succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, January 12, 2007

Performance Anxiety

Well, this is a revolting new development. We all know I love to talk. But there was a period toward the end of high school until about halfway through undergrad when I developed a moderate amount of nervousness about public speaking. I wasn't a very good public speaker during that period, and as usual, as I got nervous, I just talked faster and faster. As I worked toward and eventually defended my masters I practiced more and more and got less nervouse and more...adequate. I still talk too fast. Then I got here, and started teaching, and low and behold, I'm a damn good public speaker! Even at the peaks of my anxiety last year, I still managed to teach class pretty well. My anxiety is in a different place now; therapy works like that. And at the moment, I'm doing generally ok, but I am at a point where it feels a bit like I've ripped off a long-kept scab and left an open, festering wound behind. And apparently a side effect of that is that twice in the past two months I've had panic attacks so badly during the middle of piddly little, totally not important, class presentations that I couldn't breath, thought I might throw up, and nearly couldn't finish the presentation. Blah. Weirdly, from safely back in my seat, no problem speaking to the entire class. I really hope this is temporary...

Also, today's public speaking was thanks to a two-day ethics course I had to take to fulfill a grant requirement. Which is fine, probably even a good thing. But I can't get over how funny it seems that the federal government is requiring me to take an ethics course before they give me money. Shouldn't I be able to require the federal government to take an ethics course before I pay my taxes?


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