My entire life, I’ve avoided getting up in front of people. I simply don’t have the foundation for comfortable public appearances. I was never in the drama club or on the debate team (although I was briefly in the glee club—not the best choice for me). And, except for a brief stint as an instructor at The Learning Annex, I was never a teacher.
Then, over the past couple of years, I have found myself repeatedly standing up in front of people for one event or another.
I will say that it’s gotten easier. I still get ansty but I don’t break out into a cold sweat. And I think I’ve overcome my biggest issue which was delivering my reading/spiel in a monotone voice and as quickly as possible. I always hated it afterward. But at a recent event, I actually stood in front of a room full of people and was relaxed enough to joke around. I made them laugh, and that made me happy. They responded to my joking in a very positive way and I got what I wanted from them, while I gave them what they wanted from me.
Once you get them to laugh, they’re yours.
So, I’m finally at a semi-comfortable place with reading and presenting (as in a panel) in front of an audience. Now I have hit a new public appearance challenge: getting up on stage, in the literal spotlight, to both present and accept an award. The acceptance part is not for myself, unfortunately. I will be accepting for someone else, in the event they win. But I am definitely presenting, and that’s a whole new experience for me. I’m sure that most of you would say that it’s nothing—you’re just saying names and titles and handing over awards. But those of you who, like me, have a fear of public appearances will understand what that means for me.
I’m nervous and atwitter all over again. But I’m looking at this as the next rung on the experience ladder. Life is supposed to be a continuous learning experience, right? I just hope that if we are reincarnated that they go easy on me in the next life.
Happy Gay Pride weekend to my fellow New Yorkers and to everyone. Be proud, be safe, and enjoy to the fullest.