When I was in high school, I was so shy I would not wear red because I wanted to blend into the woodwork. In college, I took a mandatory speech class and began to feel just a bit more at ease. Then I ran into my old fifth grade teacher, who casually and cruelly commented that “I guess your braces did not work.” I lost what little confidence I had gained. Now after more than forty years and two more sets of braces later, I feel I have come a long way.
It has not been easy, and I am still more comfortable writing a letter or story than reading it aloud. It took a forced reading in a small church in London, an interview by Irish television, radio, and two newspapers to finally calm some of those anxious feelings.
This week was another test. I was asked to read a letter I had written to my congressman regarding my frustrations in trying to communicate with him during my weekly visits to his office. This reading was done beside his opponent in front of a camera in the presence of several constituents, but I survived the experience! How did I get myself into this mess?
In the days preceding the event, my neck hurt and my blood pressure was up again. Now it’s over. I have gained another day of the week to do as I wish, my neck no longer hurts, and my blood pressure has returned to normal. November 6 cannot come soon enough!