There was no word that adequately described what I felt in Junior High when I had to give what was, at the time, called an oral topic.
Just the thought of standing in front of my grinning, kibitzing classmates would send me to the nurse’s station with a roaring stomach ache.
Years later, I found out such self-defeating habits could be overcome. For that I must thank my Carpenter Country ally who was able to address any size crowd without a quiver or a fidget. She urged me to sign up for a course in public speaking.
The instructor started the class out slowly. Choose a topic, make notes, then practice reading them out loud in front of a mirror. I was doing great until the moment came to take the floor. All of a sudden it was fight or flight time.
What to do?
Should I fake a throbbing pain and run away? But then my daughter would write Mom off as a total wuss. So, if I wanted to save face, there was really only one choice: Toughen up.
I took a deep breath, walked to the lectern and started talking.
To my amazement, me, the gal that for years had envied every person able to carry on a monologue in front of a packed auditorium–aced the course!
My high lasted for a whole day. By the time it faded, I’d learned two more things.
Speechmaking would always make me anxious.
And filling a blank sheet of paper with words would never give me a stomach ache.