Breaking a Leg
I decide to bear my testimony every Fast Sunday so that 1) I get extra blessings and 2) to get over my fears of speaking in public.
Age 11 or 12
After years of being the first to go up every Fast Sunday, I decide that I’m just as scared as I was the first time I went up. I give up. The first Sunday where I had to stay sitting in the pew was horrendous. I felt the eyes of the whole congregation waiting for me, expecting me to jump up and bear my testimony. But I didn’t. So there.
I try out for the school play Cheaper by the Dozen. I do not make it. Intimidated by the other thespians, I give up and never try out for a play in high school again. I try speech team, and as a freshman am assigned the most boring event, Oratorical Declamation, for which I deliver an Anna Quindlen commencement speech as dryly as is human possible. I rarely place in my event. I do not continue to do speech team after my freshman year.
I start giving talks in sacrament meetings. They are either amazing or terrible. There is no in between.
I give piano recitals and if you look closely, my legs visibly shake every time.
I decide to try out for a comedy troupe. I write my routine. I practice it. I do it for my roommates. I get to the try outs and intimidated by the other 70 people trying out, I decide to go home.
I present my math research at a couple of conferences. My presentations are good, but because my advisor is so technologically behind, he has me use the blackboard and chalk presentation method while everyone else uses Powerpoint-like presentations.
I am asked to give various talks on cultural acceptance of breastfeeding as well as the mechanics of breastfeeding. I present to college classes, high school classes, nursing students, churches. I’m not too shabby.
When Lady Gaga becomes a thing, I wonder to myself, “We’re the same age, how come she has so much stage presence and I don’t?”
My husband and I go to many improv shows as date nights. I keep telling myself, “I could do that. I could. It doesn’t look that hard.” At a birthday party my daughter was invited to, I run into one of the improvers that we see a lot and tell her about my desire to do improv. She acts encouraging and tells me I could even go up on stage with her troupe if I took some classes.
After taking an intro class in May and a performance class in July, I perform in an improv show, featuring my class. I didn’t try the skits that were more difficult, but I did go up twice and did well at least one of the times. Many of the students have taken the performance class multiple times and I’m afraid that it’s obvious I haven’t. I had 17 friends and family in the audience and felt very supported. I think I’ll take the class again in the fall.