The Show Must Go On

I thought I’d do a follow up on last week’s “Suck It Up” post. Another phrase that I often find myself repeating is that, “the show must go on.” I don’t find myself saying it as often as “suck it up,” but I do have a “show much go on” moment every couple of months.
I have those moments when things feel terribly overwhelming and my first reaction is to BAIL and to bail fast. I definitely fall into the flight category when it comes to fight or flight. When I’m under a ton of pressure for a big project, my first reaction is to leave my desk in the dust and find a cabin in the middle of nowhere. If I’m in a meeting and it’s uncomfortable or high-stress or I just don’t think it’s going well, there’s always a voice screaming in the back of my head telling me to run for the hills. When my workload feels unbearable or simply undoable, I just want to give up. 
And I don’t think I’m the only one… however, the show must go on
When I learned how to ski this past winter, the hardest hurdle to overcome mentally was that first ledge where the mountain starts sloping down. It always looks like a cliff, until you go down and you realize it’s not so bad when you’re taking it an inch at a time. From behind, that ledge looks terrifying, but it never ends up being as bad as it looks. Plus, if it is steep, the worst case scenario is that you fall, pick yourself back up, and get back on your feet. The show must go on.

Similar to that ski ledge, sometimes you just have to push the the hard part to get a little clearance for the other side, where things aren’t that bad.
One of the biggest fight or flight moments I’ve experienced this year was back in March when I spoke at the Teen Vogue FashionU conference. While I speak on panels frequently, this one had me extra nervous. I think it was the “Teen Vogue” name that had me on edge. Excited, but quite anxious. I couldn’t even open the email with questions to practice because it made me so nervous.
Well, the day of the conference comes around and thankfully (seriously) Garrett came with me. He doesn’t normally come, but I asked him to because I needed someone to help keep me calm. In the cab ride downtown to One World Trade Center, I felt sick to my stomach. Long story short, we were there an hour early and the knot in my stomach continued to grow and grow as we were waiting in the green room. Finally it was 15 minutes to show time. I truly wanted to leave as my anxiety had grown tremendously and I was starting to feel sick. Gulp.
The rest of the panelists, a few Teen Vogue staffers, Andrew Bevan, a handful of conference goers, Garrett, and I loaded into the elevator. We had to go down sixty something floors, switch elevator banks, and then back up thirty something floors to where the panel was being held. Guys, there’s no pretty way to put this: I threw up while we were going up. I was literally clamping my mouth shut with my hand as vomit dripped down my arm waiting for the elevator to stop and for everyone to exit the elevator. 
Once everyone was off, the elevator started going back down and I basically threw up the entire way down. You know how I wanted to leave? Well now I was ready to run out of the building. I was mortified, not feeling great, and didn’t want to go in front of 100 people to talk!  But the show must go on.

I went to the bathroom, washed out my mouth, went through what felt like an entire container of soap… and walked into the room like nothing had happened. (Miraculously, only one Teen Vogue employee witnessed the ordeal, but everyone else had no idea!) Sure, I didn’t feel awesome throughout the panel, but I still made it happen. I could have easily let my uneasy stomach dictate whether or not I stayed and I could have easily let the elevator incident be the nail in the coffin for the conference as far as my participation was concerned. But the worst had happened and I still ended up having a great day.

The next eight weeks are really going to be pretty crazy for me and I’m already feeling like I want to just abandon everything and move to the middle of nowhere. I know I won’t actually do that, so the show must go on!


PS If you ever meet Garrett, you have to ask him to tell the story. I was pretty out of it the whole time, but hearing him tell his version of the events always makes me laugh!!! The poor guy.

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Oh my word, I can't even imagine! Props to you for being a pro and not letting it stop you – I'm sure you did wonderfully on the panel.



Thanks for being so honest! It's remarkable that you overcame that and quite honestly its a miracle you didn't mess up your outfit! Kudos to good men who keep us sane 😉


That was definitely a miracle. Gar kept telling me to use my purse… but I refused to ruin it ha!!!


Such an inspiring story, I understand the feeling of wanting to just run away from your problems, and this is something I definitley have to work on every day.

Thanks for the great inspiration,

Lindsey Saxby

Wow, I cannot even imagine. Throwing up is one of my greatest fears and the idea of being stuck on an elevator while doing so is horrifying. I'm so impressed you were able to pull yourself together after that. I like to think I wouldn't have turned into a puddle of embarrassment, but I have my doubts. 😛 If I'm ever in a similar situation, I hope I'm able to push all that aside and keep on going like you did. Thanks for this story and the inspiration to make the show go on!

Lindsey | Finding Balance in Life

Ane I.

I'm glad you posted this, I'm presenting in a conference in September and I've been having nightmares about everything going wrong. At least if that happens I'll remember your experience and how you put yourself up and made it! (Props for not ruining your outfit, that is skill)

Ane | Basque Prep


Hey Carly – thanks for sharing both this post and last week's "Suck It Up" post. I often throw up when I'm worked up, excited, or anxious (I've puked before *and* during two of my graduation ceremonies – all due to nerves). It's a relief to know that someone who exudes so much grace and confidence goes through the same anxieties as me – thank you for your honesty!


PS – major props to *not* get sick on your dress, shoes, or handbag (that's an achievement in its own right!)


So. Much. Respect.
Carly, I love reading your blog because you are so honest and humble. We have all been in these types of situations. Major kudos for pulling it together!!

Shirley L

I know this wasn't easy to share but I'm sure it helped a bunch of people. I get knots in my stomach for all kinds of things too. Sometimes I get queasy. But I march on just as you are.


"The next eight weeks are really going to be pretty crazy for me and I'm already feeling like I want to just abandon everything and move to the middle of nowhere"

Man.. does this hit home for me this week. My journey through nursing school has left me wanting to live under a rock more times than not but I honestly feel like I've officially bit off more than I can chew and maaaannn am I stressed. I'm 20 and I swear I am going to grey this year. I feel awful. I can't count the number of times just today that I have thought deeply about moving.. quitting.. disappearing (so dramatic lol). I have been following your blog for years, since I was in high school even, and I remember you once did a post on the importance of saying 'no'. I think I need to go back and read it.

This message couldn't have come at a better time for me! You have got to keep going. Success doesn't quit. Thank you for the reminder Carly. I adore you and I am so happy that you have found a person like Garret to love and support you through *everything*


Your inner strength is incredible! I know I would have also wanted to run away, but you're so brave to just keep on trucking, even when you are feeling your worst.

Katherine Parthum

This story is so unbelievably relatable. I am so impressed with your poise and professionalism in handling the situation because I assuredly would not have had the same reaction 🙂