In elementary school I dreaded being called up to the front of the class for any reason. I sat in the back and when the teacher started calling kids names to come up and claim their graded assignments, I would immediately feel anxious. I would picture myself tripping and everyone looking at me. I was so scared of that. I hated the feeling of being seen.
So, you can imagine I was not pleased to be chosen out of an enormous crowd to assist some clowns in the circus one day on a field trip. Can you even believe that?! I wasn't raising my hand or anything. In fact, I was ducking while most kids were up out of their seats waving their hands, desperate to be chosen. I couldn't believe it myself when I heard the man with the microphone say, "The little girl in the back—with the braids and the red shirt and overalls—come on up and help us out!" I was like, "What?? Me?" And I wouldn't have gone up except that my teacher insisted that I go. And though this isn't a very important detail, I still want to tell you that the overalls I was wearing were white with tiny fruit all over them. I loved them but unfortunately after this particular day, I loved them significantly less as they now reminded me of clowns and audiences, and I wasn’t a fan of either.
It wasn't fun helping the clowns that day. I remember feeling confused and not understanding exactly what they wanted me to do. But I did get to ride in a clown car, so that was something…
Now that I'm grown up, from time to time I'm invited to speak to a group of people about art or writing or creativity and i still feel scared being in front of all those people. But this is how I do it: I intentionally remember that God is all around me and so I imagine myself hidden in Him… And I wear very colorful, patterned clothing to distract people from noticing that I'm sweating a lot. Two very different but useful strategies. For real—that's what I do.