How are you? I hope you’re all well; I certainly am!
So, as many of you guys will know, I am currently involved in a program that will be aired on BBC Radio 4 sometime soon. I can’t say when, because that would send my anonymity out of the window, if you see my point. Regardless, today was the first day [of two] of recording for the show – today was in school, and the second day will be at New broadcasting House, London. The idea today was to have the journalist record throughout the day, to get an idea of my day at school, and to put together a five minute segment for the show. This included recording classes, getting me – yes, ME – to interview staff and friends, and for me to do a little talking about me, and also about school life for me.
As I mentioned this morning, I was nervous.
Correction: I was absolutely shitting myself.
I aould class myself as having social anxiety, and this is something that is really apparent at school; I don’t raise my hand to answer questions in class; I don’t offer to read aloud, or read out my answer to an essay-style question; I just try and blend in to the background as best I can. By getting a journalist with a microphone to follow me, talk to me, make me ask questions to others and make me talk about myself all day was basically as far from my comfort zone as you could possibly get. But I’m determined to tackle my fears and my anxiety and so I agreed to this opportunity: after all, it is a once in a lifetime experience, I think you’ll agree.
Do you know what? I can safely say that today was easily the best day I have ever had at my secondary school. No doubt about it: it was absolutely amazing!
For the first time in such a long time, I felt confident, and relaxed. That’s weird, really, considering most people lock up when a microphone is thrown in their face, but clearly not me; I haven’t felt that confident in years, and it felt… It’s undescribable.
I spoke, and laughed, and asked questions, and even came up with those questions AND follow-up questions on the spot, no prompting required. The interviews were serious, but with just enough of my trademark sense of humour to make them enjoyable, I hope! I didn’t go all shy and awkward, even when the camera came out and pictures were taken. I didn’t start talking about random crap, like I normally do when I get nervous but have to speak. I was just… me. But better than me, because I was confident, and relaxed, and happy.
So when the journalist mentioned towards the end of the day that she needed to make a 1 minute film of me talking, like a monologue, I froze. The day had been going so well, and now this, right at the end? Would this be how I remembered the day – fear, and an awkward silence recorded on film forever?
Anser: No, because that didn’t happen. The journalist switched on the tablet on which the film was to be recorded, and passed me the microphone, which I held up to my face. The sound that indicates the start of filming sounded, and I opened my mouth.
And I spoke.
Genuinely, I have absolutely no idea what I said, what I talked about, or where it all came from, but I spoke, and it was fluent and consistant, with no awkward pauses or hisitations whatsoever! I have no idea where it came from, but as I said, I just suddenly felt this rush of confidence when the recording started, and felt like I could do it. With that mindset, I completed the minute’s recording in what seemed like 10 seconds, and that’s not even an exaggeration.
I can’t write this post without at least briefly mentioning the Press Pass. You know those fancy lanyards which journalists wear, with the Press Pass on it? Yeah, I’ve got one!
Why that makes me so excited, I’ll never know, but it does, because for some reason, I feel important.
Maybe that sums up today: for the first time in such a long time, I felt important, necessary. This probably sounds sickeningly self-centred, but I felt important, and that was the best feeling ever. Like, I knew that the whole recording stuff, the filming, the interviews and the photographs were all because of me. it’s been the conversation around the school all day, between the students, between the staff, and between my friends and me. And for some reason, to know that something so closely related to me was a “thing” today, that it was being talked about across the school, made me feel important. And however disgusted with myself I am for saying this, that felt good.
So yeah, an absolutely amazing day! I wouldn’t change a moment of it – I swear – and I’m so excited for the interview at New Broadcasting House in a couple of weeks – less than that! I think that now I’ve got over the fear of the microphones and cameras [which was at least 100 times easier than I could have ever anticipated], I can relax and think of the interview as a chat, to inform me, to inform others and to make people sit up and listen. Yes, I did just say that: for the first time in my life, today has taught me that I want people to listen to me. I want people to know what I have to say.