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!