A Semi-Forlorn Hope

By Iya Perez

The horrors of public speaking engulf me in their torturous shadows. The images of my childhood self coerced into speaking in front of the class still haunt me to this day. Being fifteen now, I feel really frustrated with just the idea of being pressured to solely stand in front of a sea of both familiar and unknown faces. How much more excruciating would it be if I’d have let my uneasy voice flow through their ears and for them to be processed in the minds of those people? It seems as if I’ve not learned how to grow out of this fear.
No matter how much I prepare for it, or even if I have a script memorized beforehand, the very sight of the various faces in front of me (regardless of what their expressions would specifically be) will always lead my mind to go overboard on drawing conclusions. Thus, malfunctioned thunders begin to clash in my mind as my mind literally clears up, causing me to twist up my words, for my vision to redden with alarm, for my body to moisten up with sweat. It’s a very tormenting process which only leaves me in a lorn state.

The terrifying events of public speaking expand to the simplest, most basic form of public speaking: casual conversation. This week for me has involved a lot of crying, and I’m not brave enough to admit that out loud. The reasons why I cried? I had to speak in front of a crowd once again and failed to articulate my thoughts accurately. Masking the truth can be a very deadly silence. The realization that really twists my mind is the fact that due to my succumbing into such withdrawal, I have become afraid of being human in front of, well, other humans. Sometimes, the roots of this fear that I have are tortuously packed into a blurry pile. Questions of doubt rumble in my brain as I hold myself hostage as my mind resonates with the question, "Why I just can’t seem to get a hold of myself in situations when I lose strength to push my voice out in my mind?". Despite the cloudy state of my mind in a time like this, a very vital thought would always surge upon the mists: What will become of my future if I keep submitting myself to this routine?

Let’s all face it, everyone recoils at the sense of silence. This is no secret, no matter how hard we try to mask this reality away. This human intimidation greets us in many ways in our day-to-day activities. It comes when a conversation inevitably halts to a stop, sealing the conversation with this so-called awkward silence. It comes when you stand in front of a mass of people, waiting for your voice to awaken them, and once you feel as if your voice gets beaten down by a lump clutching on your throat, it’s when uneasiness would decide to just swallow you whole. It also comes when you feel as if the silence you are tossing to someone as you give them a glimpse of your soul when you speak allows them space to judge you from the inside. It comes when no matter how hard you try to submerge yourself into slumber at the dead hour of the night, you always find yourself bouncing back into consciousness. Even worse, you are led into a trap of entertaining unwanted thoughts. The list could stretch to even more personal and specific experiences, but I think it’s also fair that we acknowledge that silence bears power not only in its negative aspects, but as well as in its positive ways. As they do say, silence is the most basic outlet to practice the gift solely handed to humanity— to think, to reflect, to meditate. It allows us to soak ourselves into a void where we can try to find ourselves as wholly human beings—through creating art, music, writing, relaxing, evaluating yourself or by just simply calling out events in our lives.

No one is an exception to being vulnerable. We all have our weaknesses, our fatal flaws. And silence does not count as an exception to this as well. I truly believe that silence, no matter how powerful it could be, will always have its counterpart of Kryptonite or Achilles’ Heel. If we try to take into context the times when injustice flourishes, this is where silence meets its end. I know that opening your eyes, watching, observing and studying, it shouldn’t just stop there. Change—it's all about fighting your fears on both the external and internal noises. It’s all about breaking the silence and spreading the awareness. It’s all about involving your voice, may it be literally vocalized or with the use of our abilities to do art, to write, to dance, create music, do sports, and all that along with the others. Accept judgments, learn with humility and without bias.

So now here is my problem: It doesn’t feel enough; I do not feel enough. I feel as though I am not good enough or at least uncomfortable with speaking my thoughts unlike when I pour out my inner voices on a sheet of paper. Frankly, I feel like this article is not much of a good one as it doesn’t seem to be any helpful, whereas most articles present a problem and complement them with a direct and transparent solution. This is just me, a nobody who may face similar shortcomings as you do, spilling out thoughts I feel the need to just spill out. Everybody wants to be listened to and I’m one of them, thus this was created, only making me again a victim of my shameful routine. I know I’ll find a way to get my voice out there in a satisfying manner. The pressure which comes from within is worse than that of an external sense And the pressure inside me, I suppose, could be insinuated by the pressure outside like I am a mirror reflecting the pressure of my environment when asked to speak out publicly. The trick here is to cover up the mirror. I know it’s a long process, similar to escaping a labyrinth. If I’ve entered this maze, then I’m pretty sure there is a way out. No rush- that would be a nice reminder.

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