As discussed in my last post and to answer the question so many loved ones have asked, I hosted a public reading of my soon-to-be published children’s book tentatively titled ‘The Continuing Story of the Princess and the Pea’.
I’m not sure what I was expecting but what I didn’t expect was for it to be one of the most terrifying things I have ever done…and a week and a half later, I can actually write that I’m glad I did it.
I wasn’t expecting to be so nervous I couldn’t sleep the night before. Like at all. I was so hopped up on adrenaline I was awake All. Night. Long. And like any self respecting go-getter, I wasn’t going to lie in bed NOT sleeping. Instead, I organized our paperclips and the safety pins and scrubbed my kitchen floor. With a toothbrush. I also crept into each child’s dressers and organized their drawers. I got to thinking…If sleeping wasn’t necessary, moms could get a whole lot more done.
Then at 4:30 am, the walls started moving. So I tried to sleep until my alarm went off at 5. Needless to say, I was practically a disaster until I got a nice long shower to get the adrenaline pumping again.
Once it did, I baked cookies. And why make ‘just enough’ to provide polite refreshments when you can potentially feed a small nation chocolate chip cookies? By the end of the day my kitchen exploded and my poor, neglected children had subsisted on raw cookie dough and cold cereal.
Not my proudest mommy
When the reading finally rolled around, I felt like the energizer bunny. I got to the venue early and set up a few decorations. My amazing and supportive kids helped even though they were pretty hopped up on sugar and doing their best not to climb the walls.
We narrowly averted the first disaster when the milk dispenser in what I thought was a brilliant ‘Milk and Cookie Bar’ sprung a slow leak. Milk was oozing out everywhere but it could have been much, MUCH worse.
He-Man to the rescue…never have I found a man with milk dripping down his arms more attractive. He was like one of those romance novel Front Cover Fabios (not that I read those or anything) with the bulging biceps and chest hair long enough to billow (ew) out of an old-timey wimey tie-up shirt…only he was wearing a polo and slacks.
It was beautiful.
Finally, people started arriving. People I love and care about. People who’ve supported this process since I started it. People who believe in me and my goal to make the world a better place by bringing happiness to children.
I started the reading feeling like if it were possible to die of nervousness, I was going to go at any minute.
I kinda felt like I blew it though. I was robotic at times and probably spoke too fast. Half way through, being awake for 1,326 hours punched me in the face and I could barely keep my eyes open. I had practiced over and over and over again but not enough to have the blasted thing memorized since I’d edited it so many times the drafts were blurring together in my sleepy little mind.
But then it was over. Many of the people most important to me were there or had previously wished me well that day. I got to see the looks on the faces of so many children who mean the world to me. I know at least some of them liked it…and they hadn’t seen all the illustrations yet.
I was still devastated though. Now I realize it wasn’t disappointment. It was the terror of putting myself out there like never before. It was exhaustion. It was realizing every insecurity I’ve ever had came back within the span of one hour.
But it was okay. It was all okay.
That night, we got home and I immediately exchanged the pink, fluffy princess dress my mom made for me to wear at the Miss Teen of Utah Pageant when I was in tenth grade for a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt.
I washed the makeup off my face and immediately, the new moisturizer I used that morning dripped into my eyes. I must have been allergic because it instantly made my eyeballs actually swell to the point I couldn’t even open them. Weird. Freakishly weird. I suspect the reaction had something to do with the adrenaline coursing through my veins and my body revolting from lack of sleep. Whatever it was, I ended the night laid up with my eyes closed and He-Man reading to me as I fell asleep. Here comes Fabio Guy in a polo again.
I really hope you’re laughing because it’s been long enough to be funny now. I took two things away from this experience I’d like to share with others out there, trying to do good things too.
- There are people who love you and will support you. They believe in you and will help you create and share those good things with others. They will be the ones who go to the uncomfortable places to make your offering better. They will also be the first people who will celebrate your success. Keep those people in your life.
- Putting yourself out there is terrifying enough to make you want to puke your brains out. BUT that doesn’t necessarily mean doing it is a bad idea. There will be consequences and it will most likely set into motion a chain of events that can go in a million different directions based on what you decide to do. Be smart and don’t be afraid. You can do this.
Just get some sleep before you aim for world domination. Peace out.