When I moved to Charlotte, one of my goals was to become braver and bolder. In Syracuse, I was scared of everything. I was scared to go to networking events alone, scared to try a new exercise class by myself, even scared to go to the nail salon alone because I thought I would look like a friendless loser. I preferred sitting home to trying new things because I loathed stepping outside of my comfort zone. After my move, I was determined to change that.
When I came to Charlotte, I forced myself to go to meetups, check out exercise classes by myself, and really just put myself out there. I went on “friend dates” with friends of friends and when I became single, I went on real dates. Before I went out on one of these new adventures, I always felt beyond nervous. Like, passed nervous three exits ago and was headed to absolute terror. It was partially excitement, sure, especially when I knew I might meet someone great (whether it was a friend or a love interest). But there was always a certain degree of pure fear involved. What if I said something dumb? What if I got lost on my way to the meeting? What if the other person and I didn’t get along? What if I went to a networking event and stood in the corner the whole time? However, I’ve noticed that the more I do these things, the more manageable they seem to me.
When I first started trying these kinds of things, I used to wish that I could call in a stunt double to go to a meetup or on a coffee date for me. I was terrified. I would get myself all worked up, even though I always ended up having fun on the outing. Now though, I get nervous, but it’s a much more manageable kind of nervous energy. These events that used to seem so overwhelming are now challenging but fun.
It’s kind of like how people who live in Charlotte always tell me that I’ll get used to roaches. They’re just a part of life in the South, and the more I see them, the more desensitized I will become. I don’t totally believe that I’ll ever become numb to huge, fast insects that are the size of small dogs. But I do understand what they mean. Something may seem absolutely unbearably scary at first, but once it becomes a normal part of your routine, it suddenly seems totally do-able. As long as you have at least three cans of Raid in your home at any given moment.
While you may wish that you could call in a stunt double or choose to simply avoid doing something that really freaks you out, I’m here to tell you firsthand that it’s absolutely worth it to push yourself. Yes, you’ll nervous sweat. You may even lose sleep. But when you conquer a situation that used to seem really effing scary, you’ll feel so incredibly competent and confident in your own abilities.