Chad and I have been on the air for about a month now, and things feel different.
The first two weeks, every time I watched him slide up the mic sliders, my stomach would drop the way it does on the insane decline on a roller coaster. I would get the “I’m about to say I love you for the first time” lump in my throat and swallow and kind of nervously laugh at the dumb stuff Chad would say. I would try to chime in just enough to prove that I was in the studio, but I would let Chad run with things. It worked well enough to kind of get rid of the nerves.
Then people started talking to me. I was told what is funny, what isn’t funny. People told me I was FREAKING weird, not normal enough for the air. I was told that my lack of knowledge shows so strongly that there’s a pretty good chance that I’d never be successful in a true broadcaster role. My boss categorized me as a “reactor” and Chad as the “generator”. I was the second banana, the piper… anything but center stage. I didn’t take offense, I mean the guy is my boss, but it really kind of shaped who I became on the air.
You know, my whole life in any group of friends I was in, I liked to be the center of attention. I would poke fun of people in a way that they felt like they were included, tried to have fun with whoever came into my life. Yeah, of course being the ringleader is self serving, but I wanted to make ANYONE feel comfortable around me. I know incredibly well what it’s like to be left out, and I really never want anyone to feel that way and being that limelight sort of chick allows me the ability to bring others there too. So if I don’t sound comfortable on the air, it’s because I’m not yet. They told me to be myself, but they also put labels on who I’m supposed to be and it’s been tough to merge the “who I am” file with “what works on the radio”.
Please don’t think that I’m miserable or upset, because this truly will be the best job I will EVER have. I seriously look forward to going to work every single day. But it is teaching me a SUPER important lesson. Labels really do mess with a person: good, bad or neutral. The label of leader or follower, the generator or reactor, being called incompetent, dumb, slow, lazy, strange or even smart, hardworking, beautiful, strong… just think for a hot second. It’s these kind of words that effect me everyday, and I know that they do everyone else too, no matter how “thick your skin is”.
I know. It’s weak, and I feel more and more vulnerable with every stroke of the keyboard. I need to take a break from the entertainer role and just be real for a second.
I know a hard exterior is important, ESPECIALLY in a field like this, but my goodness. Tough skin needs some love too.