Shy Guy

I was counting the other day, and I've MC'd (or co-MC'd) some 4 weddings to date. That in itself is quite a feat for me, considering the extremely humble public speaking beginnings I had.

There are two probably most major changes that I underwent in terms of speaking publicly.

The first was in grade 7, when each of the students was asked to select a short passage from our reading book and then take the mic and podium and do a reading to the class. Apart from being unfamiliar with the microphone in general, I was rather surprised that I took to it rather well. Of course, it helped that I actually enjoyed reading the passage I picked.

The second was in the summer of that same year, when I enrolled in a public speaking summer school class where the whole course was about how to enunciate, how to handle speaking in front of groups, and how not to lose it when you're doing that. (More precisely, I was enrolled in this class by my father who had wisdom to see this was good for me.)

But this post is about neither of those experiences.
It's about before I was able to speak up in class.
It's about before I would even dare to raise my hand.

There was a time -- very early on in elementary school, like grade 1 or 2 -- where I was so shy, I was afraid of the attention I would get just from raising my hand. I feared those eyes upon me when I raised my fingers towards the ceiling. I feared the teacher judging me for interrupting her lesson. And I was deathly afraid of having all the classmates' attention on me when the teacher would ask what I wanted ...

... and all I wanted was to go to the bathroom.

Added to that, I would be waiting for some kind of lull in her lesson, like a pause where she was going to start a new idea or something. But I guess she was good at what she did, never leaving enough time so that kids would get bored, restless, or otherwise lose their attention span and turn to other things. And all this time, I'd be holding my pee waiting for this fabled golden opportunity to request a bathroom break.

Dammit, there was never a lull. There just never seemed to be a good time where I could raise my hand without interrupting the teacher and suddenly having the spotlight on me.

Those were days I was so fearful, so shy, so low-key, that I would rather have just gone in my pants than to bring that attention onto me.

And some days, I did.

I've come a long ways from then.

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