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I’ve had a fear of public speaking since I was young. When I say a fear of public speaking, I don’t just mean that I get nervous. I’m talking – it’s a full body experience. My stomach churns, my heart races, my chest gets hot and my vocal chords stutter. To make matters worse, my throat starts to close up and it gets so bad that I even pass out. How embarrassing! I lived with this crippling fear for years and it stopped me from doing pretty much everything I wanted to do. That was until one day. This is the story about that one day that changes everything.

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Episode Transcript

Nicole 0:01
Hi, I’m Nicole. Everyone kept telling me that my unique life experiences and messages of hope, would make a great podcast. So I made one. Join me as I journey through life’s many obstacles on girl versus world.

Nicole 0:29
Hello, everybody, and welcome back to The Girl vs world podcast. I’m so excited to have you here today. Today we talk about stuff and things. No, actually, I wanted to tell a story. So every now and then I want to kind of break up the episodes with a story from my life. Sometimes they’re going to be happy stories, sometimes they’re going to be sad story, sometimes they’re going to be something in between a might, they might even make you mad or make you sad, or whatever. But I want to tell stories. So one of the major reasons that I decided to start a podcast to begin with was because people like my stories, honestly, good or bad. Like, it sometimes was hard to believe that things happened to me or like, that’s a crazy story, you should tell people about it, you should write about it. And so I want to keep with that tradition, and make sure that I tell you stories from my life and interesting stuff and things. So what are one of the biggest things that I’ve battled or maybe not one of the biggest things, but all thing that I’ve battled in my life is I have an incredibly strong fear of public speaking. Now, I realized that sounds somewhat crazy, because,

Nicole 2:01
you know, I, I have to adjust my camera here. So apologies to YouTube, because you just had to watch that. And it was awkward and weird. By the way, if you’re not subscribed to my YouTube, you should be because you can watch me be awkward and weird. And who doesn’t want to watch that. So anyway, I have a fear of public speaking, it has stopped me from doing a lot of things in my life when I was younger, I would literally pass out. So let me tell you a story about that. And then I can tell you the story I’m trying to get to so as a teenager, I had such as a fear of public speaking that like, my, like voice box, and my throat would like clam up and just like, completely shut down, and nothing would come out, like I could barely breathe. And it didn’t matter how prepared I was, like, how, how many hours I spent on my presentation, my nerves were gonna get the best of me. And I was like, without a doubt, either going to not be able to talk because like my throat would like close up, or I was like gonna pass out or not even be able to get out of my chair. I legit could sometimes would just like, take the F on the project, which was really hard for me because I was like such a perfectionist. But I would take the F because I was so terrified of getting up in front of people. So in college, I get to college. And I’m like, you know, I’m feeling a little more confident, like I’m in college. So I’m smart. And I should be here and I pay to be here even. And I have to give a presentation about my family tree. So I had done all this research and I was so prepared and I felt so confident walking into it. And I bring my project up there and I have it on a flash drive. I don’t know if people still use flash drives for like, presentations. I think most people are probably using the cloud now, which was not a thing when I was in college. And that ages me but whatever. I had a flash drive. And I plugged my flash drive in, everything pops up, you know, no tech problems. The projector comes down. And I’m standing in front of this room full of college students and I can get my name out and barely my last name before my body starts to completely betray me. Like I’m telling you. When I say that my my voice box and my vocal cords tighten up. It is an experience that is so shocking to me that like it makes me panic too because I’m already nervous. Right you When you’re nervous, you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach. And it’s like butterflies in like a terrible way. And for me, my chest gets hot, like, I start to flush and my chest gets hot. And then my throat like, it’s like someone is choking me. And it’s terrible. It’s a whole body experience, I start sweating. So the thing about me is like, I don’t like sweat on my face, like I get like oily, but I don’t really sweat on my face. And I don’t really sweat other areas, but I sweat profusely in my armpits. So when I get nervous, it’s way worse, like I sweat when it’s cold outside. But when I’m actually nervous, like, the amount of sweat, like I have to wear, like a black shirt, to protect my dignity, because I sweat so much. So I’m up their armpits for a sweat, heart racing, stomach turning, I get my name out, I get my last name out and boom, close down. And I go to talk and nothing comes out. And everybody’s just staring at me. Like, I’m feeling even like more pressure, my professor is like standing kind of next to me at his podium. And I can’t get anything out. And so I try to take a breath. And you know, when you take a breath, and you’re so nervous that you like shutter, like I said, like, that’s what I did. So I make that sound. And that makes me even more embarrassed, where everything is just stacking on top of itself, where I was already embarrassed. Now I’m mortified. I go to take a drink of water. And I pour it all over myself. Now I’m just I’m a mess. I’m a complete mess. everybody’s watching this, I can’t talk anymore.

Nicole 6:58
So I turn around for a second. And I’m just like trying to gather myself, I turn back around. And that was it. That’s all I remember. Like, that’s that was my family tree presentation in college. It was me. Like, totally screwing it up. Like I didn’t, I got my first and last name out everybody. Like, that’s it. That was my presentation. And I was mortified. I didn’t want to go back to that class ever again. And from then on, like, I’m like, I thought like high school like it would be over because I got teased in high school a lot. I got caught, you know, I was like, the Bible club kid and I was flat chested and had really bad acne on my forehead and I got made fun of a lot. Like, that’s just how it was like I had tiny boobs, and I wore sweaters and pulled my hair back in a ponytail all the time. And that was me, you know. And so I thought like, once I got out of high school, like I just maybe I was that nervous because High School it wasn’t, I was just nervous. So I get a college pass out and I’m the girl who passes out like, you know, we’re at in an adult setting, but we’re still college students, so we’re still really immature and and now I’m just mortified, like, I can’t seem to do anything that requires me to be in front of people. So like my dream of being an actor and my dream of like, being a musician, like all of these things require you to be very public facing and having the confidence to like, stand up and, and really put yourself out there and here I was just completely crumbling. And, and I was, you know, dating my now ex husband, who killed my self esteem pretty much every day. Like if I was good at something or had a good day, he found a way to crush it. So you put all those years together and I’m just this mess of a person who can’t get up and speak in front of people. And so I’m letting my dreams die like this fear is completely taken over my want or my seemingly ability to get out there and do the things that I want to do. Like, there’s no way I’m gonna follow this dream of acting and stuff because like I pass out like there’s How do I overcome that? I can’t. So I like give up for a long time. It’s not until I’m 29 years old, that I start taking acting classes and I’m nervous in those acting classes, like legit sitting there sweating and nervous but I get through it. With the acting. It’s easier because I’m not being myself and being another character. So I’m able to like do that. I can be other people And I can pretend to be other things. And I could suspend that fear for a little bit longer, you know, but as soon as you asked me to get up and speak on something, I’m crumbling, like any of the acting classes where they’re like, there’s these exercises where they have you do something that you would do in the privacy of your home, like brush your teeth, and do that in front of people as yourself. Shaking, hands shaking, sweating, like, if I talk, my voice is shuttering, or I’m just closing up, right like that is that’s just the way my body works. And I’m feeling really defeated. You know, I’m like, there’s no way I can do this. There’s just no way. So I take these acting classes, and I start getting myself in front of people and exercising that muscle. And, you know, I moved to Hollywood to pursue acting. And if you’ve ever been in an audition room before, then you understand how difficult it is to be standing there. It’s like, it is a public speaking fear nightmare. audition rooms, because you are literally going in there to be judged. Like the fear behind public speaking often has to do with your what you think about, you know yourself, because you’re afraid that people are judging you or they’re not going to like your content, or they’re going to be mad at you or, you know, all these different ideas that start to run through your brain as to why you can’t public speak, right? All this deep seated like insecurity. So

Nicole 11:40
I get Somehow, I you know, I’ve gone through, I’ve gone through a couple of auditions, and they weren’t great. I got really nervous, I forgot lines, things like that. But I get this audition for a short film, like independent short film. I’m just starting out, I probably shouldn’t even be in this room yet. But somehow I’ve gotten this audition. And to paint the scene for you. I’m playing like, at this time, I’m like a blonde bombshell. And I’ve been working out I have a tan I have like fake fingernails. And I’ve got stiletto heels on in like a napkin for a dress. It is 7:30am in the morning, I walk up into this building and have this audition, you walk into the actual room, like the waiting room where everyone is sitting. And everyone looks the same, right? Like if you’ve never been to an audition before this happens, sometimes we’re like, you walk into the room, and it’s just a bunch of clones, or you walk into a room.

It’s a bunch of different people. Or what’s worse, is when you walk into the room, and everybody looks the same and you’re the one person that doesn’t look anything like any of these people, and you’re like, Oh, I’m the option. Like there’s, I’m just the option, like they want to audition somebody that looks a little different. Just to see, just for shits and giggles. So I walk, I walk into this audition and it’s a bunch of clowns. Everyone’s dressed in napkins and stilettos, you know, and I’m, I’m nervous. I’m so nervous. I’m scared, like, every every bad thought like, you can’t do this, you shouldn’t be here. You’re not pretty enough, you’re not tall enough, you’re not skinny enough. You know, they’re never gonna pick you, all of those things are rushing through my head. It’s time to take a break. What does that mean for you, that means you get to hear a commercial from me. So this is just my quick pitch to let you know that I have a Patreon. If you would like to support the show, we have a couple of tiered levels, feel free to sign up for whatever suits your fancy. And we’ll be offering things like add free episodes exclusives, I might have some chat sessions in there, maybe some Zune sessions. I’ve got lots of ideas for stuff and things and ways to make this podcast even better. So head on over to Patreon there can be a link below the YouTube video. There’s a link on the website Girl vs world.com at the top in the navigation, there’s also a link in each of the posts for the podcast. So

Nicole 14:27
wherever you’d like to find the link, if you want to sign up, go ahead, head on over to our Patreon and you know, help a girl out. Again, this is really early in my career. So I’m I’m very insecure like extremely insecure and so afraid of public speaking still. But I’m pushing myself through it, you know, like I have to give early me credit for being so afraid and doing it anyway. like wow, right. So I get it, I get into the audition room. And as you get in there, you’re terrified of a few things, at least from my from my point of view, I was always afraid of being judged, of someone telling me that I suck. Because that would be the worst thing to find out as an actor is that you You stink, like you’re just not a good actor, and you should quit, right? Like, that’s the thing that I was always afraid of, like casting directors telling me is that I have no talent, I have no skill, I should quit. But I’m telling myself that my inner monologue has already told me that and if someone confirmed it, I would just die. That is how I feel inside. So I go into this audition. It’s a table of about four or five people. And then off to the side is someone Manning a camera, and then a speaker, a a reader. What a reader is, is somebody that stands off camera and reads the other lines, so you have someone to interact with. Typically, a reader gives you nothing. Like if you were looking for a motion from a reader, forget about it. they’ve read this part for like 100 different people before you, they are giving you no emotion and you need to act your little heart out because they don’t give a shit. Like they’re just there to read the lines and say next. Okay.

Nicole 16:20
So my resume at this point is tiny. I have a high school play, some college coursework, some coursework from a reputable acting school in Orange County, and a black box theater to black box theater place. That’s all I have on my resume. I have no film. I have no short films. I don’t even have student films yet. And so I hand over this resume with my headshot. And the guy looks at it, and he’s like, Huh, so this black box theater, I’m gonna leave the name out because it doesn’t matter. They’re like, so you worked at this black box theater? I said, Yeah, it was. It was a really great experience. And he goes, hmm, my ex girlfriend used to work at this theater and she’s a bitch. And I’m like, oh, okay, so wasn’t such a great idea, I guess to work at that theater because this casting director hates it. And it goes, all right, go and throws my resume down and like, leans back into his chair. And he’s just like, he just looked like an asshole. Just like a total dick. Right? Like, he’s just like, Okay, it’s time for you to impress me, which my inner monologue is like, holy shit, this guy already hates me.

I’m like crying inside and, and sweating more and like, everything. Everything is bad. Everything is bad, right? So. So we go and I mess lines. I miss lines up. I’m nervous. I’m shaking. So I try to because my hands aren’t looking very sexy, cuz I’m supposed to be sexy. I put them behind me thinking that like, maybe that’ll look cute. But probably I just look like I’m trying to escape from a a. What do you call those things? Those best that they tie crazy people up in like a straight jacket. So probably does look like a person that’s in a straight jacket, and it’s not sexy. And so I finish and I look up, and he just has an unimpressed look on his face. I’m like, okay, it’s over. Oh, it’s not over. It’s not over by a long shot. We have just begun. It’s like this casting director soft brush meat. And he wanted to tenderize that meat and tell it was flat on a surface. And I was that person.

So he looks at me. He goes, can you take your shoes off? I want to see how tall you are. So I take my shoes off very awkwardly and my very short dress and he goes, Okay, I guess you’re tall enough. So now he’s, you know, picking at how I look. And he’s like, well, you know if, if if I had any say it is like if you had to lose some weight. Do you think you could do that for this role?

Nicole 19:32
I’m like, absolutely. Your fucking deck. Like, but I in my head. I’m like this guy like, Okay, can you just like, tell me that you don’t like me? Like, why are you making me stand here? So he’s just, he’s going over my outfit and like how tall I am. And if I would lose weight, and he goes, You know, I don’t really like you for this role. So I’m like, Okay, well, at least I’m gonna get he’s gonna send me out of this room. And I can like I can leave and it’s over, pull the band aid off and leave. Right? He goes, I want you to read for another part. And I’m like, Oh, no. Okay. So you know, usually that means a good thing, like, I want you to read for another part is usually a good sign. But because he’s already beaten me down some, it doesn’t feel necessarily like a good sign. But I take it and I go out in the lobby goes down the lobby, learning signs come right back. It’s only a few lines.

So I get the lines down, I come back, and it goes, Okay. Go. And I say the lines. And he goes, I’m gonna stop you. Let me set up the scenario for you. Because you don’t know. So let me explain. And I’m like, Okay, well, this is my first instance of mansplaining. And in Hollywood, great. Let me let me listen, let me listen. No, but for real, he was like, really condescending about it like, this, this guy just oozed as wholeness. for lack of a better term. So he, he’s like, right after you say these lines, you are gonna fuck the lead character. And those are his exact words, you’re gonna fuck the lead character. And I go, Okay, so we do it again. And I say it differently in a more sexy way. And then goes, I’m gonna give you another direction. He’s like, you need to save this. Like, your life depends on it like your sexiest possible, this is your only chance. And it could be life changing type of like, raw animal. sexuality. Okay, so I give it a go. Right? And, and our I don’t think I’ll ever forget these lines. But the whole line is we’re in a bookshop. And I say to him, if I buy your book, will you sign it for me? That’s it, those little lines. If I buy your book, will you sign it for me? So I give him my best Samantha from Sex and the City, oozing sexuality. And I like lean over the desk. And

Nicole 22:29
if I buy your book, will you sign it for me? And he kid you not goes your sexy, reads at about 14 years old, have a nice day, and sends me out. And that’s it. That is my first big audition in Hollywood. Now I have to walk through this lobby of clothes of beautiful, beautiful women that I now feel so much lower than because I’ve been beaten up in this audition room. And I’m just trying not to cry as I walk through this lobby. So I go her walk through the lobby, and it’s taking everything inside of me not to start bawling my eyes out. I walked through the lobby, I get to the elevator and I’m pressing that button like as fast as I can like, hurry, hurry, hurry, because like, I’m gonna start crying. I don’t want these people to see me cry. Like that is the last thing like my dignity has already been stripped from me by that man in that room. And I don’t want to cry in front of these people. So I get in the elevator. And as soon as the door close, I break down. I am a puddle on the floor in this elevator and I am uncontrollably sobbing.

All the things that I had worried about being said about me, this guy attacks my sexuality, which I’m at this point in my life where like, I was abused so much by my ex. And I was so insecure that like telling me that my sexuality reads are about a 14 year old. Like, that’s some messed up shit to say to somebody in general. Not to mention to somebody like me who was healing from something so so damaging. To hear that I was devastated. I sat in my car, sweating my ass off because I didn’t have any AC just crying. And this is the moment I always talk about when I tell people about my journey through Hollywood and becoming an actor and doing what I do now is I had a decision to make that day. I sat there and I had to make a decision. Because this guy wasn’t going to be the last guy that I would have to come up against and rise above And know that I am better than the things that were said to me in that room. I know I’m going to see this guy over and over and over.

And it’s not just in Hollywood, it’s everywhere. I’m going to see these types of people everywhere, I can’t escape it, you’re gonna, you’re going to be influenced by these people, you’re going to have to deal with them. And it’s in that moment, as I’m crying and sweating, that I decide. Either I have to quit the industry or rise above it. Those are my choices in that car. Like I could quit. Now, I tried, I gave it a go, like, I could hang my hat on that and be like, you know what I tried, and it just wasn’t for me. But that’s not what I did. I said, You know what, I wipe those tears out of my eye. And I was like, that’s it, I will not going to let some some person who knows nothing about me tell me that I can’t have the dream that I want to have.

And I have been fighting in Hollywood ever since. And I’ve had more situations like that I’ve been torn down by men, by women, by everybody. And I’ve had people tell me that I suck that I’m no good that I should give up that I should go back to another type of career that it would you know, I should just settle down because now I’m getting older. Like there’s all these outside influences that keep telling me not to do it. But there is a part of my soul that cannot be quieted when it comes to this because I want it that bad. So I started working ahead to start working on that public speaking fear. I had to rise above it. I started doing theater, I started

Nicole 26:54
putting myself in uncomfortable situations, I legitimately went and got a job hosting trivia for a bar, so that I would be forced to be on a microphone in lead people. I had to do it. And I fought my way through those things. Sometimes I felt like barfing. Sometimes I stuttered through the first hole round, you know, I’ve gone through these things where, you know, again, I’ve I’ve battled this fear, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me. And there’s probably something in your life right now where you’re like, there’s no way I could do it because of this thing. Everybody’s got one of those things, there’s, there’s a reason what, why you’re being stopped from doing the things that you want to do. Whether it’s a dream to be an actor, or a singer, or whether you you know, you want to find that that perfect person or you want to have that career or you want to write or whatever it is in your life that you really, really want.

There’s something that’s holding you back. And I’m here to tell you that I really thought that I was never going to be able to defeat this public speaking fear. I literally was clamming up throat closing and in passing out, like, I don’t know if it gets any worse than that, quite honestly. And I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s been easy to overcome that fear and that insecurity in my brain and learning how to quiet that voice that tells me not to do things when I know when like, everything I want to do and accomplish. And I have this narrative in my head that’s like, you can’t do that. Only a couple of people in the world get to do that, you know, like, you’re not special, like all of these things. That gets said inside of my head.

You just have to learn how to quiet it and you have to decide for yourself. Do you want it bad enough? Do you want what you want bad enough to fight for it? Not everything in this life you have to fight for. For some of us, we were born into having money and being comfortable. Some of us, you know have had to struggle more than others. And I’m not here to say that your struggle compares to mine, or that my struggle was harder than yours because none of that shit matters. What matters is if it’s something that you want, you need to go get it and don’t let fears, insecurities and all of those people around you like outside forces tell you that you can’t have what you want. Because the people that have what they want. The ones that you’re looking at, and you’re admiring and you’re watching is because they believe that they could get it and then they went and got it.

There are anomalies where people like got things and they got things handed to them and it was easy for them but we’re not those people If we were those people, we wouldn’t have to fight so dang hard, right? Like, we’re not those people. So we’re the people that have to decide for ourselves. If this is the thing we want, then we have to go get it. If you have that fear like I did, I can, you know, I can give you tips and tricks on how to fight that fear. But it all starts with your internal monologue and deciding that you can a, go get what you want, and be that you deserve it. And nobody can tell you anything different.

That guy did not determine the rest of my future, but he could have if I let him, I could have let him crushed me. And I would have quit acting. And I wouldn’t have the friends that I have today, the experiences that I’ve had, the great projects I’ve been able to work on, I wouldn’t have any of that if I decided that day in the car, to not follow my dream. Instead, I look at that guy, and he did me a favor, because he showed me early on how ugly things can be. And I decided that day

Nicole 31:12
I was like, This is ugly. But what I want matters more than that. What I want is my dream is the thing that I want, and I deserve it. And I’ve been telling myself that every day and I go through ups and downs of feeling worthy and unworthy. And maybe I should just quit. And I have all of that still going on in my head too. And I’m gonna be honest with you about that, there are days where I think about moving out of LA and calling it quits. And being like, this is it, I can’t do this anymore. But that thing inside me that I’ve been working on that says you should get what you want. And you can is what keeps me here and keeps me fighting. And that’s what you need to acquire to, and it’s already inside of you. You just have to work on that.

Decide what it is that you want to do, and start doing it. That’s the best advice I can give you if you have a fear that you’re not facing, turn around, look at it and go for it. But you have to start doing it. Because if you hesitate, you’re never going to get there. If you’re hesitating and talking yourself out of it. You’re getting further and further away from actually getting the thing that you want, whatever that thing is. But if you act on it right now, today, do something toward that goal. There’s always something you can do. There’s something you can do every day, you don’t have to do it all in one day. But you can do a little bit every day and get closer and closer. That’s how I got to creating this podcast is I did little stuff every single day. It’s how I got here. You know, not letting that guy defeat me in that audition room has got me here. What I have known that back then No, not at all. But here I am. And I have successful projects under my belt.

I’m making this podcast on my own. I am writing things I am going to start directing and starring and things as well on my own projects and in other connections I’ve made, because I believe that this is what I meant to do. I’m meant to be here to entertain people, to make them happy to help them with a story that my life has been. And I’ve got lots of stories. So this is just one story of so many that I look forward to sharing with all of you and really telling you that like it is possible. I am telling you if I could get over this fainting, anxiety ridden public speaking fear that you can get over whatever it is that stopping you from getting what you want. All you got to do is start today. Start right now as soon as this podcast is over, turn it off. Well, you can like it or share it or maybe write me a review. But after that, write down what it is that you want, and start taking action toward it.

Nicole 34:22
You deserve it. Thank you so much for listening to our episode. Today. I am your podcast host and producer Nicole Samra and the music for this show is called 80s pop dreams by sound tricks. If you loved our episode today, please feel free to give us a rating on whatever network you’re tuning in on and we look forward to having you back next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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