Confession: Public speaking

Or: What holds me back pt. 2

Fear is a strange thing. In theory, it’s good: it stops us from pursuing something dangerous. In practice, though, many of us have irrational fears. In practice, many of us even have some form of anxiety disorder. After years of struggling, years of getting by, and years of therapy (not in that order, but more… sprinkled together), I can say I am proud of how well I manage my anxiety.

When I recently agreed to MC a wedding on relatively short notice, I was actually pretty excited about it. Not five years ago, I would have been terrified. I’d still have done it, but not nearly as confidently. I can credit my work experience for a good deal of this (especially since I was asked to keep things semi-bilingual, so I pulled out my French and did de mon mieux).

I’ve been contrasting this in my mind with my recent difficulty starting to write. Here's the real confession: I’ve been more afraid of personal failure in front of no one but myself than of speaking in front of a crowd. Sixteen-year-old me, sending unpolished writing to friends because she needed to be heard, but sweating and shaking at the mention of public speaking, wouldn’t understand late-twenties me. This contrast has helped me kick myself into writing gear.

If it means turning off my monitor and writing without seeing my words, then I’ll try that. If it means writing with pen on paper, I’ll try that, too. But I’ll be writing, because if I can get over my fear of public speaking and discover I actually enjoy it, then surely I can get over my self-doubt and do something I already know I enjoy.

What’s something you used to be afraid of, but found out you actually like to do?

Oh, and if you’re a friend from back in the day, please say you don’t still have any of my unpolished teenage writing...