I really shouldn’t try to flesh out half-formed ideas on the computer right before bed, so let me say that the gist of the following ramblings will boil down to: I wish someone had told me as a kid that I will fail/do badly at things several times before said thing gets better/easier to do.
It all started Sunday morning when Lloyd was leading services at the nursing home. He’s done this a couple of other times, and I enjoy it because it’s the closest I get to seeing him in ‘teacher’ mode. He is nervous about doing it, but you can’t tell, and I started thinking how he had to be less nervous this time since he had done this before.
So then I started thinking about me, since I do that a lot.
When I was little, I never wanted to be in front of people. I would rather die than have to have many eyes on me. I believe I relived a story like that for you. Same in high school, same in college. I liked to sing, but definitely wasn’t solo material. We used to have mini-recitals in college that were part of your grade, and once Lloyd came to watch me and said, “It’s interesting watching your skirt while you sing. You’re shaking so hard it looks like you’re marking double-time to the music.” Thanks, Lloyd.
Same with public speaking. I quit the speech team in high school before ever participating in a meet. As an adult, I’ve had to do some presentations, and used to have to take medicine to suppress my body’s reaction to adrenaline. My brain would be fine, but my body would go into shake overdrive. I could have made butter if you hung a jar of cream around my neck.
But it’s better now. I can talk in front of adults now with just a bit of nervousness, and if I would keep doing that, it would probably go away completely. (Not the singing, though. That ship has sailed.)
So, does this make sense? If someone had sat down with 18-year-old Lauren and said, “You are going to speak in public – say – 30 times before you get comfortable in front of people. It will be a complete train wreck for the first 10, less awful for the next 10, and kind of alright for the last 10.”
If someone had said that, then I wouldn’t have minded how horrible it was. “Well, at least I just have 9 more awful times left. Let’s just get through those.”
Did this make any amount of sense? My wise sister, Keren, once told me, “Every time you do something – even if you do it badly – it prepares you for the next time you have to do it.” See, I needed that earlier in my life, but I’m glad to have it now.n’t