Video Recorded by: Adam Abramowitz (November 5th 2:30am)
Written by: Adam Abramowitz (October 31st 6:15pm)
-Fear, Anxiety, and Self-Doubt-
The tension building up to this moment has lasted for almost a week now.
I’m sitting at my laptop, bundled up in a windbreaker jacket, hands still cold from the cigarette I snuck outside; a last puff as the sun began its final descent on the eve of Halloween.
A little over a week ago, I made a decision to film myself talking about fear, anxiety, and self-doubt. I want to address my own fear of my face, speaking publicly. I want to approach the fear, share it, and move past it…
In this moment, the weight of my decision has built up into a climax. Nervous butterflies are swimming around in my gut, preparing for a final destination that hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t recorded the video and I don’t even know for sure what I am going to say…
By the time you read this, the video will be up and posted. Viewable by anyone and everyone who is connected to the world wide webs of internet.
Why am I doing this?
Why am I feeding into the anxiety of a moment that hasn’t even happened?
I believe my emotions are responding to the reality I have set within my mind. I know I will record the video, and I know I’m going to publish it. I’ve made the decision. Just like many other decisions I have made in my life that have brought me to this moment, I want to capture transparent honesty. I want to share myself for who I am. I want to share the part of me that is rare for others to see, a part of me that lives within the recesses of my own mind.
The data of my past experiences has shown that the emotions of anxiety and fear that creep up before I try to do something new have been inflection points. The inflection points are noticeable by the emotions that get triggered by my brain, precipitating a step into unknown territory. I have now begun to understand these emotional states as precipitated growth.
There have been moments in my life where I have felt the butterflies.
The first time I stepped on a football field and attempted to tackle another person, I was scared. I had never hit anyone before. The anxiety and fear I experienced leading up to that first contact was way more uncomfortable than any helmet to the gut has ever been.
I remember the first time I asked a girl out on a date. The school “Sock Hop” was approaching and I had my eye on a cutie in class. For almost a week, I contemplated how I would ask her out, and as the “Sock Hop” drew near, I still hadn’t built up the courage to do it.
The day before the dance, I found myself in the back of a line, waiting my turn at the water fountain when I noticed that she was a few paces ahead of me. As I recall, I must have played out in my head a smooth, clever way for me to get her attention, but as she began to turn towards me, my body moved swiftly before I could recognize what was actually happening…
“Would ya wanna go to tha Sock Hop with me?”
I must have rushed the sentence; I clearly remember milliseconds feeling like hours as her face contorted into a confused stare…
She continued to walk past me into our classroom, and I experienced a weight of release as life began to direct itself again at regular speed. I started to move my feet, following her path…
One of my classmates stood, arms crossed, leaning against the doorway. He had seen the whole exchange.
“You Slyyyyyy Dog!!!!” The boy beamed a wry smile.
In that moment, I felt proud. A little embarrassed, sure, but I don’t recall feeling ashamed. Even though I didn’t hear the answer I was looking for, 9 year old me could recognize the weight of the unknown fade as the moment of inflection passed.
I experienced another of these moments the first time I performed music in front of a crowd of people. I had built the anticipation up for months, challenging myself to practice. My band knew our set, we knew our sound, but I didn’t know how I would feel while performing on stage. I didn’t know if I would be able to move and play at the same time, I didn’t know if I would hit the notes that were required, and, most importantly, I didn’t know if I would look cool; I didn’t know how I would be perceived…
It’s funny, as I began to get nervous before stepping up on stage, I realized, I will never know how I am truly perceived by anyone, and I gradually lost myself to the music.
The nervousness stayed and the butterflies jumped sporadically in between each song. I wasn’t anxious while performing, but I was uncomfortable when our music stopped. It was the moments of silence between each song that caused me discomfort. Knowing that people were watching me stand up on a stage like a giant jabroni.
The experience performing on stage taught me something extremely valuable. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, it only matters WHY I’m doing it. In the case of my own musical performances, it’s as simple as fun. Because I know why I am doing it, it doesn’t matter what anyone will perceive my action as. Although it took me a few months of performing to get used to playing live, the moments of anxiety and fear built up a momentum for the true reason behind my actions.
I told myself each time I approached a performance,
“I am doing this because I love to do it”.
It repeated like a mantra in my head for months as I became comfortable performing, and now, I only feel a tinge of excitement as a performance approaches. I am no longer anxious before a show.
And now, now I am left here feeling a little less anxious than I was before I started, because I have a reason. The memories I have just shared have helped define me into the man I am today, and although there are many more I could have shared, it is irrelevant to the story I am telling myself as I write out these words.
The thing is, I have learned from my past experiences and have found meaning behind the moments of anxiety and fear that felt like an all-consuming force on my spirit. Those moments challenged me to go after what I wanted. The emotions challenged me as I stepped into unknown territory, guided only by a mental projection of an “idea”. An “idea” that I would like to experience.
I wanted to be an athlete. I wanted to use my natural gifts as a tool to get myself somewhere. I wanted to earn a scholarship.
I wanted to date. I wanted to hold hands, kiss, and cuddle. I wanted companionship in the form of a romance.
I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be the art I loved to see, hear, and feel. I wanted an opportunity to share my own feel for music.
And now, I want to express my voice, my ideas, my thoughts, and my vision into the world.
I no longer feel anxious, because as I write, I realize that I have an ending in mind. I know where the piece is going, and I know the message I am trying to share…
What I don’t know, is what sharing my voice, my appearance, and my thoughts publicly on the internet will teach me. I don’t know what new realizations I will come to, or what skills I will learn. I am not approaching the camera because I want to be a motivational speaker. All I want to do is say the things I wish I could hear, write the things I wish I could read, and move towards the man I wish I could be. A man that stares fear in the face, and lets it be seen. I don’t want to motivate anyone into living the life I am living, I just want to attract the conversations, ideas, and transparency that I hope to provide. I want to live art.
It seems that expressing myself in the realm of social media is a major inflection point for me. It is a challenge that I intend to face.
The fight that confronts each one of us is an individual challenge. A challenge that presents itself in the form of mental, physical, or emotional strain. Moments that challenge us to be stronger than we thought we could. Moments that amplify the courage we all have, moments leaving us in situations where we have an opportunity to discover “who we are” and what we are made of. Moments that will influence the fate of our journey, onward into the future…
Right now, for me, this is one of those moments…
I’m terrified of sharing myself. More than that, I’m afraid to see myself speak. Afraid to see my own face. I can’t even snap chat without feeling extremely self-conscious…hell… I’ve never shared a serious selfie before…
Every time I share something personal on this website, each time I publish something I’ve written, waves of anxiety plague my spirit as I recognize the fact that a part of me is now seen publicly.
The fear of judgement and the inner anxiety that consumes my emotion on days when I share something real has proven to be a force that I now recognize as precipitated growth.
Precipitated growth in the form of a gut check. If I’m nervous, or anxious, fearful or uncomfortable, I move forward with my action to express because I have found, time and time again, the rewards always come.
I now understand these uncomfortable emotions as a measurement to test how willing I am to move towards my own evolution.
I understand the actions I take as a ripple effect in the universal laws of attraction that encompass us all. The more honest and transparent I get, the more I discover what I love, and what I want to do.
As I frequent my behaviors I have found rewards within myself, and all around me. New challenges to confront, new goals to reach…
Right now, this is my journey.
Questions bring knowledge, discomfort breeds growth.
I believe that if we can create an atmosphere of non-judgement, a place where anyone and everyone can feel safe to share their own fears, anxietys, dreams, ambitions, and goals, then maybe…maybe we can all find what we are looking for.
We are currently developing a place for such interactions, and I would love to have anyone and everyone join the conversation…