My palms sweat, I contemplate over and over again how I can possibly get out of this situation, my heart races and wouldn’t you know, my nervousness jumps starts my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)…..great!
Public speaking has always been an issue for me; in school I would rather get the F then go up in front of the classroom and give a speech. As I got older my fear of speaking in public just got worse, but I had to confront my fear head on because I had no choice….I couldn’t “call in sick”, I couldn’t pretend to have a sudden bout of laryngitis; I had to stand before my work colleagues and give my presentation.
People say to get over your fear of speaking you should picture the audience in their underwear, well ….. I’m sorry I wasn’t going to GO there with my co-workers; it just wasn’t going to happen. So for a week I practiced my speech, an hour before our meeting I went over and over it again…..I made sure I didn’t eat anything that morning in fear that my IBS would show up. It was time; I tried to make eye contact …. I tried not to rush through my presentation …..I tried not to fidget or pick at my nails … I tried to smile ….I tried to push the thought of “what are they thinking” out of my head ….. I tried to read the expression on their faces …were they bored? Are they interested? Are they judging me?
The speech is now a mere blur, my boss was impressed and suggested that I give a presentation once a month. Thank God her “once a month” idea never took. I think if it did I would have had to look for another job!!
I envy those that are confident within themselves to speak in front of a room full of people, I envy those that go up to a total stranger and strike up a conversation because I can’t. I won’t. You couldn’t pay me enough…well maybe you can, for a price.
My fear comes down to one thing, judgment. I have heard “who cares what they think” many times over, but I care. I care what they say about me, think about me, I don’t want to be mocked or laughed at, well unless I say something funny. Maybe….one day I will get over this fear, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
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