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In my life I have been afraid of a lot. I am a fearful person, and I have a hard time with this in my life. But there are two fears that stand out to me the most in my life. One I have already gone through and overcome in a way, and the other is something that I am going to face very soon, in only a matter of a few months. Here is the explanation of one of my two biggest fears:
My fear of “The Graduation Speech.”
My first biggest fear that I went through was my fear of public speaking, more specifically my fear of a graduation speech that I knew I would have to give when I graduated high school. I went to small Christian school my whole life. I grew up in that church and school, and knew everyone there. Because it was so small, only a few people graduated at a time. My graduating class was three, including myself. Because there was such a small graduating class every year, they had all the graduates give a big speech at the graduation. I don’t remember at which point in my schooling I learned this, but whenever I did, from that day on I worried about it. I used to hope and pray that Jesus would come back for us before then so I would never have to worry about making that speech.
Well as the time got closer I started getting even more scared. This was something I had been afraid of for a long time! I wasn’t obsessed about it, but it was something I had been thinking about from time to time over the years, hoping that that day would never come. During my senior year, I had a woman from my church help me with my speech. She knew how nervous I was about it, and helped me so much with what to say. We practiced the speech more than several times, and finally even though I was still scared, and hoping somehow I would not have to do it, the day came.
Now to give you a little background information on my fear of public speaking before continuing…
Every year at this school we were required to give a “report.” Either a book report or usually on a given topic like a country, or animal or some other school-related topic. We had to get in front of the class and read it and every time we did one it had to be five minutes long or we failed. FIVE MINUTES! Sounds like nothing to you, right? Well to me it was five minutes of agony and torture that I thought no one should have to go through. How in the world was I supposed to talk for five minutes in front of approximately twenty students, and several teachers, without stopping? Well I got through all those years, by stuttering and shaking my way through those little reports. My entire body would literally shake the entire time I was making the speech, and my voice would stutter over the words as well. As I got into highschool, the shaking and stuttering did not stop, and to add to things, my eyes would water out of embarrassment and nervousness. People would start to ask me if I was crying! It was so embarrassing.
Now back to my story…
So the day came for my big speech, and to make matters worse, the graduation was at night, so I had to wait in torture all day for it to be done and over with. All day I worried about it. I practiced my speech half a dozen times, and I ate nothing all day because of how nervous I was. I could think of nothing else!
That night, as we were putting our robes on and getting ready, I realized the day had finally come and I was going to have to give this speech ready or not. There was no way out no matter how hard I tried to look for one. As we got ready to walk down the aisle, I had a very bad moment. I started to panic, and I actually started to cry. I was so scared, and did not want to do this at all! I remember my friend who was graduating also tried to calm me down, and there was nothing left to do but walk down that aisle, and so I did. We went through that graduation, and when it finally came time for the speeches, I went last. I sat through my other two friend’s speeches barely listening, trying to concentrate and breathe. Finally, it was my turn and I concentrated very hard walking down those steps and up to the microphone, and trying not to trip. I looked out among all the people, and paused for a moment overwhelmed. I took a deep breathe and…. I read my speech. I stuttered a little at the beginning, but as I went on, I found it a little easier to go on. I went on and actually concentrated on what I was saying, and not rushing through it too much. After ten minutes, I was finally done! DONE!! Never to have to go back and do it again! I walked back to my seat, shaking, but so happy knowing I had gone through it and could graduate now.
That night after we had all graduated, I had so many people tell me how well I did on my speech. They said it was done so well, and I didn’t even look nervous. I was glad it went well, and after we all left we went out to eat at a nice restaurant. Let me tell you, after being nervous so much all day, I was able to eat a lot that night, and it felt great!!
So, you may ask if I learned my lesson from that day, and have gotten better at public speaking? I say, I still hate public speaking, I really do. I had to go through two speech classes in college and let’s just say that they were not fun for me at all. But I think that I did do better because of what I went through, and that because I overcame my fear and got through that speech, I know I could do it again if I had to. Not saying I would like it, but I would definitely feel more prepared, and maybe a little bit more at ease.
Yes, overcoming that fear was a big one for me, and I have another one to overcome, but I am not going to tell you about it until I post about it again, so you will have to come back soon and read about it!