One of the fears that I have always had was speaking in public. This included talking in a small group of people that I knew or didn’t know, big crowds, asking a question in class or giving my opinion, and of course speaking in front of a large crowd where you are the center of attention. I tried really hard throughout high school and college to work on it and most times I forced myself into uncomfortable situations, but I always fell back to my safety zone of being quiet no matter where I was.
In high school I traveled to a college town near by where I lived with a program to prepare you to apply for college. This program, as it was for mainly immigrant kids, had the greatest idea that we should write our story and present it in front of some government entity,I don’t quite remember which one. I honestly hated them for that, but there was nothing I could do. I spoke in front of so many people I didn’t know and my classmates that I had known for literally less than a week. yaaa me! (sarcastic tone).
Also, in high school, I took speech class, which I don’t remember anything because I was probably blacked out most of the times I was giving presentations due to suffering from public speaking anxiety …
Fast forward a couple of years and I find myself in college. The same college I had suffered giving my first speech in front of so many people about how I got to this country and my experiences. That got boring after a while. Again, I forced myself to take speech and theater class. What was I thinking! I must have blacked out there too because I have no memory of what I talked about….
Fast forward again years later, and off I go to find my dream job or so I thought in the capital of the USA. To be clear though, NYC was my first choice, sadly that didn’t work out. I started working odd jobs, and finally I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and find myself wanting to join the event planning world, but guess what??! I had to do so much work, network, put myself out there talking people in the industry. Some of them were nice, some of them thought I was a joke because I didn’t work with anyone in the industry yet so it wasn’t worth their time. And guess what, I didn’t care. All I knew was that I had a goal in mind.
Now, the present. I look back and I think, wow what a bumpy road to get here, but I’m glad I did it, not only because I’m working towards where I now want to be, but also I broke the barriers that were holding me back, which was so simple…just talk to people. Who cares what they think. I honestly don’t care much anymore. I just open my mouth and ooppss sometimes not many people like it.
You are probably wondering why I’m telling you this long story about myself! Well, I recently joined a book club, and while I was reaching out to the coordinators who are in charge of it, I realized that I was nervous because after reading some bios of the members, so many of them sounded so much smarter than me and book worms. Here I was comparing myself to them and feeling nervous because I don’t read more than two books a year, which is why I wanted to join the club in the first place. Why do we do this to ourselves? Overthinking before we know the facts.
I’m really happy I found it and the ladies whom I have had the joy of meeting, who seemed to be the regulars, are just fantastic. No one is judgemental, no one says your opinion is wrong, there is no tension because of it, so it is just nice and I really look forward to it every time. Why was I so nervous?
I honestly feel accomplished just because I’m reading way more books than I could have imagined. So far, I’ve read “Little” by Edward Cary, “Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens , “29 Gifts” by Cami Walker, and currently reading “The Island of Sea Women” by Lisa See.
Let’s see what is the next challenge! Don’t be afraid of challenging yourself. The worst that can happen is you being embarrassed, but who has time for that?