My son had escaped, so I thought it might have skipped a generation or better yet been wiped completely out of the gene pool, but it appears I was mistaken.
Today the daughter came home with her own debilitating account of a book report gone horribly wrong. She told me about the insects tromping through her stomach and her shaking hands made all the more noticeable by the paper she was holding like a life raft. Just hearing about her experience made my palms sweat.
That's when I realized I couldn't help her. She sat there looking at me with those big blue eyes, pleading for some kind of magical cosmic wisdom on how to beat this and I had nothing. Nada. A big goose egg. Sure, I could have told her to imagine the audience
My outgoing brother who grew up to be a salesman once told me to pretend I was in the shower.
"Wait," I said, "Why am I in the shower?"
"Because the shower is relaxing, stupid."
I'd had my doubts, but I'd tried it. It had made things worse. Now I was the naked one, standing barefoot as my upchucked breakfast pooled around my feet.
Somehow I managed to make it to graduation by telling myself I would never have to do it again unless I wanted to. So far, that's worked pretty well for me, but my elementary student still has years of torture ahead of her.
Have you overcome your fear of public speaking or found any strategies that at least keep you from passing out? If so, my daughter would love to hear them, because she sure isn't getting any help from yours truly.