Speech Anxiety

I had to give a speech.

Which is a big deal for me because I’m shy. So shy, in fact that it surprises me that my few close friends stuck around long enough to get to know me. But I’m glad they did.

This was an important speech. A toast to my longtime best friend on her wedding day. I was nervous. As the Matron of Honor, I knew that my speech would be remembered for years to come. I wrote and rewrote my thoughts over and over again, asking myself, “is this joke funny or am I crazy?” Will I be met with awkward silence? Judgment? Boos?

And then the day came. I was to take the stage after the Best Man gave his toast. Dinner was served. I looked over at the Best Man and he was giving his note cards one last review. He ordered one last drink from the bar. And then my heart started beating hard in my chest. He was nervous. And that made me more nervous. What if everyone hated his speech? And that made them hate my speech even more?

The Best Man spoke. I barely heard him. Something about the groom. People clapped. We drank champagne. And then it was my turn.

The adrenaline was pumping so hard through my veins; I feared I would drop dead. And ruin their wedding day. The DJ smiled at me apologetically because he forgot my name. It’s okay, I remembered. I took the mike and introduced myself. My hands were shaking. I could barely read the note cards.

I started reading. Talking. I remembered why I was there on stage, to honor and make fun of my best friend.

And then something unexpected happened. People laughed.