I didn’t learn that I am socially awkward, I already am acutely aware of that. I am no good in a social situation, I either hide in the corner, talk too much or both which is a strange combination but one I managed just this past week.
I was asked, in fact, no, I volunteered to take some photos for a friend’s event to launch their non profit organization. I thought I would be great, I like taking photos, I take ok photos. I’ve got this.
I’ve not got this.
I knew there were other people taking photos, so none of us were the sole recorders of the event. When I arrived the first person I saw was a huge man with a huge beard and a huge camera and a huge flash, working the room like he was there to take pictures and only there to take pictures. Like I was supposed to be.
Except I didn’t, I just froze, the room was pretty small, the turn out was amazing and all I could think was that I would be the little person with the little (ok normal sized) camera following the giant man around taking the same darn photos.
In the end I chatted to some people and even joked (yeah, very funny) with my friend about how I hadn’t taken many pictures. I left and ended up with 9 decent photos.
Then in the days which followed, I did what I always do following a social event, I deconstruct the whole thing. What I should have said, what I did say, cringe, who I should have talked to, who I did talk to, cringe, who talked to me, what I wore, what I should have worn.
In this case I also included in my review of my crapness, what and who I could have taken photos of. Who I could have talked to before hand about what sort of photos they wanted and how best to take them. I should have made myself a plan, even if I didn’t need it, just a few notes in my pocket for moments of panic and inaction.
You know what I learnt from all of this? Stop. When I panic, or realize I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing or feeling even the slightest bit overwhelmed. Stop. Just stop, find a friend (this event was full of them) and maybe ask their advice, maybe get some ideas together. I went with one of my good friends and she would have totally understood and no doubt come up with some ideas for successful photos. But no, I panicked and made excuses thinking I was being hilarious (my backup tactic whenever I am overwhelmed), snapped a few photos and left. The most annoying thing was the photos I took, I liked them, but I didn’t take any more. I needed to take a minute or two somewhere quiet, with a notebook or notes on my phone and I needed a plan.
Another thing I learnt was that I don’t realize that I am panicking while I clearly am. I think I am being social and chatting away and joining in like a normal person, except that I am not, I am joining in like someone who is overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to say to anyone, so I spout rubbish. Then the next day I do the deconstruct like I always do and think lots of things like ‘I said that to them?’ ‘Why on earth did I say that to them?’ ‘Why didn’t I ask this that or the other?’ Blah blah blah and so it continues in my mind.
I will say that I have never taken photos for someone before of a big social event, so I did at least learn in case I need to do it again.
Thank goodness for the bearded man who was flashing away left right and centre taking photos, because I certainly wasn’t.
Next time I will be snapping all over the place and following my plan, because I will have one.
Hopefully I will remember not to panic in the future, or at least have a little back up plan.
Happy Wednesday x