It’s no secret that I’m an introvert by nature. I like people and once I’m comfortable with you, I’ll never shut up, but groups of people, make me seriously nervous. I get overwhelmed and then all I can think about is running away and hiding in a corner. Give me a group big enough that I can’t possibly interact with all of the individual members though, and I’m perfectly fine. I loved lecturing to large undergraduate classes, but for the first few weeks of classes, whenever I had to lead a small group seminar I wanted to hurl. Fortunately, I never did, and by all accounts I was really good at being a Teaching Assistant – at least if my feedback sheets were anything to go by.
Last year I attended my first BlissDom Canada conference. I was so nervous before going in to the hotel that I sat and cried in my car for at least 15 minutes, then spent another 5 trying to restore my makeup and make my eyes less puffy (so I wouldn’t look like I’d just spent 15 minutes crying in my car). I finally took a deep breath, and went in and had an amazing weekend. I made some amazing connections that have helped me immensely as I started my freelance writing and editing business and some great friends who have become a huge part of my life.
This year, when the call for speakers came around, I decided, with more than a little apprehension to go in with a couple of other editor friends and propose a session on editing. While we aren’t doing a panel discussion, together, we are all presenting at BlissDom Canada this year. I will be leading a Mentor Microsession in the #BlissWrites time slot on Friday about editing and how to self-edit effectively (and when you might need to hire a freelance editor like me). Even though I’m presenting about something that I’m super-qualified to talk about, I’m still quite nervous because the microsessions mean presenting to small groups (gulp). Which brings me to today’s Word Wednesday: trepidation.
Trepidation is one of my favourite words to use, because it rolls of the tongue so beautifully. While I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of feeling like a thousand butterflies have been set free in my tummy, I am used to the feeling of trepidation before any small group speaking engagement, social event, and even calling someone for the first time. Some would call me a worry-wart, I prefer to think of myself as trepidatious (yes, in part because a lot of people don’t actually know what it means so it sounds cool). I try to go through all the “what ifs” – What if my laptop doesn’t work? Can I do everything without a cheat sheet in front of me? (No – I am printing a copy and putting one on my BlackBerry too for good measure.) What if nobody comes? (I sit in the corner and weep openly? This one has actually kept me up at night. I’m up against some pretty awesome other sessions.) What if I screw something up? Everyone there will be very socially connected, it could be a disaster. (I’m pretty sure nobody would do that, I mean, we’re all very socially connected and everything but it’s not like we need to post EVERYTHING right? RIGHT?)
Anyway, trepidation is another Latin word (I know, I’m in a rut) coming to English straight from the Latin instead of via another language. The Latin root of the word is trepido, and the present active infinitive form is trepidare which means to tremble or be afraid of. The meaning hasn’t changed much over the years, in fact, the archaic definition of trepidation is “a trembling or quaking motion”. I may be experiencing some trembling out of pure nervousness right now.
It’s almost time to leave, I have a few errands to run in town and then I’m heading down to the airport to pick up my friend Brandee (who I’ve never actually met before but who I feel like I’ve known FOREVER) and we’re going to go to the Vaughn Mills Concierge experience before heading up to Blue Mountain. I’m hoping the fall colours up there are as awesome as they were last weekend at the cottage.
Trepidation (trep·i·da·tion) noun
A feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen.