Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Give me embarrassment any time!
Recently someone told me I was brave.
That took me completely by surprise. I've long resigned to the fact that I'm chicken about many things. When I read of courageous acts in books, I'm always filled with admiration and longing. I tell myself I need to overcome at least some of my fears, and have, in fact, taken a few baby-steps toward this goal.
But I know I am far from being brave. Which is why that statement gave me pause. After mulling over it, I realized that the reason I did that supposedly-brave thing is that I prefer embarrassment over regret.
I've sabotaged my own successes many times out of fear. Those events have gnawed at me over the years, giving me pangs of regret. I know how to deal with them more effectively now, but the intensity of these pangs haven't subsided.
In contrast to that, there have been times when I've subdued my fear enough to do something brave. Some of those times have resulted in embarrassing moments, a couple of them spectacularly so, like when I had a full-on brain freeze on my very first piano competition and couldn't continue beyond the first page of my Chopin Ballade and so I just stood up to bow--bow!!!--as the audience clapped politely to signal their relief I was about to leave the stage.
But the effects of the embarrassment, unlike those of regret, die off. Apparently, Time does heal, the pain of embarrassment at least.
This is a timely reminder, as I am sending off another round of submissions. I've received a few encouraging responses, but the rejections are coming in as well. But I know now that I can live better with having tried without succeeding, than not trying at all.
I wish you courage.