stage fright, you’re not the boss of me.

My three greatest fears in life (aside from the obvious fears of losing loved ones and finding a rat in the toilet) are:

1. Going blind.
2. Public speaking.
3. Sharks.

In that order.

Last night I had the opportunity to grab the business end of #2 and show it who’s boss.*

*Disclaimer: despite how brave my late-30’s may be making me, I will never – let me just repeat that, NEVER – grab the business end of #3. Just wanted to clear that up.

About a month ago, I learned about something called a “Story Slam” that was happening on our little island. It was being put on by Field’s End, this cool community that supports writers. You sign up. You bring a story based on the prompt “Away From Home”. You get 5 minutes. No notes. Just you, the stage and a microphone.

A. I’ve never stepped foot on a stage in my life.
B. I’ve never spoken into a microphone (except in the shower, but my bottle of shampoo doesn’t count).
C. See #2 above.

Sure thing, sign me up! I had a fairly funny “Away From Home” story to tell, so I put on my Big Girl panties and did this thing.

Guess what? I had SO. MUCH. FUN.

The place was packed, but luckily the audience was really friendly and supportive. There wasn’t a heckler among them.

OK, I’ll admit that I might have gotten some seriously sweaty pits when I saw a few members of my church and realized suddenly that they were going to hear me drop the
F-bomb in my story, but I worked through it with a few deep breaths and a sip of wine.

Because I realized that despite my anxiety, I am just human and so are they. I took my flawed, imperfect self right up there and gave it all I had.

I wasn’t writing a clever tweet. I wasn’t posting a partial-truth photo of myself on Facebook, strategically cropped so you’d see only the best of me.

I was really up there. With my grown-out roots that are begging for a touch-up. With the extra pounds that insist on following me everywhere I go.

I was really up there. With my own voice. No rewind, pause or edit button.

Alright, so I didn’t win the tote bag or any of the other prizes. But I DID win the satisfaction of knowing that my fears do not own me.

They are a part of me, sure. They rent a room from me and sometimes they are really inconsiderate and drink milk straight from the carton and don’t put it back in the fridge.

But you know what? My fears are just one part of me. They don’t DEFINE me. And last night, I took a step closer to conquering them.

What is something that you’re proud of doing, even though it scared the crap out of you? I’d love to hear from you!

22 thoughts on “stage fright, you’re not the boss of me.

  1. Melisa Lunt, you ROCKED it! You didn’t seem nervous at all. You had no quiver in your voice or red in your cheeks and no one could see the sweaty pits. And please let me clear some things up for you. #1 Roots? No. Didn’t notice any. #2 Extra pounds? Absolutely not! You, my dear, are one hot mama!

  2. Just thinking of public speaking scares the shit out of me! I think it’s AWESOME that you conquered that fear–is it something you’d do again?? Also, what story did you tell?! As soon as I read the prompt, I thought, “I hope she told the panty story!”

    • Thank you so much, Katie! My heart is still racing just thinking of it. A glass (or two) of wine HELPED. Though my opening line was, “Hi, my name is Melisa and I haven’t had nearly enough wine.” 🙂 YES, I told the panty story with the F-BOMB and everything!!!! Eek! I would totally do it again IF I felt confident enough that I had the right story to bring to the table.

  3. Congrats, that’s so awesome! I used to have to speak a lot for work. I was terrified at first but if you do it enough it doesn’t even phase you anymore (I did it for almost 20 years!)! Last thing I did that scared the crap out of me was save my 8yo from a spider. I hate spiders. Totally irrational but I can’t help it!

    • Aren’t fears DEFINED as irrational?? Good for you, girl! I used to have to speak in front of clients for my job and hated every minute so desperately. My face would turn SO RED – I was known for my red face. Just awful.

  4. Good for you – and a funny story that the audience would identify with is perfect.

    Although I did a fair amount of public speaking when I was young (my mother, a teacher, strongly encouraged it), I became very shy in high school and stayed that way until my late 20s/early 30s. I still dreaded speaking in public though. I think the breakthrough was when my Dad (stepfather) died and I wanted to tell everyone at his memorial service how much he meant to me and so I volunteered to speak. It was hard but I would have forever regretted not doing it. Now I organise a fundraising event every year and MC the whole day!

    I hope you have the opportunity to do it again.

  5. I’m so glad you did that! There is nothing like putting yourself (and your story) out there in person, where you can connect with the audience and experience the moment as a group. The first time is always the hardest.

  6. Congrats on facing your fear!! :)) each time you do it, it gets easier. A fear but also a goal I achieved was my first marathon…I wanted it for so long but was afraid of not being able to finish/being too slow/messing my body up…but I did it, became obsessed, did another one two months later this past may, BQed, and now all I want to do is marathons, lol. Congrats again and you look great!! Next up: shark tank! Hehehehe jk 😉

  7. Well???? You gotta share the story you told now!
    Glad you faced your #2. (Fear that is). I actually love public speaking and had a job giving brewery tours in college. 5-25 new people every 2 hous or so. Loved it.

  8. Melisa!
    I LOVE your passion in life!
    You are REAL and I love that about you!
    I too have a huge fear of speaking in front of people!
    Totally flunked Speech 101 my freshman year in college.
    Good for you!
    Seriously admire what you did!
    I too am petrified of SHARKS!!! Not even kidding! I won’t even swim in the dark, deep end of our pool at the farm at night~ totally scared a SHARK might be in the water. I wish I were kidding but I’m not! 😉
    Also petrified of BEARS on trails!
    I seriously need to get hypnotized to conquer the BEAR phobia!
    Hugs and cheers!
    That must have been so FUN listening to everyone share stories!

  9. Public speaking has never been my favorite thing. When I started a new position a couple years ago, it involved speaking in front of small groups of 5-30 people, usually for 30-45 minutes, standing on their level, no mics. Scary at first but I got used to it. Then a new part of the position involved me speaking to a large group of people 100-400 for two hours! In a theater, with a mic and bright, blinding stage lights. And these people didn’t want to be there. They were court-ordered. Yikes. I was terrified the first few times, but I soon realized they didn’t know that I was new to all of that. My motto soon became “fake it, till you make it!”

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