I don’t know what got into me yesterday. I purchased a few SuperLotto tickets the day before and won back $10 of my $12 dollars. I don’t usually buy these tickets and I rationalize it by telling myself the money goes to education, doesn’t it? It was supposed to at some time. My co-worker asked me if I would still work for my boss. And at first, it was an easy, of course—and then I started thinking, but it isn’t my passion, but I like the structure. Well, what would I do? I would want to do something useful, but I was semi-stumped. In a way, I’m doing what I love already. I’m helpful at work and I write, read, etc. My thoughts shifted though, and as I started thinking about certain things I would want to do—teaching, writing, encouraging, creating a safe place—but, I can’t teach. I never even finished a degree and even if I had, it wasn’t a teaching degree; and I’m horrible at public speaking.
Community college was a series of starts and stops for me because of my phobia of public speaking and because of my shyness. If I found out later that I had to get up in the front of the class to present, I would drop the class. If I had to get into a group, I would shake and feel hot and red. In a Humanities class after the teacher handed back our papers, she asked us to get up and say a few words at the podium. What! Are you kidding? I thought. My anxiety started welling up, heart echoing in my ears, and pounding out of my chest. When she called my name, I did go up there and, when I looked out at the faces, I tried to say a few jumbled words and then I trailed off, and said, “I can’t do this,” and I sat down. She tried to wave me back up. Nope. I felt humiliated and disappointed that I couldn’t get past this fear.
Since then, working on a bachelor completion program but not finishing, I have been able to get up in a much smaller classroom with a group, and then again by myself with a prop. But the last class I had, which was only about five years ago, I couldn’t do it, I took a grade drop to avoid the podium.
So, in my pondering if I won the Lotto—and maybe even that we are upon a new month—or because my moods are so erratic that I get excited and then scared—all I know is yesterday in the early afternoon, while I was doing a mundane task and contemplating how this would change my life, I thought, why don’t I do this now? Why don’t I take a public speaking course. I can take a Summer session where the days are longer, they squeeze all they can out of you, but it’s a shorter period of time—not quite enough time to think of dropping. This is a challenge that I would love to finally conquer and one that I feel ready for. It’s a hunch that I have—and I am familiar with the instructor, which will help. It will help having a friendly, familiar face. I get excited at the possibility and in that moment, I commit, and when my registration date comes, I will sign up and I will conquer this horrible fear that isn’t as bad as it used to be, but it’s still there. Maybe I’ll even surprise myself.