Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jumping In with Two Feet

I tend to be one of those people that everyone watches, from the outside, diving into projects and hobbies with both feet and not looking back. What they do not see is the fact that I live inside my head and carefully weigh all options and possibilities before making that leap.

What got me started on this train of thought was a comment someone recently said about me jumping right into the SCA, showing up at my first event to enter an A&S competition, and having all my garb already finished. They seemed to think I went from 0 to 60 in just under 2 weeks, and were rather impressed by that it seemed.

In all truth and honesty I thought about my options well before entering the SCA at all. I researched the time periods, the costuming, the arts and crafts, and knew what I wanted to be before I had even sent off my cash. But I also hedged my bets to some degree.

Like with my first Arts and Science entry. I entered a carved box. While I had never made a box before, I had been carving on and off for several years now. The result was the appearance of a beginner entering and ranking very highly. But was a I really a beginner?

The same can be said for the costuming. I have been sewing my entire life from patterns. Once I knew what time frame I wanted to play in I looked for existing patterns for the styles of garb I wanted or something very close to what I wanted. Then I purchased the fabric and started sewing. I made plenty of mistakes but the people on the outside don't see those.

I also have plenty of doubts. I doubt my ability to build a lovely box. I doubt my ability to create period appropriate trim, hats, belts, or any other accessory. I doubt my ability to adapt a pattern for my size and shape. I doubt my ability to go out and interact with other people. I doubt my ability to put on armour and put on a good show if not actually win a bout or two. Again, no one on the outside sees those doubts. I apparently hide them very well.

I do persevere. I have to. I could easily become locked in my own head and let the fears and doubts keep me from ever doing anything. It has happened before and it took months to break out of my self imposed prison. And even more months not to lock myself back in at the slightest hit of failure and doubt.

Now, I take those fears and doubts and stomp on them mercilessly, after considering them very carefully and planning for as many contingencies as I can. Planning lets me have some measure of control over my fears of disaster and failure. I consider all my doubts and ask "what is the worst that could happen?" and make plans to deal with the worst things I can imagine.

Sometimes the doubts still interfere with my life but I am getting better at this game. I am figuring out that sometimes it is okay to fail at something. I can't improve unless I fail, and I can't fail unless I try. Perhaps one day I will have no doubts, but I doubt it. :)

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