On Wednesday, July 13, the day after my therapy session, my therapist sent me an email. The email included information about a peace rally and community mural painting, sponsored by the Council of Churches and a local Congregational Church, to take place on Saturday, July 16, from 9 AM to 3 PM. My therapist thought it would be good for me to attend for two reasons. One, during our session on the previous day, I expressed sadness and hopelessness in response to the Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile shootings. She thought that by attending the rally, it would be a way for me to do something, and, channel my creative energies. At the end of her email, my therapist stated that she would be out of town on that day, that she really wanted to do, and, for me to go for her. (The last bit was her way of encouraging me to get out and connect with new people, which is something that I am striving to improve).
In as much as I wanted to go, and to mix with new people, and to channel my creativity, I am an introvert…with social anxiety. Two very big obstacles to overcome.
Later on that week, on Thursday evening, a Dear Friend phoned. I mentioned the event to him, to which he suggested the following: “Why don’t you take your new camera, document the event, and create a mural of your own with the photos?”
Enter Obstacle Number Three. At which point my anxiety really began to take effect.
For Christmas 2015, my Dear Parents gifted me with a beautiful camera, that the aforementioned Dear Friend selected for me. He is a photographer, and, based on my needs and goals as a very novice photographer, selected the camera. It is a SONY SLR, and I am terrified of it. My mode of taking cameras is either via my iPhone, or, my point-and-shoot. Being terrified of a camera may seem silly. But, if you’re a person like me who strives to be a perfectionist, a camera can take you down.
My Dear Friend said, “Just put the camera on auto, and you’ll be good to go.” Easy for him to say.
All day Friday, I thought intently about what I was going to do. Not only did I have to overcome my social anxiety by leaving my house, and mixing with new people, I was faced with the additional challenge of using that camera.
Saturday, the Day of Reckoning arrived. I awoke at about 7:30 AM, at which point I assembled all of my camera equipment, and placed it in my camera bag. I then proceeded to the Fitness Center at my apartment complex, and did a treadmill workout. Following a shower, getting dressed, and downing my meds with a cup of OJ, I obtained directions for the facility, which is called the Ecospace. headed out, camera hanging from my shoulder. That was 10:30 AM.
I arrived at the location at about 11:00 AM. The building was rather tricky to find; I passed by it several times. But, I did find it. I located a parking space, and, upon entering the building, I spoke to a very nice man and a very nice lady, who guided me to where the community mural painting and peace rally were taking place. As I made my way to the outside back wall, I noticed a variety of activities going on, in addition to the peace rally and mural painting. When I arrived, there was already a nice crowd gathered, many painting on the wall, and others getting prepared to paint. There were also speakers – many of them high school students. I noticed that one of the event’s sponsors was the Center for Non-Violence. I didn’t even know there was such an organization in my state. I also didn’t know that there was a place called the EcoSpace. Wow…
I walked around, talked with people, and took photos. I also listened to some of the speeches, as well as some very good jazz music being provided by high school students.
After about 30 minutes, I decided to leave. On my way out, I once again encountered the very nice man with whom I spoke on my way in. I also spoke with another very nice lady. She told me that the building has existed since 1984, and was subsequently purchased by the Council of Churches. It is a center for transformative leadership, health and wellness, community building, and spirituality and culture. It also houses an art gallery and a dance studio. It was described as the community’s “best-kept secret”, and they want to change that. There is also a very large community garden outside. I was invited to share what I learned about The Ecospace with my school community. Which would be great. My school community is looking to improve its relationship with the local community. Additionally, the philosophy of my school would mesh well with that of The Ecospace.
Needless to say, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment: I forged some wonderful connections, channeled my creativity, fulfilled my need to do something, overcame my fear of my camera and took some decent photos, and learned about a new place in my community. On my way home, I headed over to D’Angelo Sandwich Shop for a steak and cheese. Following my steak and cheese lunch, I took a long nap.
What challenge have you faced, and, how did you overcome it? Please tell me about it in the Comments. Thank you! And, please check out my photos from the Peace Rally and Community Mural Painting, located on my Home Page. Just scroll all the way to the bottom.