Public Speaking Terrifies Me

Here are some quick facts about me that you may have already picked up on if you’ve looked through older blogs posts. The first is I have social anxiety, and at times it crippled me to where I couldn’t go into public places without a buddy. This lasted for about six years of my life. Whenever I share this with people they are always shocked because I’m quite outgoing. They didn’t realize that established comfort zones were the only places I felt I could be free. In these places, I surrounded myself with friends and family so my anxiety would be kept at bay. That said, no one ever saw me when I was alone and at my worst.

I’ve been in therapy for over a year and my therapist is amazing. She gives me space to explore things on my terms and she’s helped me return to a normal life. These days the only time public places get my heart racing is in overly crowded places, often even if I’m with someone I know. I don’t like feeling trapped. It’s something I’ve learned about myself and I’m accepting it’s pretty deep in my DNA. I may never fully get over it, and honestly, I’m okay with that. It’s not completely abnormal to hate crowds.

Another fact is that I’m writing my first novel. It should be published sometime this year if all goes well. I’m hitting obstacles but pushing through. My novel is not about my life, though there are parts that are therapeutic to write. One day the book will be completed, and when it is I will be expected to promote myself.

Last fact for the day. When I was a child I was failing school, in both reading and writing, as well as math for many years. Reading was the biggest struggle for me. I did not enjoy reading books until my adult years. Today I still struggle at sounding out new words and I have invested in several grammar programs to help with the technical side of writing that does not come easily for me. Whenever I’m on a writing forum and people blast out shame on writers who show grammar weakness I feel enraged, discouraged, and alone. I brush it off though. Haters gonna hate.

vietnam-1649490_640Reading in front of people terrifies me. I hear my voice squeak out, it’s pitch growing thin and high. I’m certain there is a quiver. All eyes on me, judging me, hanging on to my every word, it’s the root of nightmares. I know I’ll need to fight this fear of mine. It’s not like my anxiety with overly crowded public places, that one I can live with. That one I can avoid. As a writer, I will need to put myself out there or be buried in the sea with thousands of other want-to-be’s. I don’t want to be a want-to-be. Money won’t prove to me I’m a good writer. Hearing from people who enjoyed the book will make it all worthwhile.

No one will know I wrote a book if I don’t stand up and tell them. For now, I’m pretending it’s not waiting for me at the end of this journey. Like a guillotine.

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