And as it's that much closer to the big 3-0 it has made me reflective on how I have changed as a person, which has made me think about what I like to write about: the trials and tribulations and pretty horribleness of being a teenager.
Teenage years are hard, you guys. I'm sure this isn't news to you; some of you are probably nodding along with me, going 'oh yeah, girl speaks truth, ya'll' (I don't know why I imagine you're a southern belle, but I do, so just go with) to your memories as well, and others of you are living those tough teenage years right now.
Well I want to tell you, it gets better. You grow up, not just in age but in your self-belief and confidence, as well. You start to become you.
I used to have a bit of social phobia and be so scared of public speaking. Wow, was that terrifying, and it made me not do things. Not go to parties, not introduce myself to people and definitely not stand up in front of a crowd and have my opinions heard, let alone present a speech! But over time, I guess I've slowly built up my confidence. Introduced myself to one person, and then a group. I've taken charge of situations and shared my experiences to help others.
Heck, I moved to England for a semester at University and if I was going to have any friends for those six months I had no choice but to take the bull by the horns and introduce myself (whattup Leeds Swing Soc!) as best I could.
Okay, my fears haven't gone away ENTIRELY, I can still draw blanks and be all paranoid when introducing myself to strangers, and talking on a STAGE in front of a CROWD is still pretty scary, but I know I CAN do these things now. I say yes to the opportunity even THOUGH I'm scared. When I was younger, I thought these fears that stopped me doing things were just a part of me. They would be with me forever.
But I want to tell you it's not the case, and it probably won't be for you either. You'll change. Grow. You'll become you, because you might not be YOU yet, not completely, and that's okay. I'm not completely ME, but I feel like I'm getting there. I know who I am.
It didn't happen suddenly, there wasn't this one moment and I didn't just snap out of my fears and am this big extrovert who does cartwheels and stand up comedy in front of auditoriums, but it's happening slowly, and only in reflection do I realise that things that used to scare me just don't anymore.
I'm running the first of three intensive workshops today on self publishing. People are paying for my expertise. I'm an EXPERT. For someone who compares herself to others and often feels like she falls short, this is a pretty big deal.
But you know what? I AM an expert. I know this stuff and I have valuable experiences of failures and successes to share.
And I don't feel as nervous as I thought I would at teaching a four hour class.
I don't actually feel that nervous at all.
I was surprised at that, which is what got me thinking on all this in the first place.
I'm proud of who I'm becoming as a person, and I hope you take the time to think about it and are proud of you, too.