By Alice Burden
Self doubt is my middle name
I start at SCA tomorrow. I’ve felt fairly chilled out about the whole thing since I got my place in July. I mean, advertising is my calling right? I’m going to fit right in. I’m going to work hard and enjoy doing the work I create. I enjoyed the summer tasks, and feel ready to start. I felt so so so calm, until literally 10 minutes ago when I received an email. The email linked to everyone’s passion project videos. Suddenly, I became very nervous, and when I get nervous… I get nervous.
I’ve got the vapours because I’ve only just realised that this video was your first impression of me.
As far as first impressions go, you’ve probably made the conclusion that I’m a confident person. I’m not, but I do come across as one. No one believes that I am nervous when they meet me. It’s a strange thing, to be feeling completely anxiety ridden, shaking, sweating, heart pounding, but for no one to notice and to think you’re as cool as a cucumber.
When you meet me IRL, you will probably find that I appear quite outgoing. But what you won’t realise is, that the person you’re talking to is actually watching our conversation from across the room. That’s right. I will be having an out of body experience. Keenly watching every bit of body language: the curl of your lip when I say something funny, me twiddling my earlobe nervously, your crossed arms, my heavy breathing, you stepping backwards from me, oh wait you’re cornered, your eyes meeting someone else’s… pleading with them to come over and save you…
Throughout my life, I’ve had multiple people tell me that they didn’t like me when they first met me*, which only adds to the struggle I experience when trying to make new friends. Oftentimes, people don’t like others because they think they’re rude, which almost always turns out to be shyness. But with me, when I get nervous, I become too loud. It’s not confidence, I promise, its just the way I present FEAR.
Rather ironically, I can’t stand fake confidence in other people. This means I strive to be honest all of the time. Honesty seems like such a good thing on paper but it has its downsides in reality. I can upset people – and this happens a lot. I worry that when I meet new people, I’m going to awkwardly blurt out some home truth that will mar me in their eyes forever.
I think this faux-confidence that I exude is generally helpful in the long run. I mean, even if I seem annoying interpersonally, at least I can present my work to clients without seeming scared. And I can network faux-confidently, even if I am watching from across the room.
And yes, first impressions do count, but please remember this: I’m like a spider. I’m more scared of you than you are of me. So please, give me a chance.
*but that they do now