stage fright
(april 11, 2002)

listening: ...all this time sting
reading: the complete poems anne sexton

I had to do a presentation for my advertising class today. I haven't done one in ages. One of the many wonderful good things about being a multimedia student is that our assignments usually only require us to grow a hump on our backs and develop eyeball cancer out of sitting hunched in front of the radiation-spewing PC monitor for days or weeks, shunning any form of humanly communication (which is somewhat ironic, since multimedia is all about communicating and touching the audience's heart and soul, but we'll leave rhetorics aside for now.).

10-minute presentation with Powerpoint slides? Could anything be more foreign and strange for the lone bellringer of Notre Dame with tumour in her eyeballs?

I was, as eloquently as I can put it, flat fucked out nervous.

I was certain that I would develop a sudden, complete amnesia the moment I get to the lectern. Then the resulting panic from the amnesia would become so overwhelming that I would forget how to read. Even my notes can't save me then.

I was in the school and matriculation program debate team. Best Speaker in more than one ocassion. I was in the pantun (hehee can you believe that?) team and we won two years in a row and I was named Best Pemantun, (just inter-class, but still.). I did poetry recitals (didn't win. Bummer.). I conducted my whole class in choral speaking and we won two years in a row. I mc'ed our talentime and annual dinner back in college. I was in those cheesy school plays (at this point you might begin to realize that I'm cleverly using this post as an excuse to brag shamelessly, but not like I'm breaking any new grounds. The rest of this site is all about me, too. Go check them out after this.) I loved the stage. I could stare at my audience right in the eye, for 3 seconds, because that's what public speaking courses will teach you. I was amused with my friends who get stage fright and kept encouraging them to go up there speak out it's not really that horrible. In fact it was an addictive rush for me. I am a Leo and was exactly what the stars and the planets said a Leo should be. Incorrigible exhibitionist extroverts.

But today I was a wreck. I completely messed up some of the sentences to the point of utter senselessness, at which point I apologized to the audience and told them I that was really nervous (breaking Public Speaking Rule #1), which elicited a small polite chuckle from them. What darlings. I was groping for words and fumbling with my cheesy Powerpoint slides and had to resort to pretend-squinting, as if the very tiny and minuscule font in my notes was the one to blame for my inability to speak coherently. I didn't stare at anyone in the audience for 3 seconds. I was not a Leo. I was the timid little kitten that got ran over by a 16-wheeler, with no sense of grammar.

My darling, lying teammates said I'd done a good job, which was nice and comforting, but not enough to rebuild entire life on.

At least my hair looked good today. I think. Was too busy panicking to check.