Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stage Fright

Last Saturday, my book club had its monthly discussion where I was one of 4 moderators. I had begged my co-mods to spare me from any responsibility that involved facing the group to speak. In exchange, I volunteered to make most of the game prizes, props and loot bags (the theme was Dr. Seuss kiddie party, hence the loot bags). Even if I had to make all of these from scratch and by hand, I believed it was still less terrifying than having to speak in front of an audience.

I've always had stage fright. Back in 4th grade, I lost a Spelling Bee not because I didn't know how to spell SOVEREIGNTY but because the finals was held in an auditorium with teachers and students from four grade levels in attendance. I think I got as far as mumbling the letter "s" before I finally froze in my seat. In 6th grade, probably for the simple reason that I find unnatural and perverse pleasure in writing essays, my English teacher wrongly assumed that I was as comfortable in expressing myself verbally and, horror of horrors, entered me in an extemporaneous speech contest. My heart was bouncing off the walls of my chest and I would've popped a valium had I known what it was at that age. I was given 2 minutes to compose my thoughts after I picked my topic, which was "why I love the rain". Which I didn't. I could think of several reasons why I DON'T like it: because I find soaked socks and mud-spattered calves absolutely disgusting... because even with an umbrella, you still get soaked since rain doesn't necessarily fall at a 90 degree angle to the ground... because, in the Philippines, the same jacket that protects you from the rain drenches you in sweat underneath... because, often, rain means flooded streets and people packed like sardines in public transportation... because, almost always, during heavy rains or typhoons, classes are declared suspended AFTER the students are already in school.

Still, that was my topic. But because I have always espoused honesty(I'm a terrible liar, at any rate), I walked to the stage on jelly legs and said, " I don't like the rain." It was humiliating.

In this country, there are only 2 seasons: the Muddy and the Dusty. I prefer dusty any day.


Peter S. said...

Hi Ajie! I think you handled the book club session very well. And, you don't strike me as someone who has stage fright. I think you're very personable. But then again, it's one thing to engage one person in conversation and another thing to say your mind in front of an audience.

mental wayfarer said...

Aw, thanks, Peter.:)