Terrified (Out of Habit)

My first speech at Toastmasters (I know, took me long enough!) is scheduled for Monday morning, bright and early. I’m serious when I say bright and early. The meeting itself starts at 6:45 am, which forces me to make good on my 5:15 am wake-up blabber. Nice to have the universe looking out for me. (I’m not sure that’s sarcasm. I rather like Toastmasters!)

I’ve noticed that I have a strange propensity to spout off about my personal terror without actually feeling a whole lot of personal terror. There is some mild anxiety—will I disappoint myself? Will I amaze myself?—but I’m not nearly as worried or afraid as you might expect when I say things like this: “Oh my god, I haven’t touched my speech yet. I’m teeerrrified.” If the words don’t convey it, my tone of voice will. And then people start to comfort and reassure me, and a voice in my head goes, “What? You’re not that scared. In fact, I think you’re making yourself that scared by telling yourself you’re that scared. Stop that!!”

The funny thing is, that voice is completely right. I’m really not that scared. Part of me can’t even grasp being that scared about something so little and silly (and exciting and interesting and growth-inducing—and FUN!). And I think I may understand what’s going on. I’m terrified… out of habit.

I have a funny propensity to minimize myself. To ensmallenate myself. I have this funny idea (way back in the brainwashed, badly malprogrammed part of my brain) that it’s safer, better, and more loveable to be small, weak, and afraid.

Yeah, I know.

So apparently that part of my brain—the unembigginated part—aligns very happily with the idea of being terrified, just shakin’ in my boots, at the thought of speaking in front of people.

Okay, ensmallebrain. Let’s sit down for a minute and talk.

I am super grateful for your kind intentions. I know you are just doing what you think is best. I know you’re only trying to help me! I know that you’ve noticed how easy it is to get people to behave in loving, comforting, downright parental ways if I’m small, weak, and afraid. I can totally appreciate that and I even understand it. But you need to know—just for the purposes of being informed—that I don’t need to be ensmallenated in order to have people love me. I know, I know, I totally know: I used to be under that impression, and I gave you that crazy idea in the first place so of course it’s NO WONDER! that you have made the decisions you have over the last twenty-seven and a half years. But I have more clarity now, and I know a lot better what makes people love me. And it would make me really happy—insanely, marvelously happy—if from now on you could base your decisions on this new information. That people love me just because I’m me, and I’m strong, and brilliant, and unique, and clever. I would like that super much.

No, no—DUDE! We are totally cool. It’s just that one thing.

Yes. Thank you for being SO understanding!

(See? No freakin’ problem!)

The Usual Error (Blog!)

I read something recently about it being relatively pointless to fill a statement with extra question marks or exclamation points. It said you only need one instance of any given punctuation mark, and more is not better. I think in the case of the Usual Error, I tend to push this boundary the hardest. ;}

I don’t know why I didn’t see this when they posted it, but for some strange reason I didn’t. And something like two weeks later I say to myself, I wonder if they’ve posted anything? And so I mosey on over to the new Usual Error Blog, and I see this:

Welcome to the Usual Error blog! We wanted to dedicate our first post to Megan, our biggest fan, and the one who inspired us to create this blog in the first place. How did she do such a crazy thing? By blogging like mad about her experiences at Usual Error workshops!


And then… they listed all my Usual Error posts. Dude!!

One exclamation point just isn’t enough.

You guys make me all gushy.

A Little Perspective

Stage Direction

DRUMMOND. (Honestly.) I’m sorry if I offend you. But I don’t swear just for the hell of it. You see, I figure that language is a poor enough means of communication as it is. So we ought to use all the words we’ve got. Besides, there are damned few words that everybody understands.

~ Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

Usual Error Intensive: Week Five

It’s time for the Usual Error Intensive, week five! Are you excited?? Omg are you excited?? I’m excited! It is time for my Usual Error liveblogging extravaganza! Keep reloading, friends and neighbors! Can I get a few more exclamation points, please?!

If you’d like to see my previous posts on Positivity, I’ll list them here:

Our One Bullet Point For the Evening! (9:25 PM)

Usual Error Intensive: Week Four

Yes… the rumors are true. Marty and I missed week four of the Usual Error Intensive.

On Friday we had just about destroyed ourselves with working and running errands, and by six o’ clock I felt like pancake road kill. But fear not, gentle readers—though I do not have delicious liveblogging goodness for you, I will link you to the material they covered as discussed previously. Hopefully this will hold you over (and keep me from the rout) until next session: The Usual Error: Conflict Resolution!

This particular session has some really interesting offshoot material that I am thinking of covering over at Virtual Magpie in one form or another—conflict resolution perhaps being more obviously connected to business than the other topics covered by the Usual Error (maaaybe). I am hoping to get more word on Friday’s session soon, and if I get anything particularly juicy or interesting, I will post it here. Now, if only I can manage to survive another two weeks until Number Five…

Usual Error Intensive: Week Three

Whew: 9:06 PM! I got my computer out late this week because it’s been a busy evening—my vegetables from Greenling got delivered late so I ended up ducking out for the middle of check-in and dashing back to the apartment to get everything into the fridge before it went bad! But everything’s all right now, and we’re about to get started with Boundaries!

If you’re not already familiar with this material, I posted it in three parts the last time it was covered: Part One, Part Two, Part Three. Take a look, or read concurrently as I liveblog tonight. Marty and I will probably stay till ten-thirty, especially since I had to leave earlier!

Here we go! Read the rest of this entry »

Usual Error Intensive: Week Two

It’s time for the second evening of Usual Error Intensive! My hands are aching a bit this week, so I can’t promise my liveblogging will be as intense as last time, but I’ll do my best to catch pertinent bits. ;}

In fact, those of you already familiar with this material will be able to follow this most effectively. Tonight we’re covering Turning Conflict into Communication (Part One, Part Two), so if you take a look at my post from last time this material was covered, you may be able to follow along more easily.

Check-in was really enjoyable. Many of us got out things we needed to get out, and others of us did it in an incredibly entertaining way. It was really healthy and wonderful!

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Usual Error Intensive: Onward!

We met at the Smith residence and made ourselves comfy, waited a few minutes for stragglers, and at 7:07pm (on the dot) we began the first session of the Usual Error Intensive workshop. I believe that all participants were previously familiar with the Usual Error material, as well as being an awesome group of fabulous people.

You will notice, as I go through here and re-situate my notes for easier reading, that we didn’t get through all the material for the night. There was so much discussion and excellent idea-sharing that we were sidetracked often in a pretty delightful way! But I will provide the information I have as I have it, and show you what we got through.

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