November 24th, 2003
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Two of the most difficult things for me as a self employed person are 1) Dealing with someone who owes me money (asking for it), and 2) Asking for something that I need (changed terms in a contract, more money for revisions, moved deadlines, etc.) Both scenarios involve me standing up for myself and no matter how much I come up against this it doesn’t seem to get any easier. This morning I had to do both (one of each). I often say to people, when you are self-employed all of the personality traits that you don’t like (read: would rather avoid) rear their ugly heads and effectively slap you in the face. Meaning you have to deal with them, otherwise you will end up in a blubbering pool in the middle of your studio floor, (actually that does happen from time to time). So there I was today not wanting to do what I know I must do. Procrastination takes on a fevered pitch, nausea ensues. Eventually I pick up the phone, heart pounding and short of breath, speaking becomes difficult but I force my way through it. In both cases the situation is resolved within fifteen minutes, my requests happily granted. All the scenarios I have run through my head (of being yelled at, of losing the gig, of being rejected) immediately disappear into the ether. It seems that most every time my worst fears DO NOT materialize, yet it is hard to remember this the next time the same issue arises. But for now I feel like a large weight has lifted off my body, my breathing is deeper, and I am motivated again. It’s the avoidance that hurts me every time. You see, it is not even important that I always get the thing I am asking for (though it is usually the outcome). What is most important for me is to just ASK, (to coin a cliche here ‘stand in my truth’). It is difficult because many of us have been taught to put others feelings above our own, and let our own needs go ignored or discarded altogether. Slowly I am learning that I am not going to impact someone negatively if I ask for what I need, in fact it cannot hurt them in any way (they can say yes or no). I feel grateful, today I tackled yet another lurking fear.
I write this in hopes that there are many of you out there that can relate to these feelings. I am always grateful when talking to my self-employed friends to hear, “Oh god, I that happens to me every time!” Makes me feel less fearful, less ‘broken’. But I also wanted to acknowledge the fears that we have on a daily basis, these are the ones that come up again and again to help wake us up.

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