Noise. The dull roar that gave way to the cacophonous din that swirled within my ears. Or maybe more specifically, it was the lack of said noise that reigned around me and the profound silence that held me prisoner in my own body. All my thoughts were running wild causing what seemed like a discordant orchestra, each seeking to be recognized over my most prevalent fearful thought: “Somebody help!”
One fateful night at a Boy Scout meeting, when we were holding elections for the highest position within the troop, I stood in front of my fellow scouts and delivered my speech. I had practiced for hours, writing and rewriting my speech and meticulously perfecting every sentence I had written so that it would blow all others out of the water. I had let many people proofread it, each having very little to say on how to make it better, yet that night, I could not get over my nervousness. I was dreading the moment when I would be called upon, and when I was, I immediately thought, “Why am I doing this? There is no way I can do this, there is no way I can do this, there is no way…”
My face was beet red, my hands shaking, my heart palpitating so much it was fit to burst, and I wasn’t even able to look up from the paper; I could hardly speak and my mouth was so dry that I stuttered horribly throughout most of my speech, causing my voice to oscillate between a high pitched soprano and a deathly whisper. The force of the nervousness and wound up tension I felt was so great that I felt like a taut cord, ready to snap under the knife-like pressure of a thousand eyes watching me. My plight was finally over when I ended with a small “Thank you” and rushed off the stage while the other scouts clapped politely.
Later that night when we were closing up, the Scoutmaster announced the results of the election. Immediately I started shaking and, once everyone was quiet, he said, “The new senior patrol leader of Troop 504 will be…… Zachary Noble.”...