Sooooo…I am known as somewhat of a worrier.
I worry about what I say to others. I worry about my worthiness. I worry about creative projects that might fail. I worry about my job, what I will eat, who I will hang out with, how unclean my apartment is, how squirrels look at me…
At the best of times I simply rant and rave to my closest friends. At the worst of times I am in a fetal position on the floor bemoaning my fate as the worst writer/actor/cook/gardener/friend/person ever. It’s not 24/7 of course, but it’s probably one of my more well known personality traits.
It’s a persona that has become more public in the last few years and it’s one that both myself and my friends have exploited for the entertainment of others. After all, what’s the use of having a crippling insecurity if you can’t make fun of it?
But with this increasingly nervous persona that I put out into the world, there comes a certain assumption from a few people that because I am an anxious person I am therefore fragile and need to be pitied and/or rescued.
It bothers me when people think this about me. Oh, sure, it’s a natural assumption to make. If you see someone panic, it must be because they can’t handle tough situations or they are being forced to do something they don’t want to.
But in my case at least it’s not true. Sure, I panic. I worry. My nerves get frayed very easily. But this does not mean that I cannot handle anything that comes my way.
The fact of the matter is, I wouldn’t take on anything that didn’t seem fun to me. If I was truly not enjoying a project, if I was truly frustrated, then I wouldn’t do it at all.
For instance, let’s take a certain creative partner named Errol.
It’s true, he teases me relentlessly, both in our projects and in real life. And more than one concerned friend have wondered if I am simply trapped into doing projects with him. They question why I would be friends with someone who clearly gets way too much joy out of making my mind a psychological playground.
But these few individuals never actually consider that Errol continues to be my friend and creative partner because I actually have FUN when we hang out. Oh, certainly I get flustered and overwhelmed. But if Errol actually bothered me, or if I actually felt uncomfortable, then he wouldn’t be my friend. Nor would I work with him. End of story.
It goes the same with my creative projects. My panic comes from how daunting they seem, or how unprepared I feel. But there has rarely been a creative endeavor that I will take on that I have not wanted to do. That I don’t have an insane amount of fun doing.
And because they are fun, and because they are precious, and because I want them to work, well, that’s when I get anxious that I will somehow screw things up. In fact, Errol wouldn’t push me the way he does if he did not think I could handle a project.
Is it right to always feel this anxious? Probably not. It’s something I’ve been striving to improve on. But it does not mean I am fragile. I am not a wilting flower that will blow over in a gust of breeze. I do not need anyone to rescue me or to stand up for me. I do not need pity. When I do need help, when I feel at my wit’s end, when I’ve lost hope, I ask for a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. But any other time? I try to stand on my own two feet as best as possible and plow forward despite the obstacles or worries that stand in my path.
Sure, I will worry and panic. But that does not mean I am not capable of making my own decisions. Plowing foward THROUGH those doubts and worries…that takes a kind of strength in itself.
There are other people who might be fragile, whose anxiety and nerves come from a deep seated insecurity, who need to be comforted and rescued from their own emotions. I am not one of those people.