Good Afternoon you B-E-A-Utiful Bookworms. ^_^
I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday.
It dawned on me just this morning that I have many fears. Some would be considered rational, an instinctual response to potential danger, others- not so much.
One fear that I find rather difficult to express is that of public speaking.
Let me tell you a story
Have you ever been sat in class, minding your own business when your teacher picks on you to read a passage from whatever book you’re studying? Me too!
I HATED it!
I don’t consider myself to be a particularly extroverted person. I mean, my personality type is INFJ and I’ve noticed that many people with this personality type may be shy and at times withdrawn, depending on the circumstances in which they find themselves at the time.
Why is Public Speaking an important fear for me to explore?
For those of you just joining my blog, it may not be evident why a common fear such as public speaking is deemed of crucial importance to me.
Allow me to explain.
As a creative writer (having started writing from aged eight), I am always looking for new ways to reach out to potential readers. I want to connect with people, to know their hopes and dreams, their likes and dislikes. What better way to connect than to engage in conversation, right?
My issue? The intense fear that grips my heart every time I think about public speaking.
I have never been a fan of public speaking, that much is true.
BUT, I would like to learn to get better at it.
I have always dreamt that one day, I might be well-known enough or lucky enough to run my own book signing, meet and greet type of event. Hell, for me, this is an enormous part of my writing dream as such an event would allow me to connect with many more bookish individuals on a somewhat more intimate and yet down to Earth level.
Growing up in Cambridgeshire, England, I’ve never had many bookish friends. In fact, I can’t think of any of my current friends that actually read much, if at all. 🙁
Why is public speaking so difficult for me?
This is a question I’ve been asking myself for years and after plenty of self-reflection, I’ve finally uncovered the source of my fear.
I am terrified of people looking at me.
Does that make sense? I hope so.
It’s true, I have never been able to stand having someone look at me for extended periods of time. In English class, I would instantly start to heat up, with my ears and face turning a bright scarlet shade. My breathing would hasten, sweat beading on my forehead and upper lip.
So many people would stare up at me, sly grins contorting their faces into those of mocking demons. And then, I’d have a panic attack.
What makes it incredibly hard for me to get over this fear?
A few years ago, after much distress and personal reflection, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, which is a form of Autism that doctors consider ‘High Functioning,’ even though I personally don’t believe in functioning labels.
To tell you the truth, the biggest challenge I face with my Autism is that I get easily overloaded with information, sometimes on a daily basis. Loud noises, bright artificial lights, and light touch are considered my worst offenders and so I’ve always worried that I may never overcome my fear of public speaking.
There are just so many variables for my brain to consider.
What if something goes wrong and I end up offending someone without meaning to?
What if potential readers and friends find me too weird, or awkward?
What if these people judge me for being Autistic without knowing much about it?
Will they understand and empathize if I explain why I do certain things?
The truth is that I’ve not come across many people who won’t stop and judge when they hear I’m Autistic. There seems to be this universal social stigma attached and it’s proving ever difficult to shake.
What I’d like to see in my future
- More people willing to listen and learn about Autism, from Autistic people’s own experiences, instead of believing the lies fed to us by officials who have little knowledge on the subject and seek to blame everything as a potential ’cause’ of Autism.[Just a side note, vaccines do NOT and have never caused Autism and there is solid medical and scientific proof to back this up!]
- More support available for Autistic individuals and Autistic authors, so that we may learn new skills such as public speaking and begin to broaden our own individual horizons.
- People being more open and willing to learn about each-other’s personal experiences, so that we may connect on a deeper level as human beings.
(Autism Awareness week ended on April 2nd, but it’s still great to see support.)
If you’re still with me so far, then I humbly thank you.
Autism is a rather difficult subject to broach and I am grateful that you’ve allowed me to ramble on for the past few minutes.
Please remember, if there is something that you struggle with, you are not alone.
There are many people out there in the world, each with their own individual struggles and strengths. What we do with ours (and our lives, for that matter) is part of what makes us who we are.
So, I’ve got just one question for you…
What are you afraid of?
Thank you ever so much for reading My Fear of Public Speaking.
I would greatly appreciate it if you took a moment to share this article as I believe that making Autism a better known and better understood disorder will lead to greater acceptance and change.
Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,