The picture of the potted plant above is my nemesis. It is a symbol of fear, of being silent and unsure. I had joked a few months ago that I would be the conference attendee who would find a big plant in the lobby of the San Francisco Marriott and hide behind it, peeking in between the leaves, watching everything going on around me. I had thought I left that part of me behind many years ago, but this past week all my fears have come to the surface.
A perfect example is the fact that when I am nervous, I don’t eat. When some are stressed out, they tend to eat everything in sight. As for myself, I stop eating. I have had horrible stomach craps all week because reality has come crashing down. (As for this coming week, who knows what my appetite will be like?) I am attending the 2008 Romance Writers’ Association conference in
I have tried my best to distance myself away from that person who stands in corners and observes everything that is going on around her, but won’t make her presence known. I am still very much an observer but I made a promise to myself that I would speak up and be heard. I am my own living example of my success. Wherever I go, whether it be the gym, a store or even a gas station, I speak to anyone. I try to go out of my way to be friendly and engage as many people as I can in conversation. Yesterday as I went to the mall to break my checkbook for clothes for this coming week, I found myself in Borders. Yup, I was weak and couldn’t stay away. Some invisible force just seems to push me in there. As I was purchasing a nice frozen coffee drink, I began chatting with the café worker who waited on me. A half-hour later we were still chatting. I really didn’t have to go out of my way to talk, but I wanted to, because it is something I need to do. In the past I would have stuttered my order and kept my head down. Now I find myself looking everyone in the eye and speaking coherently.
Another big fear I am about to share, and only a few know of this, is finally meeting some authors that I have emailed back and forth with and have a wonderful relationship on-line (or so I think in my mind). I have this vision that I go up to one of them and introduce myself and they simply stare, smile, say, “Hello, nice to meet you”, and walk away. That is my biggest fear out of all about attending this conference. (worse than actually starting to pack. My luggage taunts me at this very moment)
There are bound to be many others with this fear that I speak of who are attending. I for one will try my hardest to keep these silly fears at bay. As I walk the floor, go to workshops and visit publisher signings, etc… you better believe I will be holding my head held high, look someone straight in the eye, hold out my hand and say:
“Hi, my name is Kate Garrabrant and it is a pleasure to finally meet you.”
**I am also bringing Scootaloo, the My Little Pony that Christine gave to me. She will be my mascot on this adventure. So, if you are attending RWA and see a tall redhead with a colorful plastic pony sticking out of her bag, that’s me! It could be a great conversation starter ;D**