Last week I took part in my first open mic evening of spoken word. This is something I have avoided until now through my own fear of public speaking.
Sitting behind a neatly placed plant at the back of the room, I compared myself to the other participants, who all read their material so cleanly and so calmly. When my turn came, my shaking hands and dry throat must have given away my wretched nerves. I begged my vocal chords to hold out until the very end. They did and even secured the correct expression required to deliver the feelings I wanted to convey; hell, I even got a few laughs in the right places! But, did I enjoy this excruciating act of exhibitionism?
Well, yes! I did it. I delivered. It was recieved. I achieved.
Would I do it again?
Yes. I faced a fear; over-rode it and would put myself in that position again, even if I had to be scrapped of the floor like an up-turned jelly afterwards.
But, that’s me and has been for a few years now. Facing a fear has been a ritual; a masochistic form of entertainment as well as a confirmed sense of achievement for me.
Would I recommend it? Well, I have come to rule out embarrassment and believe in the phrase “nothing left to loose”. I make myself do these things. They are only little things but are “big” for me.
It started with job interviews. I allowed myself to enjoy them. In the end I applied for jobs, just so that I could get to the interview process and find out if I was a good candidate with a chance of securing the position. Weird? Maybe.
Since then I have abseiled down one of the tallest buildings in the City of London (I now, subsequently, cannot tolerate heights easily and hold my breath at the top of every escalator on the Underground); three years ago I danced en pointe with my ballet school infront of an audience of over 800 people (I probably won’t do that again, although I still dance en pointe and at least a childhood dream was fulfilled); I interview bands and artists when given the opportunity (but my hand still shakes when holding the voice recorder) and, I published a saucy story (which my mum has just discovered, read (to my horror) and reviewed (but that’s another post which I may divulge at a later date)!
So, to sum up, I enjoy facing fears; the taste of adrenalin, the achievement of over-coming blind panic. Nothing left to loose. You don’t know until you try, etc, etc.
The next fear to face? Well, I’m going on a seven hour flight to New York next week…..and I absolutely hate flying. I’ll send a postcard if I get there.