I had to give a talk in church yesterday. You’d think that because I give lots of speeches in lots of places, that therefore it must be old news for me now. A walk in the park, a meander on a beach… Ha.
Here’s me and my thought processes from yesterday.
5.45 am – Oh sh**, have I overslept? Did church start already? No? Whew.
6 am – Only three more hours to go. I better get dressed. Tell the Husband to get his kids up and ready. We haven’t been to Sacrament meeting in three months but today, we can’t be late.
7am – I’ve narrowed it down to a black skirt and a MENA designer top. Cant go wrong with a MENA right?…wrong. These flowers make me look more gigantic. My butt is huge in this skirt. Nobody will listen to a word out of my mouth because they’ll be too busy thinking about how gigantic I am. Get changed.
7:15 – This dress doesnt fit anymore. Stupid dress. I hate you. Get changed.
7:30 – Right, I’ve squeezed myself into Spanx and a puletasi. Looks good. Right? Yes? No? Yes.
7:45 – Straighten hair. Need to wear it down so face doesn’t look so big. Husband wants to know why am I straightening my hair when time is running out? He needs to get out of my space before I lose it. Can’t he see I’m a nervous wreck?
8:20 – Ohmagoodness I can’t breathe properly. It’s this Spanx. I’m dying. I can’t wear this. I can’t give a speech when I’m all squished like a sausage about to explode. Get changed. Put on…black skirt and MENA top. The Husband sees me change AGAIN, but knows better than to say anything. 7yr old Bella asks, ‘isn’t that what you were wearing in the beginning?’ Go away. I need to read through my talk one more time. One more time. One more time.
8:35 – We better go. We’re gonna be late. Children get in the car. WAIT THE HELL UP! WHAT ARE YOU WEARING BOY?? Little Son has on a pair of pants that are way too small for him. He’s all wannabe wounded and confused, ‘Whats wrong? I always wear these.’ What’s wrong? He’s so tall now that the pants don’t even touch his ankles. And his bum is about to bust out of the seat. He’s gonna sit down in church and his pants are gonna rip and we’ll all have to look at his bum because you KNOW this boy never wears any underwear. He’s walking like his boy bits are all tied up in a steel vice. That’s how tight his pants are. WHO LET THIS BOY WEAR THESE PANTS DAMMIT?! You need to change boy. He’s whinging that he’s got ’nuffing else to wear‘. I’m not interested in his sob story. I will leave him at home with the dog if I have to. Doesn’t he understand I have to give a speech in thirty minutes? Big Son gets his brother an ie faitaga. We all go to the car. WAIT! I need to pee. Or puke. Or both. Either way, I have to go to the bathroom. Then we leave the house.
9:05 They’re already singing the opening song and saying the prayer. Bishop beckons for me to come sit on the stand with the other lady who’s speaking. I can’t. I feel hyperventilation coming on. I need to pee. Or puke. Maybe faint. I have to go to the restroom.
9:10 I’m still in here. Reading my talk one more time. One more time. It’s nice and peaceful in here. Breathe. Breathe. Do the yoga thing. Okay, you got this Lani. Your hair looks nice, nobody will notice this black skirt makes your bum twice as big – because they will be distracted by the MENA flowery top. What if they hate your talk? Doesn’t matter. They’re not allowed to throw rocks at church. If everybody hates you after this, you can just never come back to church here again. It’s all good. Breathe.
9:15 Go sit down on the stand. Have the bread and water. Say a prayer.
9:20 Panic. Racing in my chest. Sweat. Trickling down my back. I want to jump up and run to my car. Flee…flee…flee! Look at the distant mountains outside. Focus on the clouds and the blue sky. Yoga breaths. You can do this. You’ve given speeches in NZ, Australia, Hawaii, Utah, American Samoa…at universities, schools, literary festivals, Stake Conferences, Regional conferences…you got this. Say a prayer.
9:30 The other woman gets up to say her talk. There’s a sharp pain in my chest and then a spreading numbness down my arm. I’M HAVING A STROKE! SOMEBODY HELP ME I’M HAVING A STROKE!
9:50 She’s still talking. Lots more pages left in her speech. There won’t be any time left for me. Maybe Bishop is going to tell me to wait till next Sunday to give my talk. I wanna be sick. How can I go through this again next week? No, please I have to say my speech today. Now. I feel dizzy. The audience is looking hazy. I’m gonna fall off my chair. I’m fainting. I know why this is happening. Why there’s no time left for my speech, why the other speaker is taking all the time. Because God doesn’t want me to give my talk. It’s a sign. He hates my talk. If I get up there, I’m gonna be struck by lightning. That’s how badly God doesn’t want me saying all this rubbish I’ve got written on these papers.
9:55 She sits down. It’s my turn.
I give my talk.
There’s no lightning. I don’t puke. Or faint. Or fall over. Nobody throws stuff at me. My butt is still gigantic but it’s okay.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way about public speaking? How do you survive?