How to Get over the Fear of Public Speaking

My father is a good  Christian man who speaks with the kind  of grace that can rouse  three hundred souls, even during the pauses, even when he’s taking a  breath. Cantonese slips  on eloquence like a cheung sam dress as it leaves  his tongue. Have you ever seen a congregation  inhale as one, straighten its shoulders  like an orchestra brought to attention?

My father has a voice like a train rushing headlong over the tracks near our church. My father’s voice was made for the gavel. My father’s voice gathers clouds. Be ye angry, and sin  not: Let not the sun go  down upon your wrath.

When I was a child, my father and I fought and my voice would cower,  play Peter, deny me  though it loved me. My voice                                       would get lost, never find its way out of the safety of my lips. My voice was not made  for war. It had       the shakes  and a fear  of crowds.

Now, when I call upon my voice, I tell it this: Let them hear me. I am      my father’s daughter.