I’ve mentioned before my phobia of being embarrassed. It’s probably the thing I am most afraid of, that gives me the most anxiety when I imagine encountering it. (Well, that and cockroaches. I’ve often said — and meant — that if I found a cockroach in my apartment, he would get the apartment.)
My fear of humiliation manifests itself in bizarre ways sometimes. For example, even if I know the answer to a publicly asked question (and know that I know it), I’ll usually keep quiet on the off-chance that I’m somehow wrong anyway and don’t want to be called out on it.
Another situation I can just barely stand? Going around in a circle and introducing yourself in front of a group.
Yup, I’m saying that one of the most anxiety-producing situations I can experience is having to say my name.
Told you it was a little weird.
As long as I can remember, I’ve dreaded that moment on the first day of school, the first meeting at a new company, etc. the bigger the circle and the longer I have to imagine what could go wrong, the harder my heart pounds.
Why am I so freaked out? I’m worried I’ll say the wrong name or mess up my own an everyone will laugh at me.
THAT IS LITERALLY THE ENTIRE BASIS OF MY PHOBIA.
It’s a little pathetic, right? I mean, I don’t consider myself an insecure person. I should be able to handle misspeaking and everyone getting a little chuckle out of it.
I was going to say, “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? I stutter over my words, everyone laughs, and we love on.” But the fact is, yeah, that’s the worst that could happen. I can feel my face burn and my stomach fill with butterflies even just thinking about it happening.
Why am I dwelling on this (somewhat ridiculous) phobia? Because yesterday, my entire department had to introduce ourselves to the head of our company, a woman whose name I can almost guarantee you know, a woman who’s a celebrity in her own right and whom I admire and respect and am more than a little intimidated by. And not for nothing, but she’s also a woman who has made it clear she suffers no fools and doesn’t have time for people blathering all over themselves trying to string a few words into a sentence.
So, yeah, I was a little nervous.
I’m going to throw out a spoiler here and tell you it all went fine. She was very nice to me, and a managed to spit out my name, title, tenure with the company, and what I was working on without any embarrassing stammers or awkward phrasing. (I know, you guys! Someone should really get me a medal.)
Unfortunately for me, I think this is just one of those phobias that will always be in the back of my mind. The trick will just be learning to overcome it. (Hint: I’m a big fan of practicing. You know I had rehearsed my little “what I’ve been working on” shpeel.)
Ok, now. Let’s go around the room an everyone say what they’re afraid of so I feel better about my own fears.
SEE WHAT I DID THERE?
But seriously. Spill!