This last week I had the opportunity to appear on live TV for a local station. I shared two of my salad recipes from my cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons. It scared me silly.
I am perfectly fine staying behind this computer screen, writing to you all from the comfort of words spoken off-screen. I like that I can edit what I write, and not be stuck with whatever happens to cross my lips in a five minute segment. More then that, I am comfortable here. I find it even therapeutic to write, whether it is on food, or something else dear to my heart.
Appearing on live television was completely, utterly out of my comfort zone. When I got an email inviting me on the show, I think the first word that crossed my lips were a long “noooooooooooooooo”. For those of you chomping on the bit to get on TV, let me explain why this was so hard for me.
I grew up the shiest little kid. In fact, my dad claims he wasn’t even sure I knew how to talk until I was three years old (my own beloved Dad!), because I was so shy I’d only talk to my mom. I was always easily embarrassed, easily flustered, and often took refuge in silence. I liked to watch other people talking and interacting.
I remember one time showing up for a youth party at our youth leaders house in junior high. None of my friends ended up coming, and only the super “popular” crowd was there. While I could always talk up a storm with my close friends, I didn’t like trying to push myself into someone else’s group of friends. They were nice enough, but definitely not any sort of friends of mine. I spent the night trying to escape notice while happily watching the interactions between the other teens, and the host couple (a newly married couple who were both quite young).
On my way to the bathroom, I glanced around their tiny little house, full of old wood floors kept shiny and clean, blushed at the words on the door hanger on their bedroom door which convened the desire to be left alone (did I mention they were newlyweds?), and admired the newness of their furniture. I helped in their old-fashioned kitchen, making cookies, and ate one while I wondered what it must be like to be married, to own a little house, and to be happy like they were. Would I marry young too? What would it be like to be kissed and held close like this young bride was? These were the type of thoughts that filled my mind the midst of a busy party of teens.
I was later happily munching on a carrot, when the youth leader found me out where I quietly was observing the often-silly antics of the others. “Hey!” He bellowed in friendly greeting, “What’s your name.” I practically choked on my carrot, the little harsh carrot shreds stuck in my mouth, suddenly dry. I needed to chew and shallow before I could answer. I was stuck, deer in the headlights, trying to decide to take ten seconds to chew and swallow before answering or answering with a mouthful of carrot, when someone chimed in, “That’s Kimmy”. I nodded a shy hello and quickly walked to the other side of the room where I could be quiet again. I wanted to observe and watch, and think without having to talk and interact with the “popular” crowd, of which I knew I had no part, a fact I was fine with.
That’s just a little picture of who I am and what I was. So, appearing on live TV? That is definitely a stretch for me. While I have certainly grown a lot since I was that shy junior high girl, and have even grown to enjoy speaking to groups, and yes, even having conversations with new people, live TV was completely out of my league.
As I worked through the emotions and conflicting thoughts I had about this opportunity, I realized that I had a choice. I could stay where I was comfortable, and there was nothing wrong with that. I don’t need to take every opportunity that comes my way. But I also recognized that I had a fear of failure that was holding me back. I didn’t want to do something hard because I didn’t want to fail or open myself up for criticism. The question I had to ask myself was whether I wanted to grow or not. Should I be happy the way I am and accept that is who I am? Or should I step outside my comfort zone, do a hard thing, and grow as a person?
In the end, with the encouragement of my husband, I decided to be brave and try something new. I took deep breaths, tried to focus on what I was sharing (some simple salads – how hard could it be?) and walked on the TV set with almost settled nerves.
And you know what the funny thing was? I actually enjoyed it. After all of the turmoil of deciding whether to accept or not, I wasn’t miserable doing it. I thought it was fun. My little five-minute segment was certainly rushed at the end, while the host and I quickly poured jar after jar of ingredient over a bed of lettuce to try to finish the second salad before our time ran out, but I still had fun! When the cameras moved away, and the floor managers told me how well it had gone, and I hugged my husband who had been watching from the audience, I had a lighter heart. I had conquered my fears, and come out victorious – not because the segment had gone well, though it did, but because I had faced my personal limitations, and went beyond them.
I am in a real season of stretching right now. I am also working on another, longer cookbook. I know that in writing it, I am putting myself out to a broader audience, which could be exciting, but it is also putting myself out there to be criticized. My insecurities, my love of my own comfort zone, and my desire to share my recipes with others are at war.
I am in the hard push of the end, writing and cooking for all I am worth and crossing my fingers that I can finish it on time. It has been a challenge to my personal character to not let the stress of a book deadline, and a pile of work to turn me into a frazzled, impatient mother. It has challenged me to find peace in my heart while having a busy schedule. It has made me ask questions to myself about what I want in my life, and how I can be the best mother and wife possible while using any gifts that I have in this realm.
I think that when it is done, I can leave with a lighter heart again because I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing what is hard for me, that I am growing as a person, as I also grow in my kitchen skills, and hopefully some people are blessed with my cookbook too.
These are the thoughts I have had while I have used up all of the absolutely delicious Strawberry dressing I shared on the show. (I, apparently, only think when eating).
But enough about me. I’d love to hear from you and how you are being stretched and how you are growing as a person too.