I gave my speech today. I lived through it. We did a questionaire that asked how we rated ourselves on speaking in various situations. It ranged from 1-24, doesn't bother you at all, up to bothers you some, normal amount of public speaking fear, and 80-125 is Extremely high level of apprehension. (deer in the headlights, I am gonna hurl kind of fear.) I was 117. Not surprising. At least I wasn't "fall over and die of a heart attack". I knew we were going to be discussing fear and how to combat it, (of course that was AFTER the speech!!!) so before class I was thinking back about how I got so afraid. It made an impact on me, and I know I will never forget it.
It seemed like only yesterday....
(cue dream sequence....)
We were beginning a new school year. It was fall of 1970, and I had my first male teacher. It was his first year teaching, and he seemed a very nice guy. He enjoyed kids, I could tell, and that is very important in a teacher of grade school kids. My 4th grade teacher hated kids, and it was apparent. But I digress.....
Most of the kids in the room were ones I had been to school with the 5 years proceeding. Kindergarten was kind of optional back then, so my parents didn't send me. Most knew we were poor, and I was extremely shy. My mom had passed away the winter before, so I was shy, raw with emotion, and very backward. Our teacher thought it would be a good idea to go around and tell what we did over summer. Being new to the area, he wanted to get to know us and what there was to do. He started at one side of the room and was going around. Someone went to Disneyworld, someone else went to church camp. someone else was in a wedding, on around the room. Then was my turn. I stood up at my desk, got ready to talk about church camp, Bible school........ then there was a knock at the door. The teacher went over, and we could hear the "buzz buzz buzz" of whispers, and he turned and looked at the class, and announced, "I'll be right back, go ahead and continue". There I was with no teacher, talking to a bunch of 10 and 11 year old kids. My own age, but all considered themselves better than me. Most had filled me in on that any opportunity they could find. I continued to talk, when one of the girls (who is either in prison, living in a trailer with 7 kids, or dead now) asked me why I was still talking cos no one gives a damn about what I did. She told me to shut the fuck up. (Her words, not mine) so I sat down and wanted to bawl but didn't dare. She was loudly discussing making out with one of the guys in class. (not making out with him, she was filling him in on her and her wonderful boyfriend who was probably a drop out by then) I was devastated. No one stood up for me, and I sure couldn't stand up for myself. I assumed they all felt like she did. When my teacher came back in the room, he asked what he had missed and if I had finished. I just said "yeah." I didn't realize at the time that I have that feeling every time I try to speak in front of people. What if they don't find me witty or charming? What if they think I am trash and have nothing to offer???? I find my response as a valid fear since I went through it, but we are all adults now, right? Although, I know some who try to make people think they are adults, but are still kids. I am extremely intimidated, and now the mystery is solved. From then on through the rest of my middle and high school years, if I had to get up in front of the class my voice sounded like I was trying to speak through a rubber band held tight. I squeaked till the teacher let me stop trying. That was the day I started pulling farther back, and realizing I had nothing worthy to offer anyone. Thats my story on that.
I am keeping up on the DOS batch files we have been working on. For that I am grateful. Not many have been working on them when they get home, which is good for me cos they aren't breezing through it. I had the first two parts already done when we got to class. YAY for me! It's been a good day, and I am just giddy.
Time to go do SOMETHING. I am not sure what, just something.
Take care, and God Bless, and pray for little girls who don't have mothers. Its a tough way to try to grow up.