Yesterday I had lunch with a very intimidatingperson. And I was dreading it. I mean REALLY dreading it. I was nervous, had mean, bitchy butterflies in my stomach, my hands were clammy...the works. I made a list of topics I could bring up in case there was a long, awkward silence or a stare down contest. My head was so hot I thought it was going to explode when I pulled up. My heart was tight in my chest, beating too fast. I thought I might hyperventilate.
Breathe, Lopie. Breathe.
But then I got to the restaurant, ordered more sushi that humanly possible to consume in one sitting, and started talking. At first, I did the weird eye-contact thing... You know what I'm talking about. It's where you make eye contact for too long and then realize it, so you look away. Then you notice that you've been staring at your cherry coke for a really long time and needed to make eye contact again, so you do that. And you're really conscious of it and just know that they are too, which makes it almost painful.
But then, you know what happened? I found myself interested in what he was saying. I stopped caring about how much eye contact I was making. I stopped cutting my sushi into little bits that I could easily swallow hole if I forgot to chew. I stopped obsessing over what my hands were doing. And I listened intently. I heard myself asking questions because I was curious for more information. My awkwardness and fear went away.
We ended up finishing our sushi, going on to Starbucks for coffee, and heading back to the studio for even more chatting. We ended up talking for three and a half hours.
Who knew. Why was I so scared, I ask now? What did I have to be afraid of?
Today I am deciding not be embarrassed that I was so afraid. I am choosing to see it as a lesson for myself: Things only seem scary or intimidating because you haven't experienced them yet. Once you are there, doing the thing you are afraid of, it will get easier and work out just dandy.