The joy (and fear) of challenging yourself

This weekend, I made an appearance on my YouTube channel for the first time. As essentially a child of the (dialup) internet, many people would assume it was an easy and somewhat natural step.

In fact, anxiety has prevented me from taking that step for many years. A combination of low self esteem and a fear of judgement, along with my OCD thoughts about being harmed and hated, have halted my attempts to start a YouTube channel in the past. It felt too "big" an online space. Too scary a risk.

Look at me now, chatting away. Whether or not I go on to make more YouTube videos, or simply restrict my channel to music, I have completed the challenge I set myself. To just do it — film and upload a video one afternoon. Put myself out there and see what happens. 

This has been the latest in a long line of challenges I have set myself over the past few years. When I began my rehabilitation from my diagnosis of M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, life was basically one big challenge! Step by step, I achieved a new goal. Walk to the post box at the end of the road. Travel on the bus alone. Take my A-Level in English Language. Get a job. Become a pop star. Oops, haven't achieved that last one yet.

I believe that we are all capable of achieving our dreams if we map out the correct strategy. Those dreams may evolve or even change completely over time depending on our experiences in life, but they are still attainable regardless. I also believe that we are gifted with a precious amount of time on earth, and within that time we should take as many opportunities as possible to expand upon our knowledge, discover who we are and push the boundaries of what we previously thought we were capable of. 

My challenges probably sound small to most people. In fact, I still have many more I would one day like to overcome that anyone reading this might laugh at. I also believe, however, that the difficulty level of a challenge cannot be judged due to the unique circumstances of each individual. We all have our worries, difficulties and doubts. 

But we are far more capable than we imagine. Our strength and ability knows no bounds. I encourage you to challenge yourself today, with an act however big or small. It's scary, that's for sure (I am feeling slightly nervous at this moment in time of the reaction my videos might receive, and how I am going to react to the first mean comment) but it's also extremely satisfying. Look, younger emzae, you actually published a video of yourself on YouTube in 2017, and it was fine.