I was a precocious little rascal growing up. My mom tells this story all the time to demonstrate it.
The June before starting kindergarten, there was a day for parents to bring kids who would be starting school the next year to see the classroom. There we would meet the teacher (the phenomenal & phenomenally named Ms. Pucci, pronounced “Poochy”) and see what class was like. The main thing was that we were supposed to sit back and watch.
Well apparently, sitting back to watch sounded way too boring for me.
I’d been there maybe five minutes. After surveying the room, I walked up to the chalkboard and started writing. In BIG FREAKING LETTERS (or as big as tiny me could make) I wrote EVAN. Then I turned to the class and said: “That is my name in case any of you want to talk to me!”
My mom apologized to the teacher immediately. The teacher responded with letting her know some of those kids couldn’t read yet. Oops.
This has been my way of meeting people for as long as I remember. Not writing my name in big letters everywhere, because that would be strange. I always do like meeting new people. It’s an exciting energy. A buzz like not much else.
As it’s now known, I’m on my way to an entirely new place: Thunder Bay. Which frankly sounds like the Pokemon evolution of North Bay. I’m starting a new job, in a new place, with new people.
If I said I wasn’t a little freaked out, I would be a liar. I’m lucky to have two of my closest friends already living in the frozen tundra, so I won’t be alone. Yet I am excited to meet all of these new people. New co-workers, new staff, new person making my Subway sandwiches. Everyone!
That doesn’t mean I don’t miss North Bay people. I miss them like crazy. I haven’t even moved out of the city yet and I’m already nostalgic for Burger World homefries and a milkshake from Twiggs.
I’ve heard the expression that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. That’s the mindset I’m taking with me into Thunder Bay. So now I sit in the airport waiting for my flight to a new city where I will meet so many friends I just haven’t met yet. And when I get there, I’ll be sure to write my name as big as I can. Just in case anyone wants to talk to me.
How challenging myself to create more is slowly working on my fear of failure.
Fun fact: I was the world’s worst loser growing up.
I hated losing with a passion. I’m still not a fan. Not just losing at competitions, but not being good at things at all would set me off. It’s why I didn’t learn to skate until I was in University. I once lost a skating race in the second grade and swore off it then and there. If I didn’t excel at it immediately, I didn’t want to do it.
While I’ve since learned to lose a bit more graciously through sports and video games (don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t learn anything from video games), I’ve started to accept that it isn’t a distaste for losing that really sets me off. It’s a generalized fear of failure.
I think people have lots of fears. Mine include heights (no thank you, people who jump off things for fun), drowning, and dying alone. But my biggest one is a fear of failing.
It’s not a crippling fear keeping me locked up in my room. It does prevent me from trying a lot of different things. I don’t want to just do things, I want to do things and be great at them. I’ll work at it, sure, but I want to be good off the bat.
This is one of the dominant fears for me when it comes to creating things. Making stuff is one of my favourite things. Writing these blog posts, coming up with jokes, doodling on art pages, writing articles about wrestling, playing guitar. Lots of creative avenues, which sets up lots of opportunities for failure.
I have stopped myself from sharing lots of things I’ve created. Are these things good? No. This post isn’t as good as a lot of writing. Please nobody compare it to War and Peace or anything. It is a creative outlet. If it’s relatable to some, then that’s amazing. If it’s just me shouting into a void, that works too. It’s getting the creativity flowing in my own brain.
The world needs more art and more expressions of creativity. Seeing La La Land made me inspired in the arts once more, because it is everywhere. Writers, graphic designers, painters, sculptors, Instagram photographers, other photographers, everyone. People who create, share it with the world. The odds are people will relate, understand, or appreciate. Even if they don’t, the odds are they’ll respect you for being bold.
Aside – if you are someone who believes in defunding art programs in school, I hope you enjoy a very vanilla existence and people take all the paintings down in any building you walk into. Art education is vital education.
I haven’t explored all of my avenues of sharing art. The one I’m most comfortable with is comedy because I started and it went well. I have yet to bomb entirely on stage. Pardon me for a second as I knock on every piece of wood in my house. Since I caught onto it quickly, it became something to easily share. I’m confident in it.
Learning to be uncomfortable creating things has been a challenge to me. I’m still learning, but I’m excited to be uncomfortable. Sharing creativity and ideas is one of the best things in life.
There is a deeper fear in the fear of creating, and that’s the fear that the things I make will be sent into the void. I love interviewing, creating, singing, joking, and making. What if all these things I do end up nowhere? What was the point then?
Even if they don’t have the far reach I may like, they are part of a creative process. A process that is ongoing from now until my ticker stops doing the work it’s supposed to do. There is nothing wrong with practice, and nothing wrong with working on something just because it fulfills you.
A presentation happened at work earlier this year about millennials and the fear of failure. We can be encapsulated as a generation who waits until they are 100% ready to do anything. If they need a poster boy for that statistic, I will throw my oversized hat into the ring. I want to be so sure that something is perfect before it goes out into the world.
My journalism professor was teaching us about deadlines, and told us a simple truth: Nothing you work on ever feels totally done. If it’s your best effort, and you’re happy with it, then put it out into the world. Odds are, the things you don’t like about it others won’t notice. People will just be appreciative of the work you’ve created.
We’re all learning. I love the people I get to learn with. Seeing the creativity of my friends inspires and empowers me to unleash my own creative side. So my friends who create, thank you. Those who do and don’t share, do it when you’re ready. When you’re ready, I’m sure we’ll love whatever you do.
To keep with the theme, I only spellchecked this once and published it. Livin’ on the edge!