I am a relatively shy kind of human being. I have a close network of friends, a dream night in involves me, Mr Crafty and a good film on the tv while the kittens snooze peacefully upstairs. On a rare night out with friends, I will often switch to soft drinks while no-one is looking so as to avoid the three-day hangover I can’t cope with since turning thirty-something! (Even the mere thought of that spinny room feeling, a mouth like a dogs bum and a head that feels like it’s been repeatedly jumped on by a kangaroo is making me crave a coffee right now!!) I will even volunteer to act as designated driver to places and events – that way I can choose when to go home. I am what the Oxford dictionary describes as an ‘Introvert’.
This is me!
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not boring – according to people who meet me I am very easy going, I’ve been told I’m funny (in the head say’s Mr C!) and I like to think I’m quite brave – I have eaten raw octopus (gross), abseiled down a waterfall (amazing) and have pretty much conquered my fear of the ocean (so long as I can still touch the floor that is). As a quick side note about the ocean thing, I was on a girlie holiday with a bestie over in Benidorm when in her infinite wisdom she decided I needed to experience the giant banana dingy thing. You know the one; it’s attached to a speedboat and jumps as high as a killer whale pouncing on an unsuspecting seal. Anyway, my fear of being in the sea was so great she had to literally hold my hand as I inched closer to what I could only see as certain death! As we got within spitting distance of the boat, I felt something. Under my foot. A bloody fish! Of all the people in the world, this fish had decided to try and end it all under MY foot!! I screamed so hard that the lifeguard started to move people in an orderly fashion off the beach, thinking I’d lost a leg in a horrific shark attack. It was to my shame that I had to shout over that I’d only trod on a fish and all limbs were not only intact, but blazing red – not sunburn, but sheer embarrassment! The fish in question just gave me a filthy look before swimming away absolutely fine. I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered from that, but I digress.
I think I have alluded to my other job on a previous blog – I actually work as a professional vocalist, which in theory should make me more outgoing and less self-conscious but I liken my alter-ego to putting on a beautiful and warm coat. Perfect for those cold snaps and storms but as soon as you get near the fire, you want to take it off. I can be whatever I choose on stage because I have the warmth and protection of my character, but when I get home I’m just me – and that’s cool. Like Beyonce has Sasha Fierce and Paul O Grady has Lily Savage!
So I recently joined a fabulous and welcoming networking group which has done wonders for my confidence – I talk all about the Crafty Cottage and what we all do here and they do the same about their respective businesses, we drink coffee, have lunch, and then one of these lovely business people will get up and talk for 15 minutes about themselves – not a business pitch, but an insight into their worlds. (I love these because I happen to be a nosy/curious type of girl). I have always sat back and watched these lovely business people and thought “I’m so glad it’s not me doing that 15-minute talk”, until – you guessed it – I was asked to share all about my career in singing. At which point I thought “Oh Cr*p!”
I spent a good couple of weeks writing and re-writing, starting from my mini-concerts that were held in my bedroom for my brother and parents on a ticket sale basis, to singing on ships, to theatre performances, to struggles with anxiety and eventually conquering my own negative mind and being happy with what I have to offer. I really dug deep and I finally had a talk I was ready to deliver.
I started talking, I could hear the tremor in my voice and I panicked. I can’t do this! It’s not like singing, I am literally laying myself bare to these strangers! I took a breath and started speaking again, this time with more conviction and a smile. They were laughing, not because I was bad, but because what I’d written was funny. There were tears, not from me crying in failure but from those tough business people in the room, they felt empathy towards me, and finally, the whole room got to its feet – not because they were all leaving or getting up to use the facilities but because they wanted to show how appreciated my openness was. Then I cried! But I was in a room of friends, not strangers by then and I realised that even though my presentation may not have been perfect, my willingness to share my story is one of the things that makes me brave.
I may not scale mountains or jump into volcanos, but every day that I can laugh in the face of fear, every time I can kick my anxiety in the nuts and take the next scary step I know that I am not only setting my best example to everyone else, but I can pat myself on the back, put on my Wonderwoman pants and cape and hold my head up high!
I have just completed a course called ‘Confidence To Camera’ where I have shot a 30-second clip of myself talking about Made With Love By The Crafty Cat and what we do here at the Crafty cottage. It was really fun, it was very sweaty but I hope to share it with you all soon. Just one step closer to Extrovert status!
Who knows, maybe one day I will share my singing story with you guys too.
Keep crafty folks!
Love Cat xx
Public speaking image courtesy of https://www.kameronhurley.com