As continued from last week, here is this week’s round-up of contributors to the Las Vegas-themed anthology my own story, “Vegas Lights” recently appeared in.
But first, some thoughts on putting myself in the “Discomfort Zone.”
I’m not actually the “networking” type. Although I love to talk to people, I suck at that whole “cocktail party” thing, meet’n’greets terrify me, and if I never had to go to another munch I wouldn’t. Even just a regular house party is a challenge for me. Introduce myself to people? Talk to strangers? Guh. The Guys both laughed at me this past weekend as we were getting ready to go to the Memphis group’s party: Why, why why do I do this to myself? I wailed. They just looked at each other laughed. This is my typical pre-party, pre-event freak-out. They’ve seen it many times, and know they are likely to see it many more.
But it doesn’t stop me from doing it.
I don’t know why I do it, but I do. I force myself to go out there, to talk, to meet people, to make forays into the terrifying world of meeting strangers and making small talk. And maybe-just maybe-making connections.
It is painful, every time.
And it is also rewarding. I (almost always) find myself enjoying myself (in spite of myself!) And afterwards, I am glad I did it. That I made the effort. I think…because I love a challenge. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone, to exist in that discomfort a bit, even as I hate it. There is a queer kind of pleasure in the discomfort. Kind of like all these other things I do. Pleasure in the pain, in…getting beyond the discomfort, in discovering…that I can. I can survive, I can persevere. And…I can do better than just survive and persevere.
Sometimes, it’s true, I don’t do better. Sometimes I miss making the connections I wanted to because I am too afraid to speak up. Too afraid to go through with whatever it was that I could have done, if only I was brave enough. Those are the times I kick myself about, after. Not the ones I did do. Never those. After pushing myself I feel…triumph. I feel powerful and brave. A warrior. A winner.
Huh…life lesson there, eh?
Anyway, one of those times was going out to the inaugural Erotic Authors Association conference in Vegas. There were so many firsts, so many times I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone.
And too many times I didn’t. I regret the people I didn’t talk to. The party I didn’t go to. The party I ran away from. The time I didn’t speak up and participate, the time I hid out from everyone…
The list goes on. I could beat myself up endlessly (and okay ~sigh~ I do.)
But there is also the list of times I did step out of my comfort zone. (Step? How about pried myself forcibly.) There are the people I talked to. The connections I made. The friendships made. Hell, just going out there, alone! My challenge is to remember those, and to remind myself of the rewards of having pushed myself out there, so that next time, I will have that to dangle in front of myself when I am afraid, or feeling shy, or needing that extra boost to force myself out of my safety zone.
Looking at the list below and seeing three people that I personally know from that event, one who became a friend that weekend, one who feels like a friend here online, and the other who’s story was inspired in part by a real-life conversation we had that weekend. And the last is the editor to whom I submitted a different story that was recently accepted and published in Spankalicious.
How cool is that?!?
Yes, there are rewards for living in the Discomfort Zone, even if I’m only just visiting.
So, without further ado, here are this week’s blog posts by contributing writers of Voyeur Eyes Only. Oh, and scroll to the bottom for the buy links for the audio versions of book as well!
Feb. 17: Courtney Breazile on G.R. Richards
Feb 20: DL King on Lucy Felthouse
Feb 21: Penny Amici on Rachel Leigh
Feb. 22: Nan Andrews on Pagan Spirits
Feb 23: Nik Havert on Lisa Fox Romance
Feb. 24: Anandalila on Crymsyn Hart