“The First Place Winner Is Annie Andre“ said the master of ceremonies
ME: “Heehaw I just won me 25 bucks!” Mmmm Hmmmmmmm!!! Yesireeeeee!!!!!
Here I am standing in front of the stage holding my wrinkled $25 dollar winnings from the pig hollering contest.
How Do You Overcome Your Fears?
This is a story of how doing something scary, something humiliating helped me overcome one of my biggest fears; The fear speaking in public. Only I didn’t speak, I did something totally uncharacteristic of me..Squeeeeel!!!!
Read on…Here’s my story….
Standing There On The Stage I…
Moments earlier, I stood nervously on a stage in front of my family and an audience of strangers.If this wasn’t already a hollering contest, I would probably have screamed with embarrassment.
I stood there thinking to myself “why in the hell am I doing this”
What does hollering and screaming have to do with crushing your fears? Everything and nothing.
Just remember this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. “Do something everyday that scares you”. More on that later.
Let me first say that hollering is a lost art and it’s hilarious to watch adults and children get up on stage to belt out a Holler you can hear in the next county. What’s even funnier is to watch a mild mannered mother of 3 get up on stage and make a complete ass of her self. That would be me..
The Lost Art of Hollering
Believe it or not, before the advent of modern day communication like cell phones and email, people would HOLLER, more like SCREAM to communicate. they didn’t scream at each other but Hollered to call people and animals, faraway in the distance. Now a days this past time can mainly be seen as a side show contest at festivals in rural areas performed by local townsfolk. I was in Floyd Virginia visiting my brother-in-law at the Floyd Festival. And I immediately knew I had to enter the contest.. for reasons I will explain later.
Let The Contest Begin
First of all, that is not me above ok? I’m just sayin! Sheesh
Despite the HOT, STICKY weather and MOSQUITO’s, everyone gathered around the outdoor stage was smiling and the air was filled with a cheerful anticipation for the start of the hollering contest.
One by one, each contestant was called on to the stage by the master of ceremonies where they explained the purpose of their call. Then almost ceremoniously, each contestant took a deep breath and cupped their hands around their mouth and yelled. NO NO, I mean they Hollered as loud as they could.
In the kiddy category, the kids all let out an ear drum bursting, blood curdling scream that any self respecting horror actress would be proud of.
Those Poor poor parents…
In the traditional category, one man did a pig call which I imagined must be how farmers long ago called their pigs home from the fields after a long day of grazing? Just a guess.
“HEEEEERE PIGY PIGY PIGY PIGyyy, HEEEEEERE PIGY PIGY PIGY”
In the Free style category, the category I was entered in, one man yodeled. it was a very good Yodel which made me think of Julie Andrews in the sound of music and that little Swiss guy on the Ricola commercials.
“Yodel-AY-ee OOOOOO, Yodel-ay-eeee, Yodel-ay-eEEEEEEE”
Fear And Loathing ( My turn )
“Our next contestant is Annie Andre” I gulped and smiled stoically as I walked towards the stage feeling like a shrinking violet.
“OMG, OMG, it’s not too late to turn back” I said to myself. But another voice said “keep walking Annie you SISSY, it’s only a silly screaming contest”.
Then I was front and center. I didn’t want to scream like I was in an ax murderer film like the little kids, and I didn’t want to Holler as if I was calling a farm animal either. That’s when it came to me. “It was perfect”
Overcoming Shyness and Fear, One Holler At A Time
A year ago, I would NEVER, EVER, and I mean EEEEEVER be seen on stage yelling at the top of my lungs for any amount of fame or fortune let alone a pithy small town prize.
Come to think of it, I didn’t even know what the prizes if any were. It didn’t matter. I was resound to face my fear of being on stage in front of people. Even if it was only a hollering contest.
So there I stood on stage. I explained to the crowd what the purpose of my holler would be.
“This is how I call my husband Blake” I said. ( I don’t really call him like this ok!)
“Heeeere BLA-KeY? BLA-KeY, BLAKeY BLAKeY, HeeeeRE BLAKeY BLAKeY BLAKeYYYYYYYYY?
My voice broke and cracked. I ran out of breath. I gave it my all.
I looked down at the crowd gathered around the stage. Everyone was laughing, smiling and I think I even heard a few “Woo HOOOO’s. This wasn’t so bad.
Now don’t judge me but I actually think I felt like I could do anything. Remember that scene from the Titanic? The one where Leonardo DiCaprio says “I’m the king of the world!”. I felt like that.
As I stood there, I had a brief flashback to my childhood that saddened me a little. I missed out on so much as a child all because of one thing… FEAR. My fear was all in my head.
As a child, I had a fear of the unknown, being humiliated or looking silly. I wasn’t afraid of anything concrete, like falling off my bike, riding a scary roller coaster or crashing my dirt bike. I was afraid of life, people and the unknown.
To say that I was shy as a kid would be an understatement.
Up until I was about 13 or 14 years old, I usually sat on the sidelines.
I never raised my hand in class.
I was always a wall flower at all 3 school dances I ever attended.
I always agreed with everyone and even walked a little hunched over because I was too scared to make eye contact.
I couldn’t even hold a conversation because I was too afraid of what someone would think of my opinions.
SNAP! As fast as the memory came it was gone. I flashed back to the present and pushed the sad childhood memory away. I was already walking back to my seat next to my family. stunned, dazed and ecstatic.
I did it.
What does a hollering contest have to do with crushing your fears and happiness?
Now, I know what you are thinking. It’s only a freaking hollering contest and it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is.
Words to live by: Elearnor Roosevelt once said and I quote “Do one thing everyday that scares”
If i had not gotten on that stage, I would have just sat there and watched other people. Instead, I fought my fear and just did it.
To be honest, that was not the first time I did something scary. I do things that scare me all the time. Little things. But after I do them, I feel amazing. With each new scary thing I do comes a bit of confidence that transcends into the rest of my life.
I guess you could say I am more confident.
TRY THIS: It will work for you too.
1-Pick something new you want to do or try.It doesn’t have to be crazy wild. Just anything small that you are scared to do. Or the next time someone asks you to do something, instead of saying no say “YES”.
2- Don’t back down or chicken out. Just do it no matter what. (For me it was this a hollering contest because it seemed absolutely ludicrous)
Then, watch what happens and how it makes you feel. Trust me, you’ll be a thrill seeker in no time.
Here is the formula which basically says (An Adventurous You = Fulfilled Life)
[YOU * (Novelty + Courage = Adventurous)] = [Life * (Success + Happiness + excitement= Fulfilment) ]
So tell me. What have you done to smash your fears? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to do something everyday that scares you.