crazy thoughts on speaking days

I know that lots of people are petrified of public speaking…

In fact, one website lists these:

Top 10 Phobias

1. Public Speaking or Stage Freight – 19%
2. Death and End of Life – 16%
3. Spiders and other Arachnids Creatures – 13%
4. Darkness and Twilight – 12%
5. Heights, Altitudes, and Elevations – 11%
6. People and Social Situations – 10%
7. Flying in Airplanes – 7%
8. Open Spaces and Squares – 5%
9. Natural Thunder and Lightning – 4%
10. Confined Spaces and Small Rooms – 3%

I’m not afraid of public speaking, persay, but there is a certain nervous energy that courses through my veins on a day when I am speaking at a church or campus event. Speaking days are just a different brand of days, and in the midst of them, I am aware and deeply amused by the craziness level that comes from my own brain. I’m usually a pretty level-headed person, but on speaking days, my mind just goes off however it deems fit.

This day, I’m speaking in Senior Chapel at APU, and find myself extra crazy (on the inside)….

The inner dialogue on a day like today, a speaking day, includes fleeting thoughts like…

  • What am I going to wear? I have no clothes. None. Why didn’t I buy new clothes? How am I ever going to be able to afford to buy new clothes?
  • How does this blow dryer work, again? Honestly, have I ever done this before?
  • My roommates are so tan, maybe they would have been better choices for this.
  • What if they turn my microphone on while we are singing? Or when I’m in the bathroom? Or what if it’s on and I say something embarrassing and the whole chapel hears it?
  • Maybe I should paint my nails. Will that make my hands look too white? I should at least file them.
  • Why did they even ask me to speak? I have nothing to say.
  • Should I brush my teeth before I speak? Is that weird?
  • How many is too many rings to wear?
  • Not boots, Sarah, what are you, going to an equestrian show?
  • What if I develop Tourette’s on the way to chapel tonight and then spout profanities from the microphone? Can they fire me for having a mental illness?
  • Should I buy candy to give out? That totally works with the high schoolers.
  • How can I just make sure they don’t hate me? Do people ever riot against a chapel speaker? What if they riot against my uncoolness?
  • Should I check that app all the students are on? TikTak? Will they know I’m looking at it?
  • What if I eat something that makes me sick and I’m that speaker who pukes on stage?
  • Should I make jokes? How do you even find jokes to tell onstage?Maybe I should watch some comedians for inspiration…
  • I still don’t know what to wear. What if I’m cold and my teeth start chattering? What if I’m hot and get sweaty? How can I know what the temperature will be like?
  • What if I start rambling because I’m nervous and literally can’t stop?
  • Do they do the “music plays when you’re over time” thing in chapel, like at the Oscars?
  • Why didn’t I pay more attention to every other chapel speaker I’ve ever heard?
  • Will they know my toenail polish looks awful?
  • I bet Shauna Niequist doesn’t talk to herself like a crazy person before she speaks somewhere….
  • Is this like swimming, where I shouldn’t eat without a 30 minute break before speaking? Will I get cramps? Is that a thing?
  • Do I have to go? If I send someone else to do it instead of me, will that be a viable option? Maybe I could ask someone at work…
  • What if I really forgot to change my clock and I end up being there an hour late?
  • What if I misunderstood and I’m just supposed to be introducing the person who is really speaking? Should I double-check?
  • What if I wrote down the wrong topic?
  • Is it time to go yet?

Keep in mind, I’ve done this many time before. I don’t know what my problem is, but I hope it brought you some entertainment today.

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