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A Nightmare on Elm Street

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I do my best not to be scared of many things. Sure, a recurring nightmare I have is spiders…flying spiders….not just regular old flying spiders, oh no. Flying spiders that spit fire. Yes, I kinda doubt that they will ever become a reality. Unless some mad scientist genetically engineers some, I don’t know. But, I digress…

I mean, regular eight-legged hairy bastard creatures with multiple sets of eyes and pointy teeth are bad enough, but flying fire-breathing ones? Just, nope. Although I really do loathe the little buggers, I still have to play the hero and rescue my little girl from their evil stares, sat up in the corner of the room looking all spidery.

Now, fire? Yup, a recurring nightmare is being trapped in a burning building only to end up engulfed in an inferno. I blame The Towering Inferno and in particular Steve McQueen and Paul Newman for that one. Would the lack of oxygen get me first or the smoke inhalation? Hopefully, either one before the flames got to me. Gee thanks, guys.

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We all have fears, some are even totally rational like the fear of heights. I don’t fear heights. Gravity, yes. THAT’S what kills you in a fall. I admit that the aforementioned aerial arachnids are probably not quite so rational. But the take away is we all have fears. But we shouldn’t let them rule our lives and, ever since arriving on Steem over a year ago, I have tried to push through some of my personal fears and boundaries.

Some might call into question my fear of talking online, considering the many different Discord voice conversations I have taken part in. It was real. Yup, lil’ old Muxxy had a fear of speaking online. I pushed through it and enjoy interacting in the communities now. @mspwaves became a thing on PALnet and DJs were called for. Me, talk on the radio? Before Steem I would have never entertained the notion. However, I pushed through it and appeared on the Shane and Muxxy Show with @swelker101. Was I nervous the first time? God, yes. But it became easier the next time and every time after that.

Before Steemfest 2017, held in Lisbon, I had never traveled so far on my own. A friend was originally going to accompany me, but he had to duck out. I really agonized over if I should cancel the trip. I have my health issues, so could I manage the trip without anybody looking out for me? What if I got lost, or lost my ID and money? Missing my flights was a possibility, anything could have happened. However, I thought to myself ‘NO! This is a great opportunity!` So I did it and really enjoyed not only the event but also the traveling solo across four countries. A few months back I made my way to The States for a Writers’ Block meetup. Today I am in Canada and I have worked out that by the time Steemfest 2018 is over and I have returned home, I’ll have taken fifteen flights. Pre Steem, it would never have been on my radar.

So, where am I going with this, and why the title of this post? I am currently in Toronto attending the Steem Creators and SMT conference, organized by the awesome @steemcafe. The venue is the YWCA on Elm Street. An apt address to face a fear. Not only am I here promoting @thewritersblock, our direction, and forthcoming new front end, but I was honored to be able to represent @fredrikka and @howo’s project, the WordPress plugin called @steempress.io.

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Ok, so where is the nightmare? I’m getting to that. One of my biggest lifelong fears is standing up in front of other people and public speaking. I lack the confidence and am not that sociable in real life. To actually be in front of a crowd, the center of attention and give a presentation was – to me – the Sum of All Fears (thanks Mr. Freeman and the Affleck guy, one of your better ones Ben). This was to occur just after lunch, or so I learned just yesterday. EEK!

The nerves kicked in. My lunch consisted of a smoothy, I couldn’t stomach anything to eat. As I slurped and worried, I went over my notes and slideshow. Was it good enough? Would I do justice to the Steempress project? Would I completely freeze and make an ass out of myself? Would I just explode into a shower of nerves and worry?

@rhondak, me and Jaime. Thanks @shadowspub for the photo.

My time in the spotlight came all too quickly. Thankfully @rhondak joined me to lend moral support and @thehoneys Jaime kept things ticking over by asking me relevant questions about Steempress and its benefits. Time stretched but as it went on I realized that I could do this! I may have stuttered, held the mic a little too far from my mouth until Jaime pushed it closer, but I did it! I then handed off to @fredrikka who joined via video conference on the screen behind me to fill in the crowd with further technical details and some announcements.

Although sweat was dripping down my back, I felt good. I had pushed through and overcome my worst fear – yes, so much worse than fictional eight-legged freaks. The empowerment this gives is electrifying when you realize that your preconceived ideas of how much you are actually capable of are just plain wrong. I got awesome feedback from the attendees who were now excited by the idea of using Steempress. Job done.

Today I joined Rhonda and @Jasonbu to present The Writers’ Block and our witness team @noblewitness – the team is comprised of me, Rhonda, @anarcho-andrei, and @sircork. Witness votes appreciated, thanks. Yesterday’s nerves were now little flutters and, although I wasn’t giving the presentation, I felt comfortable chipping in where I could.

Jaime kindly imparted these words of advice to me on my arrival back at the venue this morning. The crowd wants you to do well. They are not out to murder you. They are there to listen to whatever it is you have to say. They are on your side, they are not the enemy. Jaime and his wife Amy of @thehoneys are professionals at this and I am grateful for how I was put at ease and for the wisdom shared.

So, to conclude, don’t doubt yourself and let fear cripple your potential. Face your fears. Be the best you that you can be. It could be worse. Flying fire-breathing spiders are not real. Not yet, anyway.

 

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