Today I talked in front of the camera. Again. It was the third time. Well, the third time is the charm, no? The first time was complete silliness. The second was too scripted. The third felt somewhat natural but I have doubts about that.
Why was I going through all that trouble?
My rationale was that I need to improve on speaking. Yes, speaking. Here’s a short history: I never had the confidence to speak my own mind. I spent the majority of my late teens in the comfort of silence. I am not kidding. I did not have friends whom I was able to talk to on a daily basis. I was depressed, my mind suppressed. As a consequence, I definitely had not enough practice in speaking, specifically getting opinions across in a constructive manner. Sure I can write quite well, but speaking is a different skill.
But now I realise that doing exactly that, speaking, is vital in progressing in life. I need to speak up to show that I stand up for something. I need to be able to get my point across without stumbling on syllables. Most importantly, I need to overcome this well-built fear of judgment and failure.
You see, I’m a perfectionist at heart, sometimes without my realising it. I think way too much and when I execute something, it must be perfect or as close to. With writing, I can take as much time as I’d like to form perfect sentences. I can edit before I make a post public. This can be a problem, too. It means that I might not get any ideas published at all. This is why I’ve only been able to aspire to write a novel, and not actually write.
But when presenting something through speech, I’d have to form complete sentences on the spot so that they make sense. I would have time to prepare beforehand, but when the time comes, the words I have been preparing might escape my mind. I know that one way I could prevent that from happening is to memorise the entire speech. I did just that for my recent oral presentation, which was the first academic presentation I had done since leaving high school. I believe I did alright, but it was mostly memory work.
I have such a strong desire to speak naturally. I envy my colleague who was a part of my presentation group. He spoke so confidently and with a rather soothing tone as if he was talking to a friend. I also aspire to be like those speakers on TED. Again, that word – aspire. I should do. I want to, for goodness’ sake! That was why I spent an hour and a half talking to a camera lens.
If I were to be completely honest, the problem is not just because of lack of practice, but also a lack of knowledge or informed opinion. I can generally say that all my life I have never gone very deep into a certain topic. Once I felt that I was going too deep, I swam back up and across towards other areas. Metaphorically, I feared drowning. I did not bring up the why’s and how’s. It was somehow enough for me to just know the what’s.
And that is a great impairment in my learning process. Or lack thereof.
As a result, I know about a lot of things as well as nothing. I can talk about something to a certain extent but eventually, I would reach a limit. And that limit is my inability to expand the existing knowledge and form my own opinions, or rather the fear of putting them out in the air.
Since I can bear the what’s but not the why’s, I often find myself asking,
WHAT IS THE BLOODY HELL WRONG WITH ME????
And I think that this fear of diving deep and instead going for breadth may be the root of most of my problems. At present, I know I have many interests but none I could claim to be exceptionally passionate about. Well, I could say that I am passionate in writing, for example, but I can’t prove to you how good I am because I have not published any writing anywhere except my own personal blog that not many reads. I could say I’m passionate in horse riding, but I have not proven my skills by entering competitions.
Similarly, I could say I am passionate in biology and I should be but I feel like I have not put much effort into it even though that is part of my course that I am currently learning at university. Again, somehow I avoided diving in too deep because I didn’t want to let go of my other interests such as history and literature. That’s why my grades so far have been just average and not the best that I could actually achieve.
Is this really a problem? Or does it mean that specialising into something is not my thing? Must everyone specialise into something? Is it so bad not to do so?
These are the pertinent questions that have been swimming in my mind lately, which I have no promising answers to. I need to talk to someone about this, but who would listen? THAT is often my issue. Sure, I can talk to my few best friends but we don’t talk often mostly because we are thousands of miles apart and that we each have our own lives.
And I think that because I spent so much time practically alone growing up, I feel that I failed in building relationships or at least, learning to do so. I feel that I failed in getting people to trust me. I feel that now I have to start from ground zero. I need to learn to create lasting friendships. I need to learn to speak up and share my thoughts.
You have no idea how many times I think of bashing my head against a wall. That’s how frustrated I am with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have learnt to love myself. Those lonely years weren’t for nothing. I did spend a good amount of time thinking and evaluating my strengths and weaknesses. And finally, now, I know what I need to do.
SO JUST DO IT!!!
God willing, I shall overcome this obstacle and many others. All I really truly need is support and encouragement. I need people who genuinely care for me and not just say that they care. I want to engage in constructive conversations with them. I need them to be patient with my stuttering and pauses.
But for now, I guess talking in front of the camera and posting on YouTube would have to do. At least, I would be able to edit and cut out the awkward pauses. And there may be a better chance that people would take the time to sit down and listen to what I have to say on YouTube—if I sound smart or interesting enough and look pleasing enough.