One of the more common advices I’ve come across for people with stage fright or social anxiety is the one where they tell you to imagine your audience naked. That’s supposed to make your anxiety go away.
Well, let me tell you, it doesn’t. Not in my case.
Taking your clothes off, getting naked is a beautiful form of liberation. It implies a degree of comfort, a level of trust that has already been established and it is a show of admirable amounts of confidence. Now, if my audience is naked, that means that they’re liberated, comfortable and confident. And what does that make me?
A pile of a slobbering mess.
So, no. my audience can never be naked. My audience is instead on the toilet. Pants down and depending on my mood, maybe with a newspaper in hand.
Think about it. In a day, when is it when you’re most vulnerable? Is it when you’re changing; when the strangulation of the tie is taken out of the equation, when the breeze is finally cooling between your legs, when there’s nothing restricting you from breathing deeply and sufficiently enough to let your belly stick out? Or is it in the middle of passing your poop, stink in the air and pants around your ankles?
If you’re not sure of the answer, I’d suggest that you try running with your pants around your ankles. (The subsequent knock to your head might help too.)
You see, I need my audience at a disadvantage; which would calm me because then, I’d have more time to get away if they start hurling eggs at me. A scenario that’s completely in my head, I realize, nevertheless, a scenario that’s responsible for the pigeon-sized butterflies in my suddenly-capacious belly.
So, anytime I need help, when my knees refuse to stop shaking, when my breakfast threatens to go the wrong way up, I imagine everybody around me on the shit-pot. Your pants around your ankles become my bastions of support. And even if my over-zealous brain conjures up a spot of stink in the air to give the moment its authenticity, well, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Because, it’s only replacing the stink of rotten eggs (plastered in my hair) that was in the air just about a moment ago.