I am applying for an elected volunteer position with a creative arts organization for which I need to write a short biography. I have biographies for art and teaching, but I didn’t have one for volunteering so it was a bit of a challenge. I’ve been involved in a lot of really interesting volunteer positions over the years and it was really inspiring to revisit the things I have done.
One thing that really struck me was how often those positions involved promotions. I used to be a DJ on the radio and I remember what it was like to host a pledge drive and have to communicate my passion for what we were doing and the importance of funding it. It was all about making a connection with people through our shared love of great music. Because of that experience, I feel like I am pretty great at channeling that excitement for the organizations I am involved with, even now.
But I haven’t been able to tap into that enthusiasm when it comes to my creative work. I am so passionate and invested in my work, but when it comes time to convey that to others I seize up. I worry that people won’t be interested in the details, or that I will seem like I am bragging. I get so wracked with apprehension that I don’t open my mouth!
I’ve been telling myself that shyness holds me back but it’s not, the thing that holds me back is uncertainty. When I am sharing someone else’s work, I would have no problem talking at length about their skill and creativity. It’s easy to talk about how the work makes me feel. But when it comes to myself, I feel blocked.
Revisiting my volunteer history allowed me to really think about what it takes to really share my passions. While I am making my art, I need to invest myself fully. But once I’m done, it’s time to pull away so I can share it without getting blocked by self-consciousness.