the lyrical gangsta

I have always been a much better writer than speaker. For what ever reason, I get stage fright and choke up if I have to talk in front of a group. When my husband and I were first married, I would write him notes like a jr high girl if we were fighting. It was the only way I seemed to be able to "say" what I felt. I'm better now and can actually let it rip with him if need be. (which is very, very rare.) Now, I'm more comfortable in front of my friends but if the group gets too big, let alone, has people I don't know very well...not happening. 

I don't quite understand it really. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. Those of you who know me are probably rolling your eyes at me as I write this. You've heard some of the things that come out of my mouth and may think I'm making this up. Yes, I tend to say what I think and if it has shock value--even better. What you don't know is that it took me a long time to feel comfortable doing this and I am a heck of an actor. I can mask my feelings well and I internalize a lot. This is one of my biggest issues with myself. Working on that one daily.

I noticed way back in 2nd grade that if a teacher called on me I would freeze up. If I was able to somehow squeeze out the answer, that's exactly how it sounded. Literally, my voice would be no less than 7 octives higher than my normal voice. It didn't help my status with my peers any since I was already a buck-toothed, glasses and corrective shoes  wearing dweeb. Not to mention the Dorothey Hamill hair cut mom thought was just precious.. I even had to wear an eye patch for a medical condition for several months that same year. Lovely.

Moving on, by the time I reached high school I had learned my place and was very happy to go unnoticed. My senior year I took a work study class just so I could get out of school by noon. It was fabulous! What I didn't expect was for my teacher to take a liking to me. She knew my mother and this was her 1st year at AHS and, I guess, she was thinking I would be the perfect student. My mother is a very out going person, taught lamaze classes, loved being in the front and center and helping people. My teacher thought I would be the same sanguine type personality. So, she talks me into running for president of this club for the work study program. It's the equivalent to the math club, chess club, basically a geek club. To get her off my back I agree thinking surely someone will run against me, surely... Well, someone did, and I don't remember what happened but I think she was sick or something the day of elections and I ended up as president. I thought I was going to die. Now I have to represent our stupid little club at all these geek meets and do some leading of meetings. I don't think I ate for days before the 1st meeting.

I had to lead the other geek teams from our area in the Pledge of Allegiance. Seriously, how bad can it be? Well, the second I was handed the microphone I developed a weird kind of amnesia. I could barely remember my name. Then I realized I didn't know all the words to the Pledge (very un-American, I know). Tunnel vision set in as I made my way up the steps to sit at the table with all the other geek presidents. I am the one who has to start the geek meeting by calling it in to order and leading with the Pledge. White knuckeling the mic, I stammer and manage to get the attention of the geek audience and then commence with the Pledge. I get through The first verse "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America." That's it--that's all I can remember. I step back and lower the mic a bit and let the rest of the original geek squad take it from there. Success! I did it, gave a big smile and returned to my seat. Thinking I was so sly, I started to relax only to have a fellow geek president from another school lean over and say: "You're voice was really shaky, are you ok?" I wanted to crawl under the table. I'm just thankful my voice didn't shatter the drinking glasses at all the tables. 

I was also in a drama group with our church youth group. We traveled around one summer performing at various churches in Texas, New Mexico, & Colorado. Interesting trip but each time I had to get on stage I began to sweat profusely. I guess this was when I realized if I acted, it wasn't really me on stage. I could morph into a more confident person as long as I knew my lines and there was no microphone.

In college, I took a speech class. I had to for my degree plan which I never completed. Again, my professor was a friend of mom's. He had been the weather guy at the news station my mom did some anchoring on. Again, high expectations which I blew to pieces when I stopped showing up for class and instead went to Canyon to hang out with Shannon...

I managed to avoid the center stage for quite a while until Shannon and I got married. I didn't want a wedding, but we had one for the family. The thought of saying intimate things to the man I love more than life in front of 300 of our closest friends and relatives had me turning green. Mom was at a loss, I'm sure, since she and my future mother-in-law had to plan the entire wedding. I didn't care what it looked like, I just wanted to be married and out of there. When we met with the minister who married us, we paid him extra to make it as short as possible. We didn't want a sermon. He asked if we wanted to write our own vows. Oh, I could write them but I knew I would never be able to say them in front of everyone so we settled for the standard "I, thee, take you..." and off we went. It was a success, however, on our video you can't even hear me. I can't remember if I whispered or my voice was just so high maybe only dogs could hear me.

Since then, I have become a little more comfortable and perfected my acting skills. I've had to lead a few things, PTA, Bible studies, ministry teams and managed to do it somewhat decently but I still don't like it. Give me paper and pen or a computer and I'm at home. Put me front and center, and God forbid, with a microphone and I'll just darn near wet my pants or worse...


Comments

  1. Same here. I don't even talk on the phone with people, except my mom or husband. I never know what to say or how to end the conversation. It was really hard to get up in front of people while getting my doctorate. I had to make one big presentation of my research each year and I dreaded it. Then teaching at WT was so hard to get used to. I literally was nervous before every lecture the whole time. Recently my mom asked me to do the intro at CBS (community bible study). I think I forgot to breathe because I was so out of breath when I finished. Yes, I much prefer writing to speaking.

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  2. OMG! Once again, Monnie ... you describe me ... so funny!

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