“Maybe I’ll just call the station manager and let him know I can’t do it,” I thought as my entire body went into ‘surfboard’ panic mode. Muscles lost the ability to move, stomach nauseous, my head started to float away from my neck and my jaw locked. Yep, panic!
This post is about what happens when we hit THAT inevitable moment when we’re on our Growing Edge, the risk is real, and we have to choose. It’s also to remind you to find somewhere, anywhere to get out of what’s safe, secure and stretch yourself. It builds new pathways in the brain, it makes you more humble and less likely to judge others, and it lays the groundwork for your more fulfilled life.
Here’s the story.
At that 5 minute mark, Diana texted me. It helped. Earth to Sam. Diana to Sam. That’s right, I’m here and I can do this.
Then my radio show started. My hour. All of a sudden words started pouring from my mouth, too fast, my body not catching up or staying with it. But at least I was talking. I’m pretty sure this was a by-product of that ‘panic state’ - my head being slightly detached from my neck and all that.
And then I shockingly became Sandra Bullock in the movie ‘Gravity’, floating in space, my words making sound but no sense, and seemingly emitted from somewhere beyond my physical consciousness.
This is what I was afraid of, all day. That being on stage, under a spotlight, would trigger old experiences in ways I couldn’t predict and I’d be faced with the unforeseen nature of that. And the very real possibility of not being able to hold it together.
Here’s a bit of the backstory.
I’ve been on stage before. I like to perform. To speak. But of course I have some moments when things didn’t go well and the older I’ve gotten, these 'fails’ have intertwined and localized around my fear of bridges. So, there I sat before I began to speak when I wasn’t sure I could do it, driving my car across the Kingston Bridge, looking out over the sides and trying not to, terrified that I might not make it across.
Then, flash into the ‘way-back’ past at the age of 10, in 5th grade when I won the town talent show doing a dance to the theme from Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther. My mom had made me a magnificent costume out of her pink poufy bedspread, complete with tail, ears, and paws.
When you win in the little town, you get to make the trek to Phoenix, and compete in the state talent show, against other winners from around the state. My dream - to win. It was ALL I thought about for weeks, practicing non-stop, making sure everything was perfect.
Remember those paws I mentioned? ... well they were glued to my pantyhose on my feet, so we didn’t have extras and I didn’t want to put a runner in them. I would be dancing on a hardwood floor which I had no experience with and never even considered that I should do a dress rehearsal - I knew my dance.
In the middle of the routine, right in front of the judges, I had planned a perfectly timed giant kick where my knee touches my nose - 'air splits'. It would be the pinnacle of my performance, accentuating the crescendo of the music … the proof that I was the rightful winner.
But with all the energy pumping through me, how hard I was trying, and slippery feet, when I kicked, my 'stay-on-the-ground' leg slipped out from underneath me. And I fell on my derrière, tail and all. That’s right, I fell in less than the time it takes to blink. My ruination culminated in me sliding out from beneath myself and then getting up, and finishing the routine, knowing my opportunity to WIN was now gone.
AND I HAD TO DEAL WITH IT.
I assumed I had listeners, I couldn’t just leave the air ‘blank’ because that’s a ‘no-no’ on the radio. I knew I had chosen to do THIS so it wasn’t a situation where part of me wasn’t on board. But there were many parts that were petrified.
And many parts with past trauma that didn’t know whether we’d get through it.
There’s a ton more in my past, relating to my father/stepfather and the lack of support that I’ve tried to overcome throughout my life. More trauma present, for sure.
But there was something else that got me through it. Or maybe I should say ‘many someones’ –
I had notes from my friends, my mom was at my back, many of you wrote me and said, “You’ve got this,” and people for no reason at all, made sure to reserve the time and even called in so I wouldn’t be alone.
At about the 18 minute mark, hysteria bubbled up when I realized I’d never have enough words to fill an hour. And the first caller, Dani, showed up on my screen. Thankful beyond belief. Saved. Thank you Dani.
And the hour ended with my mom calling in, wrapping me in all her belief in me, closing out one of the most life-altering experiences I can remember in a long time.
Past meets present shapes future.
Unconscious fears find their way into reality of NOW.
Others watching, potential for shame and humiliation.
Hope, dreams, wanting all - centered in a finite block of time where I have to ‘deliver’ which means overwhelming self-inflicted pressure.
Being in the unknown guaranteed.
Must be open to learn and listen to WHOLE Self – hopefully.
Yep. It was all there.
And on this morning, as of this writing, I’m grateful beyond measure for the experience. For the love and support sent my way. And for the opportunity to crack open another layer of Self information.
Every time we bust up the myth that we have to be in control, or look good, or avoid being embarrassed, we make room for more of ourselves to safely emerge and engage with the world.
The inside of us, for the most part, isn’t all together and clean and pretty. It’s a mountain of broken boards, buttons, old comforters, toy dolls, wagons, wheels … well you get the idea.
Our insides are beautiful amalgamations and cornucopias of life and aspects and talents and worries and possibilities.
If we’re going to get access to them, then we’re going to have to lay down the rules. The limits. The constraints we place on ourselves to fit into some ideal.
And it’s super nice when we’re loved while we’re doing it. Others, the people in our lives, when they can bring their hearts and empathy, make it all the more possible for us to let that mountain of stuff, be seen.
So that’s it. I lived through it. I learned. I healed. And I was loved. It’s probably the only reason I actually did live through it.
I’ve since done my second show and looking forward to my third this week. Lots of growth going on over here, but I’m thinking I’ve written enough.
Have an awesome day, Sam, and thanks for taking the time to help me through this big time event.
P.S. If you want to follow the topics of my weekly show in the future, simply follow the link below.