Learning To Love You More




Assignment #40
Heal yourself.

"How to overcome shyness"
Melanie Rodgers
Omaha, Nebraska USA



As long as I can remember, I had been extremely shy. Throughout elementary and middle school, I would spend my days in near silence. Due to the anxiety that it caused, I would only speak when I felt that it was necessary and class speeches were a nightmare. By the time I reached high school I had grown frustrated with this and tired of people trying to "fix" me, so decided that I would do something about it and I would do it my way.
I decided to tackle my most immediate problem first: my arch nemesis, the class presentation. My English Lit teacher at the time required two speeches every quarter, however he did allow us to write a paper in the place of this speech if we were uncomfortable with public speaking. Instead of writing the paper, I forced myself to give the speech. I was terrified for the first couple of speeches, but I persisted and eventually became comfortable speaking in front of the class. During this time I also made a conscious effort to participate in class discussions. Once I had gotten over that, it was time for a new challenge.
I had recently become fascinated with the theater. I was asked to paint the backdrop for the spring play and spent several hours on the stage painting while play rehearsal was taking place. Sometimes I would find myself paying more attention to what was going on in rehearsal rather than my painting. I loved working behind the scenes, but I began to wonder what it would be like on stage under the lights. After much debate, I enrolled myself into a drama class the next semester. I feel that this was probably one of the decisions I could have made. This class was a challenge for me. Everyday I was forced to interact with my fellow classmates, think on my feet, and face my fears. Somewhere in the midst of this chaos, my anxiety melted away. I felt much more relaxed and less self conscious. This new attitude began to carry over into other aspects of my life. I learned how to handle my nerves and how to laugh at my mistakes and move on. I decided too take on one more challenge. Another school play was coming up and I was going to audition. I was terrified as I sat in that theater among people who have had roles in nearly every production during their high school careers. But, when it came down to my turn, everything went smoothly. This was the last thing that anyone ever expected me to do and I will never forget the looks on their faces. I was not cast in the play. Having next to no theater experience, I had not expected to be. However, this doesn't mean that I wasn't disappointed. Still, I consider this a personal triumph. I had come a long way. I had faced my fears. I had healed myself. From that moment, nothing has ever been the same and I wouldn't have it any other way.