Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
Sometimes fear grips me at the most inopportune time. In these moments I freeze, which is unfortunate. I had this reaction this past weekend when I was at a workshop and was suddenly face to face with my old friend, glossophobia (fear of public speaking). I was called upon to give an elevator speech. I waited to go and listened to others first. After hearing a few others I felt brave and stood up. I started speaking and started out well, but then I froze and I couldn’t finish. I sat down and felt completely deflated.
It reminded me of the time I was hiking with Rafael at Castle Rock in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We reached a point on the path where the trail on one side was a sheer drop down the side of the mountain. On the other side of the trail were cables one could hold on to to help them across the trail. I saw the cables and the cliff and said, “Fuck. No.” I sat there for a long time while Rafael talked me into crossing. He even demonstrated how safe it was by walking in the middle of the path and jumping up and down without the use of the cables. After several minutes of cheering me on, I finally gathered my courage and started across. Palms sweating profusely, I grabbed the cables and walked slowly. I got halfway across and the panic started. I froze. I couldn’t go any further. I cried because I just could not move and fear completely engulfed me. Rafael helped me across but, again, I was deflated. I felt bad for letting fear get the better of me.