“Ok, let’s do this… Wait, maybe not right now.” “I don’t think I’m ready yet.” “I need to study more, and I’ll probably be ready in a few months.”
By: Alejandra Esayag
These were the thoughts going back and forth in my head as I was trying to face one of my biggest fears. I was trying to bring myself to be able to do something I was passionate about but was too afraid to actually do: give an art tour.
In order to understand why overcoming this fear was so important to me, I have to give you a bit of background information. When I was an 18 year-old college student in Miami I encountered my first love, art history. Throughout college I couldn’t get enough: I majored in art history, interned at different local museums, worked for art galleries, and took summer courses on the subject.
The most exciting moments were when I would take a relative or close friend to a museum to see the latest exhibition. I loved explaining to them the importance of what they were seeing. It felt satisfying when they understood the artist’s message or were able to draw a historical connection to what they were seeing. The discussions that would emanate from my explanations were fascinating — I was hooked.
Fast forward to years later, now with a Master’s degree under my belt, I was eager to take a larger group to a museum in Miami. There are many reasons why this was an important task, the main one being that Miami is chiefly portrayed as a city filled with parties but lacking in culture, and I really wanted to disprove this.
There are many institutions in Miami working hard to educate and bring the community together. Museums and art collections invest in workshops, educational programs, and exhibitions that benefit all of us and it’s only sensible that we go out to enjoy them. It became my mission to connect people in my surroundings to these museums and galleries. To guide them through the exhibitions and answer their questions at the best of my ability.
However, there was a big problem in the way: I was terrified of speaking to a large group. There were many reasons why it was nerve-racking for me: I was afraid of stuttering, of getting confused, of missing an important point. It was difficult to succumb to all those fears because art and teaching are two things I felt very passionate about. Then all of a sudden, Michelle Poler, “The Fear Girl,” posted a video about her fear of public speaking. After watching her video and how she overcame something that resonated with me, I said to myself “Now or never.” And along with an encouraging push from my fiancé, business partner, closest friends and family, I did it!
The ‘fear’ wasn’t all bad. It made me do everything I needed to feel fully prepared for my first tour. But by facing this head on, I was able to do what I love and at the same time bring people to a non-profit institution that benefits from every person that walks in through its doors. I was able to tell this group and show them first hand what this museum does for hundreds of Miami high school and college students that want to study art. Their mission is important, and people that want to showcase and promote the work this museum does are doing a good service not only for the institution but for the community.
After achieving this personal goal of mine I felt empowered and ready to face other challenges head on. I was glad I took this risk and realized that my fears were not a reflection of the reality.
Now that I’ve faced my fear, I’m excited for more people in Miami to know about the cultural institutions available to them and to take advantage and champion them. By supporting these institutions, we will all be able to continue enjoying their programming and help thousands of local young adults complete their high school and college educations through scholarships provided by our donations.
For this reason, my fear has now become my purpose.