The Scary People…

Y’all best quit reading right now because I’m whipping open the self-inflicted therapy session up in this here Whitney joint.  It will most likely be pathetic, bore people to tears, and I’ll probably get the stupid violin out and play it for most of this here post.  I warned you… no suing the messenger!  I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to post about this publicly… and the heck to the no almost won out, but then I got to thinking that this blog was initially meant to be a public therapy session and even though lately it’s turned into a conglomeration of idiocy and silliness, at it’s core… it’s still a therapeutic blog for me and me alone.  That, and I’m sure there are people out there in readerville having the same kind of issues… so maybe my public therapy will in some way be helpful to someone else.

I’m afraid of teenagers… in general.  I’m afraid to be around them, I’m afraid to walk past them, and I’m definitely afraid to talk in front of them.  In my mind they are equal to the boogeyman of my youth or being face to face with a hungry cannibal… okay, maybe that last example was a way over exaggeration, but you get the point.  I am going to preface this by saying the majority of teenagers in my youth were very kind to me.  I had some super sweet friends, so to lump all teenagery people into one big bowl of stereotype is really unfair.  But, it’s like they say… one bad apple spoils the bunch.  While most of my childhood consisted of nice people, there were always  those few who insisted on making my life miserable… by mooing and oinking when I’d walk past or shouting some smart alecky, nonfunny remark regarding how much I weighed.  And that was always the most humiliating thing in the world for me… especially in front of a group of friends or people I knew… because I did not want people to pity me… ever… that was like the worst possible thing for me.  That, and being perceived as not normal and judged because I was fat.  The biggest culprits were always teenagers… and I know it’s because they also have self esteem issues and are trying to sort out who they are and they want to be accepted by their group of peers.  Some of you may have seen the video going around on the internet of the sweet bus monitor who was being called names and made fun of to her face by a gaggle of teenage boys for 10 excruciating minutes of video.  She handled herself so well and yet I cried for her and I pitied her and I could put myself in her shoes because I had been there… not to the extent that she had because I could remove myself from the situation… but along the same lines.  I could get really long-winded in this post… so I’m going to move on to the reason I even brought it up to begin with.

A few weeks back I was asked by a lady who I don’t know and who doesn’t know me if I would sing and speak at a youth conference.  My first gut reaction was HELL NO!!!!!!!!!  And I did tell her no.  But, she didn’t accept that answer and called me back telling me that she’d prayed about it and had a strong feeling that I needed to speak and sing at her youth conference.  I said no again… and she closed the phone call saying I should think about it.  Persistent is her name… but not really.  I eventually gave in and agreed I would do it but only if I wouldn’t have to speak… I would just sing a song and hightail my butt out of there.  She seemed reluctant to give into that request, but went along with it anyway… sure that she had 2 weeks to talk me into the other part of it.

I ain’t going to lie.  I dreaded the day… all the way up to it.  It was this past Friday night and I was literally making myself sick with anxiety.  It was a wayyyyy overreaction, but at the same time I was going to have to do something I had purposely tried to avoid my whole life.  Open myself up to these teenagers… put myself out there to be judged and gawked at.  It was a scary thought for me.  I’ve sung oodles of times in front of audiences… singing is not a problem for me… speaking is.  I had written what I wanted to say… and I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to say it right up until the last second.  On the actual night, my nerves did get the better of me when speaking just like they always did.  I stumbled through my speech, losing my place on the page several times and visibly shaking.  The singing went haywire when my microphone wouldn’t work and I had to start over 2 times and eventually just sing microphone-less.  By the time it was over and I was in the car I felt gutted.  I’d ripped open my insides, laid them out for all to see and to judge and to pick at, and I felt so vulnerable and bare nekked.  I wanted to take it back… make it unhappen.  Run back to that group of teenagery people, gather up all my vital organs, and shove them back inside… never to be released again.  I hated those feelings… and so I reverted back to my way of dealing with emotions of yore… and I ate them away.  Shoved them down into my toes… because numb is better than feeling.  And I was mad… she had received inspiration that I was supposed to be there and things turned out like this?  I had envisioned that there would be a couple of overweight teenagers amongst the group and those were the ones I was supposed to be there for.  But I had much opportunity to scan the group and all of them were skinny as rails.

I’m in a better frame of mind tonight.  I took back my eating by planning my meals for this week and cooking them up tonight.  I also kicked butt by tackling the leaning tower of clothes in the rocking chair in my room.  I guess it was good for me to step outside my comfort zone… I didn’t feel that way after the fact… at all… but I do believe that somewhere down the road this experience will have made me stronger.  I don’t have any intention on saying yes to anymore youth conference gigs… for a good long time… and I keep consoling myself with the fact that I will never see these kids again.  They will thank me later!

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22 Comments

Filed under Childhood

22 responses to “The Scary People…

  1. Natalie

    It doesn’t matter how it turned out. The victory is that you did it! OMg thats a nightmare for me, too. Public speaking. And speaking about something that makes you feel weak? only 1 out of a hundred people can do that! I pulled that stat. out of my hat to make me feel better because I know I want to believe it! Brave girl, you are. Braver than most!

  2. Karen

    I am so sorry to read your blog and ache for the experience. Sometimes I question revelation for various reason–can I only say that life is a challenge.

  3. cl2

    I am so sorry, Whitney! I hope you are doing better this morning.

  4. Avster

    Glad I’m not in your classified scary crowd! 😀

    Nothing like your worst nightmare turning into your worst nightmare! But… at least your shoelace didn’t break and you didn’t go sprawling… 😉

    ~hug~

  5. dessawade

    I felt your pain Whit! I must say though that you did a way better job at the singing and speaking than you give yourself credit for. Your room looks fabulous and will also unclutter your life.

  6. I am so proud of you for doing that! That took GUTS! And you did it!
    And darlin’, you never know by looking at people what they may be facing or have going on in their lives. Maybe one of those kids who looks so skinny is skinny because he or she is bulimic. Or maybe they have a friend or family member who has weight issues. You will never know. But you went, and you did it. Well done, you.

  7. Louisa

    Oh Whitney – that is too bad that it didn’t turn out to be a positive experience for you but I guess they all can’t be, can they…
    That is why we keep plugging along and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones.
    If we never did it, we would never know just how strong we really are.
    You did a scary thing. You not only survived it but you learned a lot in the process.
    I know I could probably speak in front of a large crowd ( if I had notes ) but I sure as heck could NOT sing in front of a crowd. You did both. I think that is amazing.

    Regardless of the outcome ( in your eyes ) you touched some young person that needed touching that day and with your words and your voice. Even if you never hear about it, you have to know you made a difference.
    I think you will grow from the experience and if the opportunity comes around again, you might be more willing to say yes and give it another chance to be the positive experience you need it to be. Hopefully, it will benefit you and another in the process.
    All in His time…

  8. Deanna

    You are so strong, Whitney! I know you didn’t feel like it and maybe still don’t but what you did was huge! It’s tough to step outside your comfort zone. Heck, I can’t recall the last time that I did. You inspire me with how you seem to look at these situations as opportunities to grow. You don’t feel it now, but I am sure this has definitely shown growth.

  9. Wow Whit! Way to go. I know how you feel about teenagers–never been a big fan of that age group myself. I think I have always had an old soul. Maybe that is one of the reasons we belonged together so well during that rough stretch of life 🙂 I know how you feel about bearing your soul to a group and leaving humiliated as well. And I’m sorry. You never know who you helped though–just because they were skinny doesn’t mean they don’t have problems or didn’t need to hear what you had to say. And I am sure your singing was beautiful! as always!!! I’m proud of you–you stood up to a huge fear and came out alive! Now that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. You’re my hero, girl! (or is it heroine?)

    • We were totes the old souls of the teenagerdom. I don’t know too many people who enjoyed making disgusting drinks instead of cruising the streets looking for hot boys! 😛 I have always admired you so much. You had so much to handle in your teenage-hood and you always handled it with so much grace and class! You were a good teacher!

  10. Awww, Whitney. I’m sorry you felt so craptacular about how the singing/speaking thing went. I can totally get where you’re coming from. Perhaps the experience wasn’t necessarily for any overweight teenagers in the audience, but for you. Just like eating brussel sprouts, these experiences are good for us and make us stronger even if they aren’t as pleasant as chocolate. (Just know that I’m telling myself this about 50 times a day in my new job!) We are always our own worst critic and I’m sure you did a lot better than you thought. Hang in there! I miss talking to you.

    • Absolutely, Rachel… comfort zones are made to be broken and you have certainly stepped into a new one on your end. I miss talking to you at work too… remember to visit!!!

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