From the time I was young, I was always trying out for things in my school, the community, or at camp. These included talent and variety shows, glee clubs and choirs, plays, cheerleading and so on. As a result, some described me as being a “ham” or “seeking attention” or “craving the spotlight,” all somewhat negative labels.
But what all of these people didn’t understand, and I wasn’t able to articulate until a time in my adulthood when I gained greater self-awareness and confidence, is that I had made a conscious choice early on to be a participant rather than a spectator in my own life.
I didn’t always get chosen for the things I tried out for and sometimes performed less than perfectly which might lead to disappointment and embarrassment. But selected or not, perfect or not, I was in the game rather than on the sidelines. And there was, and still is, great joy and exhilaration—plus the sense of being fully alive—in that.