience seemed to genuinely like the presentation.

So, again, YAY!!!

Now I just have to get my nerve up again, because I’m giving this presentation again next month to another group.

But I’ll think about that…tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.

When I’m not being overly dramatic, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Public speaking isn’t for sissies…

So, this weekend I’ll be here:

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I’m part of the Vendor’s event on Friday night,  hawking my books and pressing the flesh ( why that always sounds so dirty to me, I can’t tell ya, but it does! )

Saturday I’m giving two “talks” or classes, as the camp is calling them. One is titled DREAM BIG the other, WRITING A BOOK, two concepts I know a great deal about.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. I’ll talk to practically anyone, anywhere any time. My grandmother used to say I’d talk to a rock if it would listen. She’s wasn’t wrong.

But speaking to another person one-on-one or in a small group of your friends is totally different from getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and commanding a topic.

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I tend to babble when I’m nervous. I tend to go off on tangents if something strikes me as funny. I tend to avoid eye contact because I’m so nervous. None of these little idiosyncrasies warms a listener’s heart when they have paid cash-money to hear you speak about a topic you are supposed to be proficient in and an expert on.

There are a million tactics to dealing with this nervous anxiety. Picturing your audience naked is one of the oldest and most quoted pieces of advice. But folks, seriously? I’m a romance writer. I write about naked people all the time! If I started envisioning my audience naked I’d most likely start to think up stories to put couples in the crowd together! Not a good tactic at all.

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Someone else offered me the advice of speaking to the crowd as if they were all a bunch of my friends and we were just chatting. Again- do you know me??? I have more “friends” on facebook than I do in real life. I’m never around more than 4 people at a time. EVAH!!!

One thing I did do for these two talks was write out all the bullet points I wanted to speak about and then transferred them to index cards. At least this way I can stick to topic and not go off on one of my numerous side trips and a non-sensical conversations.

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Arghghgh, as Charlie Brown so correctly says.

What have I gotten myself into? It’s so hard being a 50-ish, chubby, nervous, introvert in today’s youth obsessed, anorexic, let-everything-hang-out-there world.

I think I’ll go back to writing now to calm myself.

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Release-Eve thoughts….

Tomorrow, Skater’s Waltz is released into the world. Last week I admitted how fretful – well, terrified really – I am about this for a  number of reasons. I’ve had a few days to sit back and, while biting my nails, reflect on this. So here goes.

I am a truly private person. I know that sounds ridiculous since I have this blog, Facebook account, Twitter handle, am a Pinterest follower am LinkedIn, and Google plus-ed, but it’s true. As much as is “out there” in the cyber-verse about me, I keep a great deal of my emotions, thoughts ( yes, believe it!), and musings locked in my head. So when I tell you I’m terrified of this book failing, it is a huge admission for me to give a voice to.

I fail all the time. It’s true. I fail at weight loss, I fail to keep up with my exercise regimen, I fail people…enough about that one. So, you can see, failure is familiar to me and I usually don’t dwell on it, just get back on my proverbial horse and push on.

But this… this is soooooo different in every aspect. This book represents everything about me. My hopes, my dreams, my thoughts, my words, my loves. To have it fail – and by fail I mean, no one likes it, derides it, and makes fun of it – would, quite simply, be devastating.

I know I shouldn’t dwell on failure, because it can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Obviously, someone liked it because it’s being published. So there’s that. People will say “don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine.” And that’s nice to hear. But it’s so easy for someone else to say. Unless you have been in this position, as any writer has, it is impossible to empathize with what this feels like in your heart, soul and mind. As a writer, you put yourself out there on a ledge by asking people to read what you have to say. You love what you’ve written. It represents something that came from deep inside you, something that you gave your all to in order to bring forth. Discovering that people don’t like it, or worse – think it’s silly or stupid, or (the ultimate worst) badly written, is heartstoppingly traumatizing. I can hear how dramatic this sounds but believe me, from a writer’s viewpoint, it’s true.

As for the rest, I guess tomorrow will tell. I’ve done everything I could to promote it, market it, spread the word, and try to drum up some excitement from the people I know. I guess, as always, time will tell.

For now though, I’m going to go have a cookie…or several. And then try to exercise.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women