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Public Speaking....or how to not lose your shit in front of people

Public speaking. Boy, who would think that one of the hardest things for me to do, is get up in front of people and let words come out of my month. As someone who is Bi-Polar, you never feel comfortable speaking in front of a crowd of strangers, and my mind plays tricks on me. But damn, is it an amazing feeling to hold people's attention, for a brief moment in time, while I stood up and let people know what I do, and maybe tell a joke or two. Since, attending my first open mic night last fall at Public Works Art Center in Summerville, South Carolina, I have been making an effort to put my name down on the list, and get up in front of people. Knowing that most of the open mic night performers are poets, I don't usually walk down that path, but open myself up to people about my struggles with my mental illness. But last Friday, I made a shift.

Comedy is something I have always loved. I remember my childhood friend Rashard and I would perform stand up routines and pretend our jokes were funny. Man, I wish I could remember what my jokes were, but I believe they mostly where fart jokes. What do yo expect from 13 year old's. So when I stood up in front of a packed house at PWAC, and told my political prayer joke, and some people laughed, I knew I had found a new creative act for myself. I love how life swings that way. And as the hot summer days and nights continue, finding a new way to express myself is important. Because, my studio, my mom's garage, is just too damn hot to work in right now. So I welcome this new path, and hope to continue to make performing stand up comedy a part of my creative space. Fart jokes anyone?

So, I say to you, who might be completely terrified at the thought of performing in front of people, just do it baby! The main thing is to find a safe space. A space that is welcoming, like the open mic nights I found here in Charleston. Which really allow yourself to be brave and perform. You learn so much about yourself. Your habits you have when you perform live, or just speak to a group of people. Learn how your mind and body react, and ultimately learn to adapt to any situation. And from these experiences I have found new friends, a great supportive network, and courage I didn't think I had. Trust me, you are better at public speaking than you think you are. You are loved, you are special, and you are original. So let yourself be free, and get the f#ck up there! You will learn more from a public speaking moment, than a lifetime of thinking "what ifs".


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