Posts Tagged safety

Glossophobia and The Fugitive Mind

Stage fright is a truly terrible feeling.  Many people confront it, but usually they manifest their experience in different ways.  Some people cry, some talk louder, some simply feel a vague sense of dread as they move through the speech.  What I’ve noticed in talking to people about it over the years is that the experience of it changes dramatically from person to person, but it is always quite miserable if you feel it.

I have an awful fear of speaking on stage.  As a teacher, I never feel nervous speaking to a roomful of high school students, but once a year in May I am asked to speak in front of a large audience on a stage with a microphone.  The speech itself is something I’m honored to give, but the fear I feel starts around January and becomes nearly debilitating by the end of April.  It is only a three-minute speech but my fear of it consumes months of my life.

People are always very supportive and try to be compassionate but usually the advice I get doesn’t help all that much.  If you mention you have this fear you will get a lot of guidance, but often I’m not sure if the people who give it really understand the parts of it that make it so terrifying.  It is an irrational feeling and most rational suggestions fail to address it in a way that is practical.  You get advice like “Try to imagine them all naked”.  If everyone in the audience were naked I’m sure I’d be even more terrified!  How could the thought of hundreds of naked humans staring at you be even remotely comforting?  Other people ask you “What’s the worst that can happen?”  They have no idea of the circus that your brain becomes for three minutes.  The worst that can happen is that you’ll be on stage giving the speech.  People simply can’t comprehend why a relatively simple act like this can cause such suffering.  I don’t really understand it myself.

The following is an attempt to describe the experience in real time.  Some of this will sound silly, but every single thought written down has gone through my mind on stage.  The goal of this piece is to create a running record of what stage fright actually feels like for me.

Alright, here we go.  Need another sip of water.  If you act confident, the fear won’t come.  Okay, time to stand up.  They just called me.  Fix my jacket.  Three buttons…how many should I button?  I need to keep it buttoned cause my tie is too short.  I look like Oliver Hardy.  Someone once told me leave the bottom unbuttoned.  Okay.  Here we go.  Don’t look up.  Don’t look up.  Just read.  You should make some arm gestures.  Just hold the podium.  Don’t fall.  Hands sweating.  The podium is see through.  Are the spots around my hand fogging up?  Do they see me sweating? Act confident.  Here it comes.  Here it comes.  I should have left them all unbuttoned.  I should have acted more confident.  Now IT is HERE. 

Hot.  What if I pass out?  Falling, hitting my head.  Would someone catch me?  I’m too big.  Where am I?  Did I just miss a line…no, no, I’m okay….page one is over.  Don’t look up.  They are all looking at you.  They are all looking at you.  Is my fly zipped?  Don’t look up.  Fast.  Dizzy when I look up.  Falling, hitting my head.  IT IS HERE.

Does what I’m saying make any sense?  Do they hear me?  I didn’t practice enough.  I practiced wrong.  Fast. I practiced too much.  What if I forget how to read?  Sweating.  Pain in the top of my head.  Antler pain.  I feel like antlers are going to sprout out of the top of my head.  Stay focused.  Where am I?  I am reading, but I don’t know how.  There is another me reading.   I don’t even know what the other me is saying.  Why are they laughing?  Did I say something funny?  Did I do something embarrassing?  I didn’t write that to be funny…what’s happening???

FOCUS!!!!  Antlers.  Sharp, sharp pain in the top of my head.  Halfway done.  Sweating.  What if I can’t breathe?  Slow down your breathing.  What if I can’t?  I don’t control my breathing.  Long way to go in this speech.  Lots of words left.  What if I start saying weird things?  What if I start shouting random nonsense?  NO CONTROL. What if I burp?  What if I start cursing?  What if I lose control of my body?  Sharp pain in my head.  Antlers are growing inside.  Will they pop out?

One page left.  Downhill, downhill, breathe, another minute…..breathe.  If I can just get one more page.  What am I talking about?  Where am I?  DON’T LOOK UP!!!!  THEY are watching you….breathe….breathe….you are going to fast…..no one understands….breathe….one paragraph now…..look up once…try it…..try it….dizzy….FOCUS….DON’T LOOK UP…..clapping…no more words….handshake….get to the chair….don’t fall….don’t pass out…get to the chair…..sit down…..breathe….

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Six Important Lessons You Should Be Teaching Your Children

We, at The Tyranny of Tradition, are proud to present today’s guest writer, Jonathan Winthrop.  Winthrop is a conservative columnist, syndicated talk radio host, all-around great American and a proud parent of four boys (McCarthy 12, Reagan 8, Goldwater 6, and Huckabee 2).   He is the President and co-founder of Americans for Progressive Corporal Punishment, a group committed to teaching family values to bad parents.  He is the author of several New York Times best-sellers including “12 Easy Steps to Teaching Your Child To Fear and Respect Authority Figures” “Attila The Huns’ Strategies To Being a Better Parent”, and “Look Mom, No Values:  A Parents Guide To Living In A Fallen World”.

Good American Children At Play

I know, I know, your young children are learning lots of bad habits from television and from that Odd Future Wolfgang Kill’em All rap album you just bought them. Parenting can be a tough job.  But, parenting is the most important job in the entire world. After all, without children there wouldn’t be adults.  If there weren’t adults, who would be there to produce a lasting supply of inexpensive consumer goods.  Without inexpensive consumer goods, what would drive our economy?  As you can see, without children, our world would quickly turn into a communistic hell on earth.  I’ve put together a list of six really important lessons that you should be teaching your children so that they don’t end up hooked on crack-cocaine or becoming a “community organizer”.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

It’s the oldest piece of advice in the book.  Strangers are a threat under all circumstances, particularly when they dress like they are in 1970s cop films or have foreign accents.  If your child doesn’t know a person, chances are that person is looking to cause them terrible harm.  Strangers have done terrible things throughout history.  John Hinkley was a stranger to Ronald Reagan when he tried to assassinate him back in 1981.  Had Reagan died there is no doubt that an Iron Curtain would have descended on the United States stifling freedom for the next thousand years.  Be a good role model for your children by ignoring anyone who asks you for help and not saying hello to anyone unless you have known them for at least three years.

Don’t Be A Sucker

Lots of people are trying to take your money from you all the time.  Sometimes, they want to give you valuable things in return like toaster ovens or televisions with picture-in-picture capability.  Sometimes, they are looking to take your money and use it on drugs or food.  Most people on the street simply can’t be trusted.  If they are behind the counter at a reputable store in a good part of town, that’s one thing, but according to a study done by the Heritage Corporation 97 percent of people who are who live in bad parts of town are either “highly dangerous”, “just can’t be trusted” or are “too lazy to go out and earn a living.”  Do not give them money under any circumstances.  It will contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty and Islamic radicalism.

Don’t Let Other People Blame You For Their Problems

Just because you were born in the greatest country in the history of the human race doesn’t mean you should feel bad about it.  Most people are looking to blame you for their problems when their suffering is actually caused by the fact that they have made bad decisions.  Everyone starts equal in this life.  Don’t let their statistics about people being “born in poverty” confuse you.  According to a study done by the American Freedom and Values Council For A Freer America, 96 percent of Americans who are wealthy have better morals and make better decisions than those who make less than 50,000 dollars a year.  You are where you are because you worked harder than anyone making less than you.  Teach your children to be proud of what they have achieved and scornful of those who haven’t achieved as much.

You’d Be Better Off If It Weren’t For Them

Social programs like affirmative action and gun restriction laws have weakened most Americans’ ability to live a happy, free and safe life.  Teach your children to be active participants in government by stopping the government from taking your money and giving it to other people just because they are “hungry” or unable to provide themselves with adequate shelter.  Thomas Jefferson once said something like “Government is the enemy of free people everywhere, particularly when it gives the money of hard working people to undeserving losers.”  He was right.  Teach your children that government and special interest groups like illegal aliens are responsible for most, if not all, of their problems.  That way, when they become adults they will have absolutely no problem getting rid of government organizations that are slowly rotting America away like the Food and Drug Administration.

Without Math We Would No Longer Be Free

America has fallen behind in math test scores around the world.  According to a study done by the Americans For a Freer Society With Better Test Scores, 103 percent of American 8th graders can barely count up to five.  If this trend continues our children are going to become adults who are unable to figure out how much of their weekly check goes to building important tools of peace like stealth bombers and aircraft carriers.  They will never be able to experience the joy and pride one feels when counting how many more nuclear missiles we have compared to the rest of the world.  Then, they will never know how truly lucky they are.

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