I'm involved with a mentoring program through the local high school. I meet with my student once a week at the school during her lunch. This is my first year doing it, though it is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time. We are caring sounding board for teens who are struggling in one way or another. I always wanted to give something to someone that I didn't have.
High school was an awful experience for me and walking into one brings up all my self-consciousness and anxiety from the past. I always get there early to calm down and get my bearings. When I meet with her, I become very centered because of the good connection we have between us. We are an excellent match. Now almost a school year later, I find I am only uncomfortable walking through the halls, because of my confidence in what I am doing.
I have learned some excellent lessons and she has been part of my healing process since this all started. It has been said that though you are there to help them, you will probably get just as much if not more out of the relationship. We are there to plant seeds.
Today was an excellent example of that. After shopping for her birthday present I came home thinking I had the rest of the evening to myself. As I began to make my plans for the evening, I see the reminder on the calendar. Her band concert is tonight. I had completely forgotten about it. I already had my anxiety for the day running to town and was drained from my weekend of it, but I really wanted to go. And so began the cycle. The fear started to pulse within. I couldn't seem to get comfortable in my skin. I felt feverish. I could feel panic building as the minutes got closer and closer to leaving. There were going to be people. Too many for my comfort level in an enclosed space. God help me.
I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I walked in feeling my feet on the floor, which was a good sign, I was grounded. I ran up the bleachers close to the top. (Less people behind me) Timing couldn't have been better, it started within 5 minutes. I was focused on the concert, the music and remembering my own band days that I miss. I played the flute and piccolo, though if I had the guts I would've chosen the sax. There's just something too cool about the saxophone.
So I watched and listened and compared notes. Emotionally I was uncomfortable at about the same level as having to sit in bleachers for an hour and a half. A slight discomfort that was eventually going to come to end. It was plausible. It was also worth it. I swear I learn more about myself interacting with this girl than I could ever imagine. Things I'd never thought I do, risk I have to take,and trying something new when we visit...what can I say, it really is amazing. It makes me feel like I'm pretty amazing too. I keep walking through these anxiety attacks and keep searching for a way to handle them and facing my fears. Which is unnatural for me. I'm a runner. I take off at the first sign of fear. Just to look it in the eye is a big step, but to actually walk towards it...that's why I always having my running shoes on. lol
So this is pretty cool. Again, I am proud of myself. It's one thing when someone else notices your progress, it's a whole different ballgame when you see it yourself. I'm starting to like what I see and that is pretty darn cool.