A World of its Own
Updated: May 25, 2021
I am most happy at home or in my studio and consider myself quite the hermit. Busily tending to my craft with music in my ears, coffee in hand, and an arm raised high, mouthing "introverts unite". That is until it’s time to preform my author visit A Day to be Brave. When it's showtime I light up and burst with enthusiasm and joy. I give my all at high energypace pace for 6 hours. In the beginning I wasn’t prepared for this and I would absolutely crash when I arrived back home. I later researched and found that public speakers have to train for their events just like an athlete trains for a game or a run. Painting and writing are my life and I never thought I would also become a public speaker. I remember my first speaking event and my husband, Mr. Z and I laugh at it now. I prepared a forty-five minute speech/presentation. I was so nervous I swore everyone could hear my heart thumping. I stepped on stage and raced through my prepared words in a dizzying blur. I made it though and looked out at the clock and only fifteen minutes had passed. Talk about stage fright and panic. I had to improvise and brought people on the stage with me to look at the props and talk more about worry.
It has been almost five years since then and I have perfected my speaking skills. I actually now have to be mindful not go over the clock. There is so much worry and anxiety these days that it creates some in-depth discussions.
I feel absolutely honored to have the platform to inspire others to believe that all things are possible. I have had so many adults come up to me after an event and tell me that it felt as though my message was for them and that they were going to go after that dream they tucked away.
When I wrote and painted The Bravest Worrier I thought that I would release the book and that was that. I did not take into account the amount of work that goes into touring. When I created my author event for The Bravest Worrier called 'A Day to be Brave', I thought about Broadway, movies, and yes Shakespeare. How could I visit schools and make it a magical and impactful performance? How could I transport them from the media center or gymnasium into the Unworthy Forest or into Worry’s secret lab for forty-five minutes?
I had my words and paintings, but I needed more…I needed props!
I had plenty to work with. Worry is a big foot and lives in the forest and magical things happen inside of forests.
The objective was to created props that children and adults would love and remember the next time they worry. Transporting the children’s senses was key to immersing them in the story.
What would a Worry eat? Well I will tell you he is on a very strict diet of what is inside those tiny eggs...our hopes and dreams and they are waiting to be born. We have to protect them from Worry because he will gobble them up! He will be the first to tell us why we won't succeed, why we are not good enough and we don't want to listen to Worry the dream gobbler. Worry can weight up to 1 ton! That's 2000 lbs and fifty of those pounds are his belly button fuzz! The children always love this one and when I perform in person they get to touch and explore these props. They always touch the gross and stinky things with delight and laughter. It shows them in a real world environment how they can take their power back from Worry and that is my goal. They feel as though their worries will never go away and they have no control. Which is not absolutely not true.
What has always caused a spark of comradery is the sharing of worries amongst the audience of students. I ask what worry feel like in their bodies, mentally and physically? The hands shoot up. They have shared some very deep and real feelings of being swallowed up by the darkness, or feeling sick to their stomaches. Some have spoke of confusion, feeling trapped, headaches, and rapid heart beats. Being so young and already experiencing the powerful emotions of anxiety leads to the importance of having these discussions early. It will help to normalize something we all struggle with from time to time and students will feel comfortable seeking out help when the worries and anxiety ridden moments are happening more frequently. Worry is in a world of it own and it can cause a sense of aloneness and despair.
I feel have a responsibility with my writing, painting, and speaking to be more than just entertainment. My gift has always been to help the reader not only see the light but feel the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel. We are all in this together and there is comfort in knowing we are not alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts I implore you to reach out to someone you trust and open up. Worry is too heavy of a burden you need not to carry.