Actual picture of me at the idea of public speaking. It kind of feels like someone soaked a blanket in ice water and then wrapped me up in it. And I can’t even get out of the blanket, partly because it’s a fear I can never truly shake, and partly because I’m a spaz who trips over her own feet and can hardly get out of the cocoon of comforters I sleep in every morning. Wait, I literally do curl up in my sleep, I might be a ball python for real. Interesting…
Back to the issue at hand, I have a reading tonight and it makes me anxious. Anytime I have to read makes me anxious. I’m only reading a 300 word flash fiction thingie, but nonetheless, I’m kinda sorta terrified. And I know what you’re thinking. “But Sammi! When you’re a super famous author and giving talks and autograph sessions and doing movie deals and walking the red carpet and winning every award this world has to offer, what are you going to do?!” I would answer that I’m flattered you think so highly of me (tosses hair back glamorously even though I have short hair and hate adverbs) and that I really have no clue at all wow you think I’m talented oh you sweet lil babies I love you all so so much. Oh my I’ll stop with the bold now. OR WILL I? Ok for real now I’m done with the bold, but you didn’t see the caps lock coming did you?????
The way I think I get through public speaking isn’t an easy answer. I find I have to do it every week in front of my writing class now as well, and that’s not too fun. I try in the long run to think of it as being positive, like, “By the end of this semester I won’t be afraid of reading my work cause I have to do it every week!” I also said that about my real Public Speaking class. That was two years ago. I won’t lie and say it’s still as bad as it used to be. I used to skip Powerpoint presentations in high school because I was afraid of mispronouncing one word wrong. Seriously, when I know I’ll have to read something, I’ll look ahead for words that might trip me up and then try and change them or skip them somehow. If I have to change a word and I can change a word, I will do it, but I can’t always.
I find that I just have to take each speech or reading I do one at a time. Like today. I got this really cute Sebastian Stan postcard in the mail today from Redbubble:
LOOK AT THAT FACE. And I put him on my wall right by my bed, so the first thing I see every morning is Sebastian Stan with a pastel background with hand drawn flowers. If that doesn’t make you smile, then you probably don’t know who SebSta is. Side note: he was at a Wizard World con this past weekend and was talking about his own panic attacks and dealing with sadness and stuff, and he said it was just great to make people happy and take note everyone this man is a wizard. Back to me because I’m a slut for attention, it was just a small thing, but it brightened my day a little bit. I could projectile vomit at a reading but you know what? At least I got something cool in the mail that I was excited for. And I promise I won’t projectile vomit at the reading my friends, I’m feeling a little more confident than I was when I started writing this post.
Overall I’d just say delight in little things, I guess. I can only say what works best for me, and I really sometimes wish I could just say the right things to make people feel happy and safe, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes there are no words. But when it comes to public speaking, it’s ok to be afraid. So so so many people are. I think a nice little tip that I got from my speech teacher is the phrase “fake it til you make it”. I just pretend I’m not nervous and think of something good that happened to me that day. For instance. My SebSta postcard. IT’S SO CUTE!!!! Before I go read I’ll look at my postcard and say, “I got this SebSta, I’m gonna knock this out of the park.” Always say that you’re awesome, and that you’ll do great. Even if you don’t believe it. It almost becomes second nature to look in the mirror if you’re feeling shitty and just say, “I’m a pretty cool person.” At some point, you won’t have to say it anymore. Or you will if you do this too much and become an egotistical dickhead. In which case you didn’t get this advice from me.
For the non-egotistical dickheads, I leave you all with another snake because that lil guy at the top of the post is a cutie pie. I love reptiles. I plan to get a leopard gecko someday. That was an impulsive thought I just wanted you to know.