Center of Attention? Absolutely Not!

Friday, January 31

By Hafsa Ahmed

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to speak up in front of everyone? You’re in class daydreaming about going home and eating last night’s leftover pasta and your teacher suddenly calls your name – interrupting your sweet dream – to come in front and give a short review of what she taught that day. Legs turning to jelly, shivering, bladder about to burst, getting tongue-tied and voice wavering so bad it’s hard to understand yourself.

I am socially awkward, anxious and shy. I absolutely loathe speaking in front of people, I even abhor asking for water from someone. I get so nervous and anxious, my stomach starts aching, I get covered in a sheen of sweat and my legs shiver so hard. When I was in 8th grade, my English teacher made it a point for students to give presentations of the chapter she has currently taught. That, of course, made me nearly wet my pants. How I hated coming up to the class with my partner who solely relied on me to speak!

But gradually my fear lessened when the presentations became our daily activity, I could speak without wavering and stand without shaking.

I always imagined that I will go and deliver my presentation with confidence and not mind or get embarrassed over the blunders I’ll make and shake them off without feeling bad. Unfortunately, that was not the case, I would always get tongue-tied and freak out.

I discovered that if I worry too much about every minute detail and what people might think, I will end up messing my presentation. I still get scared sometimes and still avoid talking in groups but I still somehow manage to push myself to do it or I’ll never get others to hear what I have to say.

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