Stage Fright Fest

I’m going to be honest with you, Readers. I can’t see you, but I know you are on the other side of my laptop screen, and you scare me.

Up until today, the majority of my followers shared at least some of my DNA. My blog comments consisted of remarks like, “Daughter, you make me laugh” and “Yes, I remember that time, and it was funny.” My point is not that I’m related to robots, but that I’m accustomed to a readership who must love me unconditionally– I may be their only hope for grandchildren.

Then, by some stomach cramp of the universe, WordPress must have run out of blogs to feature, shrugged, and Freshly Pressed me. My adrenaline has been pumping ever since.

I don’t do well under pressure (the only time I’ll play competitive sports is if I’ve shared a meal with every single person on both teams, and the game takes place in my backyard). I’m not a person who grabs the bull by the horns. I’m not even confident that I’d poke the bull with a really long stick unless I was in a secure location and the bull was drugged.

This is why I chose writing– a profession that comes with a delete key. I don’t understand how people handle careers that require functioning well in emergency situations that cannot be undone. If I were a surgeon and a patient on my table started spurting blood, I think I would turn to the nurse beside me, look at him/her regretfully, and say, “Do you mind taking care of this? I just remembered I have a thing.” Actually, that’s giving myself too much credit. I’d probably just stand there, blinking and sweating.

I still have well under one thousand followers, so me writing a blog isn’t exactly Bono walking out into a crowd at Madison Square Garden. It isn’t even a toupee-wearing principal walking out into a half-sleeping high school assembly. And yet, as I stared at the blank screen, watching the cursor wink at me, my hands trembled and I was lightly coated with fingernail shavings and balled up peanut butter cup wrappings. I had the composure of a recovering heroine addict.

“Funny. Why can’t you think of something funny?” I scolded myself, my left eye twitching.

I’d like to say that this is when I had some sort of meaningful revelation– that humor is an attitude, a lens through which one views life’s absurdity.

But no, this is actually when I got up to use the bathroom and mindlessly walked straight into a wall.

What I needed was not a revelation, but a shoulder/ego bruising.

Anyway, thanks to all who pressed the “Follow” button. I like to set low standards for myself so that I won’t be disappointed, so my goal will not be to make you laugh out loud, but perhaps only IHS– In-Head Smirk.


28 thoughts on “Stage Fright Fest

  1. I feel much the same way, with only friends and family following me! I like how you worked through it. Nice post!

  2. It’s a dichotomy: If you have plenty of followers, you almost wish you didn’t have so many people to keep interested; if you have practically no followers then you feel insulted that the only accompaniment of your supposed wit is a piece tumbleweed.
    Awkwardness in itself is interesting in itself, it’s something we can all relate to!

  3. Definitely an IHS πŸ˜‰ I suffer the same writer’s p/stage fright. Every now and again, my writing carries me away and it feels SO GOOD. Then I hit publish and seconds later I panic because I realize that my family is going to read that post along with (all) most of my other followers. And my family, those who love me unconditionally, will judge me. That’s when it hits me that so will everyone else who reads me, but so what. I write to free my mind. Not to impress. (Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.)

    You have a great talent for the attitude of humor: “I’d like to say that this is when I had some sort of meaningful revelation– that humor is an attitude, a lens through which one views life’s absurdity.”

    Keep it up. πŸ˜€

  4. Oh, thank goodness you got Freshly Pressed–I randomly found your blog through a tag search and ever since I’ve been wondering if you find me some weird outsider who suddenly followed you.

  5. Your post about Costco (which was freshly pressed) made me lol at my desk at work on a day when I really needed a laugh. This post seems no different than why I chose to follow in the first place. Keep it comin’

  6. Here I am……..another un-related follower!! And I have a feeling that you not only will make me laugh right out loud but more than likely there will be an actual snort!! I’m such an embarressment to my co-workers! πŸ™‚

  7. Here I am……….an un-related follower! And I have no doubt that you will not only make me laugh right out loud but there will more than likely be a snort involved! I’m such an embarrassment to my co-workers!! πŸ™‚

  8. You now have 848 followers,,honestly I thought I hit the follow button last week when I read your hilarious Costco post. I think your great, keep it up!

  9. There is a certain terror that accompanies popularity…not that I’d know. I think I have 7 followers but even so, I feel a certain pressure to perform, to entertain, to not insult. My mother-in-law and my husband are two of the seven. My husband is hyper-sensitive. Forge on. Don’t worry about your audience even if it grows to millions – write from the heart, the gut.

  10. I don’t think you need to worry! I discovered you through Freshly Pressed, but I read quite a few of your older posts and every one of them made me laugh at some point. This post is no exception! πŸ˜€

  11. Just pretend we aren’t here.

    Or pretend we are all in our underwear (seriously, have you ever understood that advice for public speakers? I think the person who gave it can’t have had ANY imagination at all. If I started imagining the underwear of a hall full of people, I’d never get started talking).

    Put down the mask.

    Actually, no, put on a mask – a Zorro mask and a cape and pretend that it’s your super-hero self writing the posts. After all, if we don’t know the real you, you might actually be Zorro. Which would be cool. And funny. Have faith! Write on! (and breathe into a paper bag occasionally)

  12. I haven’t been Freshly Pressed, but I did have a post go viral that suddenly jumped my follower count by several hundred, so I know how you feel! Just try to forget about the numbers and write the way you always would!

  13. People follow you because they like what you are already writing. So just keep being you. Also, if you must mindlessly walk into something then in my experience a wall is better than a door. Doors have pointy edges,

  14. Don’t sell yourself short. I’ve done the hospital gig, am currently trying to switch to writing, and I’m pretty sure that you are the brave one. So if you want to feel courageous, pat yourself on the back for having the guts to share your writing (and a part of yourself) in ways that would put a lot of doctors into a cold sweat. On the other hand, like someone once said “hey, this ain’t rocket surgery” – so relax, do what you do, and those of us who like it will tell you. Then you can ignore the mentally deficient ones who don’t share our sense of humor. In-head smirks can make a person’s day too.

  15. Your writing is great! I stumbled upon your blog on facebook and I think it’s fantastic. Congratulations on the followers and keep up the good work!

  16. I am related and most likely the originator of the line “Daughter you make me laugh” Its a 50 50 shot. I’m sure Alena is thrilled to be getting the feedback you have provided. As her father I am so very proud of her continuing to pursue what she loves. I have no doubt she will one day be a commercial success. She is already a success in my eyes, which are about to get watery, so I’ll wrap it up.

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