Speaking + Vulnerability = Fear


It’s taken me a long time to find the words that could describe my thoughts on this project, and I still don’t think I’ve found them, not all of them anyway, but I’ll try. It is common knowledge, at least after our wrap up session, that I am a nervous talker. I begin speaking in public and I just won’t stop because I think I can fix the tragedy that is occurring, but I never can. I have little to no confidence in my speaking ability and find that my articulation is usually subpar, thus I dance. Movement has allowed me to express my thoughts without having to utter or write a word. Then Matthew Rushing walked into my life. I was asked to write, something personal about beauty, identity, inheritance. Could I submit a movement video instead? After weeks and weeks of avoidance I wrote a little piece and sent it in. It felt good, I accomplished something outside of my comfort zone. But then I was asked to speak in the performance. I was given the most articulate, powerful, beautiful poem and I was supposed to share those words with the audience. Movement was no longer my only tool of communication and I was terrified. 

My voice was quiet, robotic, and unable to communicate the spirit of the poem while we were rehearsing on the stage. I feared that I would be unable to share Karlanna’s messgae hours before the first performance. Renee took me in her arms and repeated in my ear “I know this is vulnerable.” It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that the vulnerability was holding me back. I needed to just tell the story to one person as Renee said and not try and perform it, I needed to open myself up. Karlanna’s words did not need any flourishing or additives because of their power, but in order for them to be presented in a just manner I needed to let them pour into me until they began to overflow into space. I felt like a little bit of a cheater because I wasn’t having to read my own thoughts and message, it wasn’t as if I were Hannah, Luna, Natalie, or Holly reading my words, my personal story. Their graceful vulnerability was such a joy to observe because of the ease they seemed to possess. But I was afraid of disappointing Karlanna, afraid that I would misrepresent her message and butcher her original intent. So I attempted to remove myself from the poem, to a degree, to try and keep Karlanna’s message the focus. Thus I had to try again and again to remove that wall and let myself fully embrace the message and become vulnerable with Renee’s and the dancers’ support. However the real support came from knowing Matthew trusted me with this poem, and if he believed in me that I could do this well, then I believed I could as well. So thank you to Matthew for giving me the confidence to overcome my fear of speaking on stage and thank you to Renee for helping me begin to overcome my fear of vulnerability.