Don’t Be Afraid

Traci - Healdsburg, California
Entered on September 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: fear
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I have feared public speaking my entire life. Whenever I find out that I will have to stand up in front of my peers and speak my mind, my nerves take over. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple class discussion, speech, or an essay. I have never liked it. When I find out that I will have to give a speech, I write it and then place myself in front of the mirror and read it over and over until I love it. And even though I have reached a comfort level with my speech, I still dread doing it. I worry about what my peers may be thinking. I believe that public speaking is the scariest thing there is.

From my junior to senior year I have really changed. During my junior year I was always questioning myself, I didn’t have very much confidence in who I was. However, as the year went on I started to realize that I cared way too much of what other people might be thinking. So, I decided that as of this moment I’m going to stop worrying about what every one else might think, and enjoy my time as me. Even though that I found this confidence in myself I still feared public speaking. I was happy with myself but I always felt very vulnerable in front of all of these people I had grown up with. Then, over the summer I came across a quote that said, “There is only one thing more frightening then speaking and that is not speaking.” Even though it may sound cheesy, this quote changed my idea of public speaking. I asked myself if I would rather sit in the back of the classroom keeping all of my opinions to myself, or if I would rather take part in discussions and say what was on my mind.

I decided to speak up. So I started my senior year with amazing confidence. I have been speaking up during my peer coaching Monday night classes, I have been friendlier to those around me, all because I learned not to care what others may or may not be thinking. My mom has always told me that everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to be worrying about you. She told me that I needed to be confident in who I am and just enjoy my time.

Public speaking will always be a little scary. I will always be nervous before giving a speech, even if I know that it is the best that I could have done. But once I am up there giving my speech all fear trickles away. When I have those few minutes to just speak my mind I am only focused on the words I am speaking. I am completely in my speech and am not worrying about what everyone else in the room is thinking. Speaking up isn’t the scariest thing in the world. Because once you’re up there and speaking, you’ve already gotten over the hardest part, and that is taking a chance and speaking up.