Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What am I afraid of?


When Bonnie at Original Art Studio asked in her interview what I am afraid of, I recall telling her that I am not afraid of anything. But I realize that is not really true, though I thought it was at the time. I try to be honest with myself, you, and most of all with Bonnie. (She's a psychotherapist.)

I have to get up in front of people and give a presentation in the morning. It's all of five minutes, no multimedia. Just a short explanation of the new curriculum in my department to the university's advisors who are interested. But I'd much rather stand, silent, like a tree or a corn stalk. From how wordy I am at this blog you might think I would like to talk in front of people. Well I do like talking to one person at a time, and listening to them talk back. So what makes me nervous about getting up there and holding fifty people captive, with their wide eyes and expectant faces? It's like flying on a plane. I get nervous about being up there in the air without anything beneath me except, well, air, and the hard ground far below. I'm not afraid of dying, not a bit. I think I'm being honest about that. It's not that I am ready to die. I want to live long enough to hold my future grandbabies and look into their eyes within minutes or hours of their entry into the light of the world. I want to hear what they have to tell me just then, so soon out of the core, before we and all the world around them make them unlearn it. I do want to live long enough for that. But fear of the plane crashing is not about being afraid of death. Sometimes I'm afraid of the plane going down because of the few minutes I would be conscious of what's coming. I am afraid of fear. When I watch a scary movie, I love the suspense. But I refuse to watch them, because I am afraid of the fear I spent most of my life feeling, a constant bogey man hovering behind me, every second of my life when I was alone in the dark, until just a very few years ago, when my spiritual journey helped me to release the concept of demons into the ether. The fear of standing and speaking in front of a large audience, the fear of the plane crashing, the fear of invisible demons . . . these are all fears of something that isn't quite real, of something mysterious, something I can't know. Will my plane go down? Are there ghosts sitting in the darkness watching me? Will my brain freeze and gibberish stutter out of my mouth in the morning? I don't know. I can't know. But if I take hold of the fear of fear and accept that all these things are possible, and ask, What's the worst that can happen? . . . there is a good amount of relief.

Isn't this broom corn peaceful, just standing there, under clouds that arrange themselves like white foamy waves on the surface of a deep, mysterious and sometimes turbulent sea?



The Bug said...

I took public speaking in high school, but for the longest time I could not speak in front of people without a memorized speech in my head. Then my last job required that I give presentations to new hires & I was pretty freaked out. But the more I learned the material the less freaked out I was. I wasn't afraid of questions because I knew the answers. I wasn't afraid to give out the info because these people really wanted to hear what I had to say (I was talking about their benefits!).

Now, whether I was GOOD at it is a whole other thing. LOL. But I wasn't afraid anymore.

You'll be fabulous because you have a much better command of the English language than I do :)

The Solitary Walker said...

Taking hold of the fear... and then just doing it, what the hell. That's it. I'm sure you 'perform' well, despite the anxiety. You must do, as you do it regularly. What you feel is only natural and normal. Many actors, for instance, are sick and ill before they go on stage. And then they go and do what they have to do.

I also used to get wound-up with nervousness before giving presentations, talking in conference rooms before a crowd of people, etc. But you can learn to bring it off, even get a buzz out of it. I'm sure you know this anyhow!

Thanks for such an open and honest post, Ruth. Wonderfully liberating. (A lot of public speakers are so boring and egocentric anyway - and they just don't realise it, so bound up as they are with their own puffed-up self-importance...)

Bonnie said...

What an interesting piece of introspection Ruth. Most of our fears are derivative - usually meant to distract us from our primary fears. As you describe it, you are not afraid of the process/act of dying, but more of non-existence before you have met certain life goals.

Speaking in front of a group is usually related to the bizarre anxiety we all have of not being 'perfect' - or of being assessed as not good enough. May or may not be true in your case - only you can determine that. Not being perfect is one of the main unaddressed sources of anxiety in our culture.

Seems to me that you provide an answer to your concern in the last two lines of your post. It is always a thrill to see how our unconscious holds the answers and offers them up to us - as yours does, it seems to me, when you describe your last photograph.

The main sources of anxiety are the existential givens of life, a few of which you address in your post:
* mortality
* meaning
* freedom/responsibility
* aloneness
When we do not or cannot address them directly, our psyche presents other 'derivative' fears that may lead us to the work we are all called to do - come to terms with these existential givens.

I know you will do fine tomorrow - especially if you heed your own wisdom in the description of the corn stalks.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Like the other commenters, I was quite taken by your drawing us into this piece of introspection — fear, the nature of fear, hoow much of it is natural, how much learned or drummed in to us, how hard it is to let it go. About the specific event tomorrow, how well do you ‘perform’ with nervous energy? Obviously, some people are stymied by nervousness and do poorly, but others need a certain amount of jangling in their nerves to do well. I know the latter was my case when I used to play competitive chess (I know, not the same thing as speaking in front of people); it wasn’t until I was literally trembling with nerves that I knew I was really ready to concentrate on the ‘battle’.

I remember having seen my daughter Isabel fight off her nervousness before her concerts as cellist. One trick I tried, as preposterous as it might seem, is that just before she would go on, I would tell her “Just remember, if it doesn’t sound perfect, I’ll throw you off the balcony (we live six flights up).” It always got a laugh and seemed to help her relax. Don’t know what Dr. Spock (or the downstairs neighbors) would think of that, though. Perhaps this is not a very rational approach to fear, but then fear isn't very rational most of the time, is it?

So, if you don’t absolutely nail it tomorrow, Ruth, I will personally start a movement for all your hundreds of blog followers to leave your blog and then go to your house and burn down the barn. Just think about that as you begin your presentation …

Just in case, it does come off perfect tomorrow, we can all keep coming back here to synch for more such engaging introspective posts. Why the last line alone, with your ‘love the apples’ description of the broom corn, is enough to hook anyone.

Good luck and clear the barn just in case.

Ruth said...

Dana, I think you must have been good, because I can hear the enthusiasm in your voice. I think what you said is key, that if you know the content backwards and forwards, and when you're giving out information the audience needs and wants, you almost can't miss! Part of my anxiety for tomorrow is that the curriculum is so new, vast and complicated, that I am learning it myself still. I guess the best thing is to be honest, do the best I can, and be relaxed. People get uncomfortable when you're uncomfortable!

cathyswatercolors said...

I love how you think. I fear republicans taking over the senate, especially the wacky tea party.
Fear of public speaking, hmmm, i have confidence that you will do fine. You will get thru this.
Idon't care for public speaking either. I find that if i look at the audience i am less fearful. After all at least half are not interesting and the other half is just kind,considerate moms,dads,husbands,wives and fiends like you and me.....
You know what i really fear??? I fear that i will have to listen to Sarah Palin speak, man o man is her voice bothersome!

I am sending you goood speaking vibes! xox Cathy

Oliag said...

I am sure my mother did not know it, but somehow or other I managed to watch one of the versions of Boris Karloff's "The Mummy" when I was quite young...ever since I have been looking over my shoulder..especially when people are burning leaves! Intellectually I always knew there was no reason for fear...but it can't be helped...part of the survival instincts of humans I believe...

Ruth said...

Robert, thanks so much for the tips you learned from your presentations. I have heard that too, that there is a certain amount of "good nervousness" that makes you alive and interesting. I wouldn't want to be too relaxed! I sort of wish I did this more often, so that when I do it, I wouldn't go through this. But only stepping up front a few times a year, I never quite get used to it.

I hope you have a beautiful journey, wherever you're headed. Now solitude, that's what I want. Wanna trade places?

Ruth said...

Bonnie, I feel much better now that I've "come clean" about my fears.

I also feel more enlightened after your comment! Was that free? I feel like I just got a professional session with you. I've always wished I could sit and talk with a therapist . . . someone to listen to me with their undivided attention!

I have no doubt that the fear of being imperfect tomorrow is the root fear going on for that event. What if they ask me something I can't answer? I always dislike presenting to people I feel are smarter than I am. If anyone ever asks me to do a presentation to the professors in my department, I might quit my job. :)

I'll think like Cézanne, thanks to you and Lorenzo: Be the cornstalk.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, I will try to remember the things you have offered here. You and Robert suggest that the nerves can serve. So that will be one mantra: Let the nerves serve. Hey, that's a jangle jingle.

I pretty much love what you told Isabel, because you instantly diffused the weight and import of being perfect. You showed her that she didn't need to be perfect for you, in a way she couldn't argue with, instead of, Oh, you'll be fine, Dear, you'll be perfect . . . , which would have made her feel more pressure to be perfect! I receive your dubious threat with the same giggle she must have greeted your threat.

You played competitive chess? Figures. :)

George said...

First, Ruth. let me tell you how much I love that first photo. It's stunning and stunningly peaceful. A good place for you to begin tomorrow might be to keep this image in your head, not the image of "all those people" sitting there waiting for your presentation.

You have already been given some good advice, but I will throw in my two cents worth, based upon an entire career of speaking before courts, panels, regulatory agencies, and various other assemblies. First, I suggest that you recognize that fear of public speaking is the rule, not the exception, so there is nothing abnormal about feeling apprehension. Second, I suggest that you consider the possibility that it is your ego — your conditioned mind and all of it expectations of approval — that is threatened, not the true essence of who you are. Your true self, that higher Ruth — that spinner of words and lover of life — will not be compromised, even it the ego gets bumped around a bit, and, truthfully, I suspect that even your ego is going to do quite well tomorrow. Finally, there is something to be said for the "fake it till you make it" approach. I am not suggesting inauthenticity here, simply that you go into the presentation thinking of yourself as a fearless person, when it comes to public presentations, not a fearful person. Oddly enough, we often become what we imagine ourselves to be, provided that we muster enough imagination, which, of course, you have in great supply.

Good luck, my friend. I'm sure you will do quite well.

lakeviewer said...

Talking to strange faces is always a bit stressful even for professional presenters. You are very aware of your strengths and weaknesses and are not afraid to state your opoinions either. More of us should learn from such a stand.

Ruth said...

Cathy, yes, I like the idea of looking at the audience. In the past I have successfully thought about it as talking to one person, such as one of my advisees. I will focus on what I know, and I'll also turn it to them for questions, since I don't necessarily know what they want to know.

You totally crack me up with your Election Night fears! I just voted on my way home, and I tell you, if the country, the county, and our state ran as smoothly as my polling place did tonight, we'd be in great shape!

Thanks so much for the good vibes!

Vagabonde said...

Both of your pictures are outstanding. I love the sky of the first one and the golden colours in the trees.
I understand your fear. I am not afraid of flying in airplanes, I am afraid of being in a car as I know many people who died in car accidents, none in aircraft.
Different people have different fears. I am not really afraid of speaking in front of a group, but I dislike it. The reason I dislike it a lot is because I know my French accent comes out very heavy. When I speak I usually don’t hear the accent, but in front of a group I can hear it, so I know it must sound very heavy and I know that some people don't understand me. Where was I last time I spoke like that? Ah yes, it was in the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side of New York a couple of weeks ago. I asked a question to the tour guide about the tenement apartment and everyone in the group turned around and looked at me. I was the only foreigner born in the small group – actually I asked if there were many French immigrants in that area of New York at the time. He said no, and they all looked me over – I was not afraid, just uncomfortable. I don’t like my accent. But you are from the US speaking in your country so you will use the right vocabulary with the right accent and everything will be OK. Just think how much worse it would be if you had to do this speech in French in front of a French audience – but where you are… a piece of cake as they say,

Friko said...

I can't altogether remember but I think I replied to that particular question by admitting my fear of fear.

Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway. Possibly another trite and hackneyed bit of lore, but like all of those, it has a kernel of truth.

A major part of my job was to speak in front of groups of men, up to 40 at a time and sometimes more. Of course, I was afraid; but there was no help for it, I had to do it, so I stepped out and did it. And always got away with it.

I have the ability to project confidence, even if I am standing right next to myself with nerves, watching myself do it. I can hear the fear in my voice that nobody else seems to hear.

There is a thought that might help: The people who come to hear you believe that you know what you are talking about, they come willing to listen and will be well-disposed towards you. After all, would you be standing there, speaking to them, if that were not so?

Ruth said...

Oh Oliag, I would like to sit and talk with you about this. (And so many other things.) These indelible events and images that shape us, I thought I'd never get over mine. I've read that the instinctive responses in our brains when we watch frightening and violent movies are the same as if they were really happening to us. Clearly there are other brain activities compensating when we watch a movie, but the images and feelings still remain there. I can't tell you how grateful I was to finally be free of these fears that tormented me.

Ruth said...

Hello, George. Thank you for attending to my photograph there. The other night I was sitting on the computer chatting with a friend, and suddenly I looked up and saw the light outside, and I said, Gotta go out with my camera, the light! You know how it is. (I don't think my friend minded, as we were at the end of our conversation.)

I appreciate your triple approach. It actually helps me now to think of everyone having the same nerves. I see people speak so often, so effortless, and I assume they don't feel what I feel. But surely you must be right. As for your second and third parts, I like how they are melding in my mind right now. I can go tomorrow with the belief that who I am will not be affected by whatever happens, and that I really am a fearless person, as you have pointed out before (and I seemed to think at least for a while, in my answer to Bonnie). Maybe the key here is to think of these temporary jitters as my leaves blowing in the breeze, but my trunk and branches staying still, rooted in who I am.

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my reflections, George, it means so much to me. With all this encouragement and support tonight, I feel my confidence rising every minute.

Shaista said...

But you're Ruuuuutttthhhh!!!!!
I wanna be there!!! I will be there :) Do you know that I want to come and learn how to public speak/poetry speak from you? When I heard your podcast of your poems I made Mum and Dad listen and I said, this, this is how I want to sound - confident, clear and as though each word belongs in my mouth before falling to ears.
Like Ruuuuuttthhhh!!!

♥ Kathy said...

I feel so many of the fears you were talking about. I appreciate getting to know you better in this post...I feel much closer to you now ♥

ds said...

Dang. I was all set to tell you to "be the broom corn" but Lorenzo and Bonnie beat me to it. Much more eloquently. So I guess I'll merely repeat the old saw about imagining your audience seated in their underwear and leave it at that.

And when you come home, you will have that beautiful light and peaceful barn...

C.M. Jackson said...

Ruth--first, you are magnificent in your ability to put thoughts on a page and inspire in new ways and second, we all are afraid of speaking in public--I recently accepted a position in a professional organization that will require me to get up in front of a hundred people. Why? Because I feel I must overcome this thought that I can't do it! Think of your passion for the word and image and then pour that into your presentation--you are and will be magnificent!!! When I come back I look forward to reading all of the advice to this post and I am going to take copious notes because I'm going to need it! Look forward to hearing how it went! c

deb said...

everyone has offered such wisdom and support and insight.

so I'll simply add my " you will so rock" cheer, because I believe you will.

I wish someone could address my fear of driving . Perhaps you will do a poetry reading at a quaint coffee shop soon and I will overcome this barrier to a full life to be in the audience .

love you,
you are perfectly you.

Arti said...

Keat's words came to me as I read your post:

"When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain…"

It's not so much about mortality that we're afraid of, but not having enough time to do what we've wanted to do.

As for public speaking, I'm surprised indeed to learn of your anxiety. Yes, that's it... maybe more anxiety than fear, for you, that is. I can empathize fully with your feeling... I enjoy one-to-one talk, but not 50-to-one, or even 20! I'm sure you fare better.

Ruth said...

Dear Lakeviewer, I am really boosted by your words and confidence in me, along with the support of many others here. Now that it's "the day," I feel more relaxed, which is what often happens. I build up some anxiety until the time comes that I actually do what it is I have to do. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Vagabonde, I'm glad you like the sky and golden colors in that photo. The light was amazing that evening a couple days ago.

You're right about cars vs. airplanes. We were talking about this at work yesterday. You are very rational (I know this about you). Unfortunately, reason does not always carry the day for me. :)

Your description of your time at the tenement museum is deeply sad to me. I believe the responses of those people around you was probably involuntary, but it is very rude. I also am guessing that they wanted to see the person whose accent is very beautiful (Americans love listening to French and British . . . and Australian . . and . . . Hispanic . . and . . speak our language), but it is still rude. I remember feeling precisely what you described in Istanbul the many time I would ride in a dolmus or minibus with other women, and they knew I was a foreigner, and they would look me up and down. How did I wear my hair? Did I have nail polish? What kind of shoes did I have on? I felt like a prize cow. But it was a rare thing to have an American traveling with them that way, and I came to accept it as their natural response. I was still uncomfortable though.

Your words, while sad, do make me awfully grateful that I don't have to face what you describe: speaking to a group whose native language is not my own. It's bad enough being in a long line at the patisserie in Paris and having to order a pain aux raisins in front of them and get out my euros!

Ruth said...

Friko, how about that, you answering Bonnie's question with your fear of fear.

Your description of speaking to audiences of men really gives me pause. But in some way I wonder if they might be an easier audience than women . . . I can't say.

I wish I knew what I was talking about this morning. I know a little, but the curriculum is so new, that even I don't know as much as I will a year or two down the road. Now that I think about that, maybe that is how I can begin, to lower expectations. :) Something on the order of, . . . our new curriculum, with courses I am still learning myself, so let's learn together . . . or something like that. Nothing like a disclaimer to disarm the audience, eh?

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and helpful comment, Friko.

Ruth said...

Shaista, . . . . ! ! ! Knowing you will be there with me in the corridor of my fear helps me so much, Fearless One. You have lifted me up countless times . . .

You made your Mum and Dad listen to my podcasts? Oh my. And what you said, . . . as though each word belongs in my mouth before falling to ears. . . -- how like Shaista, how poetic, how uplifting. Thank you, my friend.

Ruth said...

♥ Kathy, it is so good to know I am not alone in these fears. Your beautiful sentiment really comforts me. Thank you.

Ruth said...

DS, . . . great minds and all. Eloquent yes, but not more than you, my word-beauty friend. I too thought of the underwear visualization . . . and I'll leave it there as well. :)

Yes, when I come home, it will be over!

Ruth said...

C.M., what wonderful and kind thoughts from you. Thank you.

Big congratulations on your new position, not only for the position, but for you taking this bold step. It is an expansive and fearless thing to do, and I wish you all good things on that journey.

I also wish you a wonderful journey to California! I am guessing you are taking this time before you begin your new job venture. I look forward to hearing about the trip when you return.

Ruth said...

Deb, the outpouring of support and encouragement in response to my posting has not only been very practical with terrific tips, it has also warmed and expanded my heart to have such amazing friends here. Your rocking confidence is beautifully given, and happily received.

Wouldn't it be so grand to meet at that quaint coffee shop and read to each other our preacher-kid thoughts, family dreams and heart tremblings?

Love and perfect-isness back at you. xo

Ruth said...

Arti, to think that Keats said/wrote that, when what we have from him so magnificently came within his short 25 years. It breaks my heart . . .

Yes, anxiety is one aspect of fear, and appropriate for thinking about my brief talk today. But I can't get over how very different I feel this morning after the inspirational support I've received from my friends. I am actually looking forward to it!

Friko said...

Dear Ruth,

Re your question as to the first photo on the post on sloes:
Since posting it I've been wondering if anybody actually realises that these are patterns the frost made on the glass roof of the conservatory. It was a sunny morning with blue skies above showing up the patterns very clearly. Fifteen minutes later they had gone.

I have also been wondering if we share a character trait; twice I've seen you deflect genuine compliments and explain why they couldn't possibly be valid.

That's me all over, nothing I do is ever good enough.

If I am wrong and this comment is presumptuous, please forgive me.

rauf said...

oh i don't like horror movies Ruth.
i don't know how scary things can be fun, i wrote this in Julena's Halloween post. We will not understand until it happens to us and people watch our misery on the TV.

Fear actually keeps us going Ruth.
i am afraid of lots of things the list is endless. There are philosophies which promise a constant state of awareness. If you are in a constant state of awareness you will not step out of the house. the world outside becomes so scary. We blunt our fears or set them aside and step out as we have to live in this world. We take a risk.

i stopped writing my blog for a while out of fear of hurting many readers. i started pretending that the world is fine and problems don't exist.

in one part of the world people pray for the sun. in other part of the world people are afraid of the sun.

dutchbaby said...

I will chime in with the others and say how much I adore that first photo. I know exactly what you mean when you ended your phone conversation because of "the light!". A well-chosen photo for this post, with those trees standing in the spotlight.

My friend Dawn coaches executives in Silicon Valley to polish their video and stage presence. She astonishes me when she would tell me about famous and brilliant men who would be so incredibly awkward when faced with an audience. I met her many years ago in a presentation skills class offered at my work. The one piece of advice that has been most helpful is to memorize the first minute or so of your presentation so that you could recite it no matter what. The jitters usually don't last longer than a minute, so by the time you've run out of the memorized copy, you are no longer nervous. She also advices to embrace those butterflies; they are your friends who give you extra energy.

Break a leg!

Wordver: fansest - I think it will be a fan fest.

rauf said...

oh i forgot Ruth,
your government, my government and most of the governments in the world want their citizens to have some kind of fear at any given time. A fearless society is a problem society Ruth. This is nothing new. Fear of hell was created for this reason alone.

The pictures are simply gorgeous Ruth.

Ruth said...

Dear Friko, that pattern was just beautiful, I thought it was fabric! Thank you for coming back to tell me what it was.

I think what you say about deflecting genuine compliments has been true of me in the past. I've been working on it, on receiving them. But you are not far off the mark. My response to you after your first comment was pretty accurate, and not deflection though. The advisors coming together came for updates from several advisors in other departments. And their assumption would be that we would know what we're talking about. My true belief was that I don't know enough about the new curriculum to answer nitty gritty questions if they arose. So it was a genuine deflection. :) Maybe you are referring to another instance.

Ruth said...

rauf, you are so right, there are healthy fears. We have to be honest and stay clear of the fearful things that would harm us.

I think we have to decide for ourselves which fears are worth going after and trying to overcome. My fear of being alone in the dark went away by itself, after I got my head right. I had been afraid of something that now I believe doesn't exist, but I didn't go after it in a logical way. It was just a result of the soul path I was on, and scouring myself for bad habits.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, I'm glad you like that photo and also understand the need to jump up for the light! And I bet you make your car companions stop with you for certain scenic pictures while driving, like me?

Your friend Dawn has good ideas. Inge and I were talking about that first point last night, how once you start, usually the nervousness goes away. Embrace the butterflies. I know what you mean, but have you ever tried embracing a butterfly . . . ? :D

Thank you so much for your encouragement and tips!

Ruth said...

rauf, did you hear about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's rally last Saturday in Washington DC? It was a rally to restore sanity and/or fear. Stephen Colbert pretends to be a staunch conservative, and so he was pretending to want to keep fear alive. I agree with you completely, that people who are afraid can be controlled.

Susan said...

Ah yes, the fear of being imperfect and the fear of fear has shaped my life and who I am and still does to this day. Fear. It's what keeps countries and congregations under control, isn't it? So. Powerful.

A lot of people believe I am fearless, and I have them fooled. True, I have conquered many of my fears, but it's always that "being thought of as imperfect" that brings me to my knees. And public speaking is numero uno. It's what made me quit college, for heaven's sake. You are not alone in this fear.

Of course, I am writing this after reading your subsequent post, but I knew you would knock it out of the park. You always face your demons and smirk in their faces. Don't deny it. You do.

rauf said...

yes Ruth, i watched it on the youtube, couldn't understand most of it. watched only Jon Stewart. Never heard of Colbert, sounds familiar though

Jeanie said...

I see now. And you are a wise woman to understand the fears. I talk like that all the time, but long ago, I couldn't stand in front of a class or get on a stage. Terrified. For me, it was a good teacher and caring enough about what I had to say that it overcame the nerves.

I know you were fine from your other post; but I think I would know it anyway. I have such faith in your abilities.

Ruth said...

Dear Susie, our society is powerful, the way it shapes us to want to be perfect. It is no wonder that you, or I, or anyone would be afraid of failing. Your awareness of these things helps you face it head on, just as mine doing so helps me too.

Your constant support, encouragement, confidence and love sustain me more than I can say. Thank you so much, my precious friend.

Ruth said...

rauf, oh good, I'm glad you watched Stewart. That is mostly what we watched too. I think he really wants to help people think for themselves.

Ruth said...

Jeanie, and to think that you are on TV and radio now!!! Thank goodness for your teacher who helped.

Thank you for your faith in me, very much.

Gwei Mui said...

What many "speakers" forget is people are coming to hear you speak because what you have to share is important and the reason that you're doing it is you are the expert. You would not be human if you didn't feel slightly nervous before speaking in public. I am sure you will speak well and you will do it with style.

Ginnie said...

I have never forgotten Billy Graham once saying he was nervous every time he stood up to speak, Ruth. Imagine that! A friend years ago told me the audience gives us energy once we start talking, and I have indeed found that to be true. I'm guessing by now you are on Cloud 9...which I will now go and read....