I’d like to believe I’m about the most real person you’ll ever meet. You ask me a question, I’ll tell it to you straight. I have a hard time mincing words. I’ll also tell you how I am feeling. You might be a little confused though. Even if I really don’t like you, I believe in BHD.
Basic. Human. Decency.
It’s the stuff where regardless of my emotions running amok, I’ll respect you enough to not show them on my face and use words instead. Not harsh words, but I try to go for kind words as much as possible. BHD is something my parents raised me to have. I try to instill it in my own kids, but that’s beside the point.
BHD is a lost art. I find that I really struggle with BHD because I have other more glaring problems. The Evil A (Anxiety) for one and a deep loathing for PS (Public Speaking). Evil A and PS take my normally congenial nature and suck it down a tube, which is not a good place to go when being an author.
What I was never told was that being an author means that I have to meet people, shake hands (I also have an irrational germ fear, but that’s another post entirely), and speak in public. The first time I had to get up in front of a classroom and teach, I had a full-blown panic attack before AND afterwards. I am not proud that I nearly passed out in the BYU campus bathrooms.
That being said, I think it is HILARIOUS when someone comes up to me after one of my lectures and tells me that they are so impressed with my natural ability to speak in front of large audiences. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Sorry. Whew, I lost it there for a moment. They don’t see the shaking, the dry mouth or hear my heart thumping in my ears to the tune of The Flight of the Bumble Bee.
But I keep doing it. I keep trekking across the country talking to kids about writing, I keep going to Writing Conferences, and Comic Cons. Anxiety is very real. The intense fear of public speaking hasn’t diminished. However, I’d like to think that I got a healthy helping of BHD somewhere in my genetics. I sincerely love people even though they scare the living daylights out of me. It’s a very weird combination.
I was asked if all writers have to be outgoing and extroverts to be published. No. No, you don’t. But, for the sake of my books, I pull up my big girl panties, walk in those classrooms with my head held high and keep 911 on speed dial. One of these days I am going to pass out and go into cardiac arrest. But I can promise you that I will teach the best damn class before I get wheeled out on that stretcher.