The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The big event today was attending a Beginnings class given at the church I attend. The Beginnings class is a class to introduce newcomers to the church to Unitarianism. I had signed up for it over the summer without the prior knowledge of when it would begin. I have to say that I was very intrigued when I signed up for it. I thought it would be like Unitarianism 101 or the Beginners Guide To Unitarianism.

When I arrived at the church for the class there was already a couple of people waiting outside the door. They were waiting because the door was locked. Eventually someone came along with a key and opened the door for us. In total there were about ten people in the Beginnings class.

I believe the class was to have lasted for three weeks finally culminating in a pot luck supper held at the co-ministers new house. Everything at the meeting started off pretty good. Then they had us introduce ourselves to the group......

We had to talk for 5 minutes about ourselves with a large stop watch ticking in front of us. This made me very nervous. I am a woman of few words. I could not imagine filling five minutes of time talking....talking about nothing but me! As it got closer and closer to my turn I started to panic. My heart was racing I felt that if I stayed there any longer I would have a heart attack. I felt that if I said anything when it was finally my turn that I would start to stutter and cry. Then everyone there would think I was insane or a basket case of some sort. The pressure was too much. Why did they have to have a stop watch??? In retrospect they probably had the stop watch out because some people are a bit more loquacious than others.

While sitting there waiting my turn I knew that I was in the grip of a panic attack and that I had to leave. I could not take it anymore I felt like I could not breathe. When they got to the eighth person, I was the tenth person, I bolted for the ladies room. I felt that if I went there I would be able to calm myself down enough to introduce myself and talk for five minutes. I never reached the feeling of calmness I was seeking. Every time I psyched myself up enough to walk back in the direction of the meeting waves of panic would grip me. I finally quietly left the meeting and went home.

While home I sent an email to the two co-ministers explaining my quick exit. I hope that they are understanding and do not hold my anxiety over unscripted public speaking against me. I also wrote to them that I would be unable to attend further classes. The pressure of a stopwatch sitting in front you as you talked was too much for me. It made me fear what subsequent classes would be like.

link | posted by gail at 10:19 PM |


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