A Little Anxiety: On Putting One’s Self Out There
Getting through my second poetry reading was easier than the first, even though I was still nervous.
Last night I told someone that if you are going to write poetry, you should share it with others. Although this is how I feel, it is easier said than done.
Last night, arriving at the library where I would read my poems along with three others, I was nervous. All day, I was hoping to get to the end, asking myself over and over why I had agreed to participate. I was anxious.
I know anxiety for I’ve had it since I was young. As a perfectionist personality, I worried about everything. Grades, how I dressed, if I was too thin, if I had enough friends, what I said or didn’t say — you name it, I worried about it.
Although I’ve learned to live with my anxiety and realize that some things especially those out of my control are not worth the emotion, it still creeps up on me in situations like last night.
After the reading was over, I told my friend and the librarian I had been nervous, they reassured me that it hadn’t been evident. You see, I’ve become a consummate concealer of anxiety. And if I were to be honest, I have less anxiety than I used to experience. Maturity helps. And learning not to give a _ _ _ _ helps too.
But part of dealing with anxiety, at least for me, is facing it head-on. A small amount of anxiety is beneficial. It makes me want to perform well. It insists I prepare for whatever is making me anxious — a presentation, a poetry reading (both of which I had yesterday), a test (school or health), a discussion, etc. So, a little anxiety is helpful — at least for me.
Poetry, I’ve found, is an odd companion — just like anxiety.
It’s not everyone’s cup of joy to read it let alone write it. I’ve been writing it for a dozen years now. At first, I could hide what I was doing, not that I needed to but I was very unsure of the craft itself. Yet, I was teaching third-grade students about creative writing. We had to have a poetry unit, didn’t we? Yes, we did. And I found I enjoyed both aspects of the craft — creating and…