Tuesday, February 21, 2012

new project, same awkwardness

I have started a new project and have been deep in the middle of it for about a month now. It's been really challenging for me, creative, and exciting. I'm really excited about it and I will talk all about it here soon, but right now it's still new and I'm still in the creating it phase, so it feels like a helpless newborn who is relentlessly demanding, but full of possibilities and wonder. I am trying something new. This is a new phase of life for me (trying something new professionally), and like most new phases, it has me feeling uncomfortable and stupid. Dorky is the word that keeps coming to mind.

I identify with Kacy's post The Mechanics of Becoming Lame a lot. I've been a mom for a long time and it's a really good excuse to say that's why I sometimes say too much (I'm at home with the kids all day!), talk too long (I've got to get it all out while I can!), don't know how to use technology very well (I'm out of the loop!), and inappropriately speak loudly to strangers (Will you be my friend?), but I know that even if I weren't a mom, I would still do/be those things. Motherhood just encourages me to accentuate those things. She gives me a free pass to be who I really am.

This new project also brings home the point that I mark time marching along from one awkward experience to the other. But, thanks to Topher, I have come to realize that whenever I have that nervous/excited feeling about a project, I'm always glad I said yes even if I don't know what I'm doing. Growing up, if we ever asked our dad a question and he didn't know the answer, he would go on and on as if he did. He'd make a big speech about it. My sister, Gina, is really good at this. She can speak authoritatively about something she knows nothing about. Early on in her marriage, her husband called her out on it and she confessed: "Yeah, I do that. I talk like I'm an authority on any subject. And I'm really good at it." In fact, when I started doing improv about 17 years ago one of the first games I learned was "Speeches," where you basically make up a speech about a random word. When they told me this was the game I said, "Oh, so you mean 'Sunday dinner?' "

Being a mom has made me seem like an authority on a number of subjects like sleep schedules, potty-training, and toddler negotiations among my small group of growing humans (children can smell weakness), but any self-respecting mother will confess, in secret, that they're making it up as they're going along, too. So, when I'm working on this project and I don't know how to do something or make it work, I just imagine I'm at parent-teacher conferences talking to the teacher about speech therapy while my toddler takes off his pants and runs down the hall screaming, and I just keep on talking. I just keep on talking.