Ever since I can remember I've absolutely hated public speaking.
When I was in high school I wanted to be a lawyer, but the thought of having to speak in court turned me off, (silly I know). Ten years back, when I started writing, I had also started a small crafting business, (www.TheCraftSouk.com). I realized early on that I would have to pick between the two. Knowing that a big part of being a writer, was doing book readings, I decided to focus on the business. Too long I've let this fear guide my life. These past few months, writing has called me back. I have stories that need to be told.
Over the years I've been asked to attend functions and read from my books, I've always said no. Made some lame excuse and moved on. This time, when I was contacted by Sofia Qureshi of Muslim Moms in Durham, I said yes. Man, I was nervous, but I knew I had to push myself. I realize, for a lot of people, getting up on stage and speaking is no big deal, but for me it's everything.
I was the last speaker and had requested the kids to be up front and centre, I was reading to them after all. Kids are amazing. Really. So honest and interactive. They have no reservations. I began by introducing my two previous books in the Ibrahim Khan Series, then read them the first chapter of the not-yet-published book three. As I read, I kept my focus on the kids. The more I read, the easier it became. I did completely ignore the adults, sorry mommys...
The feedback from the kids was amazing. I got a big hug from one little girl, several feedback comments from a few of the older boys. One boy came up to me later and said, “That was a great first chapter.” I have to say, I'm so glad I did it. Could I have been better? Definitely! But if I hadn't tried, if I hadn't put myself in that uncomfortable situation, I wouldn't have allowed myself to grow. And that would have been a shame.
I look forward to more opportunities to be better, to serve better, insha’Allah.