Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

I don't speak in public often enough to have gotten comfortable with the whole process. I remember that in grammar school, I had no qualms about raising my hand or giving small talks about my essay, my classmates were the same classmates since first grade, so I was comfortable and also this was before puberty. I say puberty because all this comfort went out the window during high school. I would say partly because I went to my high school alone and was no longer in a familiar setting with familiar faces. I also went from being a "big" fish in a small pond to a minnow in an ocean.

The second and I have to confess, it was and is disturbing when I think on it, in my sophomore year our class had for the speech teacher Brother Phillip and he was a lewd, rude and crude man who should never have worn the frock. No one went to complain about him because he targeted certain girls, always the shy ones and made them so uncomfortable while they were speaking in class, it was a nightmare. I was one of those girls who he targeted and having a teacher make snide comments about the content of your speech while you are speaking was bad enough but when he would start taking aim at your physical appearance to the delight of the boys in the class, that was enough to make me traumatized by the mere thought of speaking in front of an audience.

My two adult experiences of public speaking that actually turned out fine were not enough to wipe the slate clean. During my foreign political economy class, I had to deliver a thirty page paper on the law of the seas, it went very well until one student asked me a question that confused me, I don't know if it was because by that time, my brain had been fried from the stress of delivering the paper or I didn't know as much on the subject as I should have, but thank the stars my professor bailed me out and took over her line of questioning and turned it back on her. Yeepee for me.

The second time was at the Historical Society and I had horrible stress induced dreams for weeks prior to my speaking engagement, I was naked for so many of those dreams, it was awful. My talk went really well, according to my audience, one gentleman asked me if I was a professor because I spoke so well. All that I remember was that by the end I couldn't remember what I had said and I had to have faith that all of my preparation had served me well and that I was coherent, that was my one concern.

If I was asked to speak once more, methinks that you would find me in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet so that you couldn't see my feet. It is too stressful and those naked dreams aren't enjoyable.

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