Anticipatory Anxiety

On the plane heading to SJC.

I'm in a vulnerable state. It's hard for me to flush out all the emotions I am experiencing but I will try to.

I am still growing into this person I want to be that owns her faults and failures and uses them as fertilizer for creating good.

 I recognize that it's not very fashionable to say this. But good does not mean nice, or pleasant or accommodating. It is about living in the muck, acknowledging it and still being able to see the flowers for what they are. 

So here I am, on my way to a six-week residency in a town I'm unfamiliar with. I am worried. I worry that I will curl into myself and be too anxious to engage with others. I worry that I will have a panic attack far from my family and that it will derail me. I worry that I won't be sincere with participants of the performance. I worry that I will be too open and reveal things about myself that will make me even more vulnerable to strangers. I worry that I will be judged, that my efforts will be misinterpreted, that people will feel exploited. I worry that this is all a bad idea. 

I also know that this is a great idea. I remember the overwhelming feeling of lightness I felt when I was finally able to speak my truth.  It took a lot of work to be able to distinguish the separate emotions stewing within me (something I work on daily) and I don't expect that everyone is ready to do that.  But in the utterance lies the key.  That is what I want from this project.  It is the most important portion. The act of saying 'this happened to me' allows for the separation of the experience from the self. We are shaped by our experiences but we are not our experiences.

This work is about non-judgmentally acknowledging who we are, not just in our carefully mannered interactions with others, but also within ourselves. Using the metaphor of a physical scar, we can talk about when trauma came knocking and what it took with it. We can also see what was left and what was able to grow from the space that was suddenly open in our lives. 

I will be changed by this experience. It is inevitable. The question is how will I change? What will be the impact of sharing about trauma on such a large scale? How will I protect myself? Where is the line for what I can endure and how will I know when I come to it? I also have to be prepared to send people toward resources they may need. What meaningful direction should I point people to? This should be one of my first steps: finding trustworthy health organizations I can direct people towards.

 

Until then.

 

Nanci Amaka