Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What am I making harder than it needs to be?
I have talked before about an odd quirk of mine: I have historically had a real phobia about approaching strangers–especially those who I admire, who are of higher perceived status than me–without a pretext or an excuse. What I do instead? I do my thing, and hope they notice. I think this is particularly true on social media. Why is it so hard? Because I have a number of experiences where that kind of contact has not gone well. Here’s an example: Early in my SCA career, an embroidered piece I did came to the attention of a Laurel, who said something in an A&S competition note that that was the kind of potential she looked for in apprentices. So I screwed up my courage and approached her a few months later about taking her up on that offer–and she kind of blew me off, or at least I thought she did. (She probably actually didn’t, but anything short of making plans for a belting ceremony immediately would have disappointed me.) As it turned out, I doubt she would have been a good mentor for me, but that was still in my early SCA years, where I desperately wanted to belong and/or affiliate with Someone Important. So that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. I talk myself out of–believe it or not–even thinking about or researching things where there is even the tiniest chance I’d feel rejected, or that the depth of my geekery would bowl over someone. And yes, I know, I have a PhD. In my specific field–and in any field of knowledge or skill where I feel comfortable, I often don’t have this issue. It’s my discomfort at possibly being dismissed as not smart enough, or not talented enough, or maybe just plain weird (and not in the good kind of weird way). Hell, sometimes even in my field I worry–I fretted for about a month before applying to be a panel member in the AskHistorians subreddit, because I kept reading spectacular answers by the existing panelists and I didn’t think I was anywhere in that league.
There’s an odd parallel for me with my early crushes. My pattern was like this: 1) Don’t tell anyone! 2) Try to do cool things I hope they’d notice without blowing my cover, 3) Do a lot of pining away, hoping they’d notice me someday. I did manage to tweak this a little bit the older I got, but I still put a lot of stock in holding my cards close to the vest, finding excuses to be in the same places the targets of my affection were, and working on building friendships that might help relieve my shyness rather than making any direct declarations of attraction, as well as avoiding anything resembling flirting, because I find the whole concept of flirting impenetrable and baffling.
But I also know the absolute surge of energy I get when I overcome these predilections and Do The Thing. The absolute worst that could happen is that I’m ignored–and by now I’m figuring out that that’s on them, not me.
There was a lot of snow overnight. Luckily, no plans for grocery shopping today, so other than digging out enough to go up to the mailbox (and I’m not completely sure the mail even came) it was mostly a lot of marveling at just how high the snow piled up on our tiny lawn. After work, I finished up the last touch-ups on the scroll I was working on and added most of the calligraphy; it’ll be put aside now for when it’s needed. I’ve covered up the identifying elements in the photo above. I’m particularly happy with the Holbein gold gouache. Looks like I now have a new favourite gold.