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"My Fear of Public Speaking" by Josh Abney

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"My Fear of Public Speaking" by Josh Abney

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  • November 4, 2002
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Standing in front of a room filled to the brim with people of all ages, I am utterly without mind. My fingers are numb with fear, and my stomach is turning every which way. I take a deep breath, and try to release all of my bottled up nerves, but no luck. I am more nervous than ever. The hours and hours of rigorous practicing all come down to this final ten-minute interval. This is State finals, the place where every speech student dreams about performing. I turn to my partner in hopes of receiving some extra strength. We have been through so much together. Somehow we survived through Invitationals, Regionals, and now three rounds of competing against the best acts in the state. We are now battling for the top honor. The judges are now glaring at us through eyes that seem as if they could slice right through flesh. They are fully aware of our capabilities, and are just waiting for us to make a mistake. Within an instant, all of my biggest fears become reality, and at the same time I come alive.

Throughout my life I have found that nothing brings me more joy than making someone laugh. Laughter is the world's best medicine, not only for the person who is laughing, but also for the person who is responsible for the laughter. Words cannot express the feeling I get whenever I help someone forget their problems, even for the slightest moment, and they just laugh. Laughter has helped me through some of the most difficult situations in my life. It helped me through extremely difficult events including the divorce of my parents, and episodes of serious depression. Everyday laughter helps me cope with the feeling that I am not at the weight I would prefer to be. It is the perfect drug. When I feel like my world is falling down around me, I either find something to laugh at or try to make someone laugh. Laughter has helped me keep my sanity. Speech means so much to me because I can make people laugh.

A few years ago, when I discovered the wonderful world of...