Once again Anxiety rears its' Ugly HeadThis past year, I've been on a mission to not let my fears hold me back, kind of jumping without looking if you will, or acting before I have a chance to over analyze everything I'm about to do.
A few months back, I received a random email in my inbox inviting people to volunteer at JunoFest. There were so many different positions offered, I thought for sure I would find something that would work for me. I knew that I had the support of Emily's grandparents and aunties to help out when or if the time came, so I didn't have to worry about that. I dove in, and signed up.
A Few Reasons I Wanted to Try Volunteering....
- I thought it would be a GREAT way to test the waters, see how I would do in a crowded situation.
- I think Canadian music is under appreciated by a lot of people.
- I wanted the chance to be a part of something as huge as the Junos.
- Music is an important part of my life, and I have a very deep connection with almost everything I hear. If I can't connect with it, I can't listen to it. This was a chance to be a part of the music world in a new way.
- Volunteering is something I hold close to my heart too. I believe that it's one of the most valuable things that a person can do in their lives. There are so many essential services that are rely on volunteer workers.
When I received the second email that said I could apply to be a seatfiller for the live broadcast event, I was even more excited! To be in the same room with group of people that I respect, would have been a really interesting experience. Plus, the only actual qualifications it seemed were to act appropriately, dress appropriately, and be able to move quickly. Hey, I could do that, right?
So, I signed up for that one too, got approved for both, and waited to hear back for more details. Closer to the time, about a week before, I got scheduled to work the merchandise shift at one of the venues for JunoFest. I figured I have a lot of experience working behind a counter with customer type stuff, so it is something I'm at least semi-familiar with. I was also told to wait until a day or two before the live event for complete details on the seatfiller shift.
I put it out of my mind, so I didn't have the opportunity to get nervous about everything. Fast forward to Friday, the first merchandise shift....I couldn't even do it! It wasn't like it was before, when I would get physically sick before, during and after my work shifts (when I had a job). I didn't get sick, but I started having mild panic attacks.
I started to sweat a lot, I felt my heart rate increase, my chest started to hurt, and the tunnel vision set it. That's how I knew it just wasn't the right time to do this. I know people would say push through it, but for me it's about listening to my body's reaction and responding accordingly. I have to make sure that my panic attacks don't turn into something more severe like they have in the past.
I went ahead and wrote my disappointing email to the volunteer coordinator, apologizing as sincerely as I can over the internet, since I just couldn't bring myself to call and explain. After all, how can you explain anxiety to someone who is probably incredibly stressed out about what's going on in their own life at that moment, with something as huge as JunoFest? Needless to say, I never did get a message back...and while I can completely understand that, I can't say it still doesn't hurt a little.
The night of the Junos, I tuned in to see Serena Ryder and Classified open the show, only to realize how depressed I felt not to be there. I had to turn it off to stop from crying, but I had to remind myself that maybe this one just wasn't meant to be and that this wasn't a waste.
So What Did I Take Away From This?A lot actually.
I learned that I am almost there. Just a few more baby steps with smaller things to build just a little bit more confidence, and I would have been ready. Even though that may not seem as big as getting to be in the same room with a bunch of inspiring musicians, I still think it's a totally invaluable.
I learned that I can't let having to back out of opportunities keep me from putting myself out there to at least try new things. I have to keep trying. One thing at a time.
Unfortunately, the Junos didn't happen for me....but something else did. I attempted something that I haven't attempted in about 4 years. That just has to be a win.
What about you? Do you deal with anxiety? Have you ever had to back out of something you really wanted to be a part of? What do you do to help you through?