Can you imagine being the center of attention in a room full of over thirty (30) strangers? And to make it worse, they were all adults! I’m sure you all know that this would be the absolute worst nightmare for someone with SM. So, the good news is, I won a history essay competition and got to go to an award ceremony with the orginazation Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The bad news is, I HAD to go to an award ceremony for the DAR. I was feeling really proud of myself for winning the contest, and really excited to go to an award ceremony. But then, as it got closer and closer, I started getting nervous. I was nervous because I knew that I would be the center of attention, and I didn’t know for how long. I didn’t know if I would have to say stuff when the award was presented to me, and if so, for how long would I have to speak. I didn’t know how many people there would be, or what they might say to me. I didn’t want to make a bad impression on them, but I didn’t want to have to say anything to them.
When the day finally arrived, I got a big lump in my stomach. For the whole thirty minute drive, I kept imaging worst-case scenarios. Then, we arrived, and met everyone who had come. There were probably thirty to fourty people. They all wanted to be introduced to me, take pictures with me, have conversations with me. It was all really terrifying. Each time someone elso came up to me, I thought, Oh no, here we go again. I REALLY don’t want to do this with you. But I put on my smile and pretended to be enjoying myself. The orginaztion provided a meal for us, but I wasn’t really hungry – I had a big swarm of butterflies in my stomach.
The whole time, I kept thinking that it was cool that I was here, but I didn’t wanted anyone to pay any attention to me. Then, it came time for me to come up and be presented with my award. My mom gave me a nudge and I stood up and walked to the front. The woman first congratulated me and talked about how great of an essay I wrote and how much of a big deal this was. Then, she took about a minute each to explain my awards – a coin, a medal pin, and a certificate. Then, she pinned on the medal pin for me, had me hold up my certificate and coin, and had me pose so that everyone, and I mean EVERONE, could take pictures. They wrapped up the meeting once I had sat down, and once it ended, even MORE people came up to me to take picture and talk to me. I felt really uncomfortable, but I managed through. Finally we left, and I was able to relax.
Even though it was hard, scary, and uncomfortable for me, after we left and the pressure was taken off, I was able to just feel proud for myself and happy to over with it. Overall, apart from about 5 minutes of terrifying experience, it was fun. And I learned that even if speaking, being seen, or being social is hard at first, or even hard for a while, you can always look forward to after that is all over, and look forward to being able to relax and just feel good.