Posts Tagged ‘anticipatory anxiety’

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Anticipatory Anxiety Meets String Tricks

Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP


My 9-year old daughter was in a third-grade talent show last Friday.  She was doing “string tricks” she learned on YouTube, you know anxiety, Police Psychologystarting with Cat’s Cradle, go to Cat’s Whiskers, Jacob’s Ladder, the Eiffel Tower, the witches broom, etc.  Okay, I have to admit I went “HUH?  What kind of talent is that?”  Not out loud of course, but to myself.  I was scared to death for her and pictured Alicia Keys on stage before her and Yo-Yo Ma after she performed, with her “string tricks” saddled in between   What an embarrassment for her!   I calmed myself down with saying it will be over in 2 minutes, and I am a psychologist, I will put her broken ego back together when it is over.  She will learn something from this.

“My name is Skylar and I am going to do string tricks I learned from videos on YouTube.”  We rehearsed her over and over.  I even filmed it to make her want to practice.  Practice for embarrassment, what a lousy deal.  My wife and I both went to the show with trepidation.  My butterflies were churning worse than when I sang my first professional opera.  Act after act came out and performed admirably, except they were third graders not Alicia Keys, and they stumbled over themselves, sang off-pitch and one kid kept hitting himself in the head with nun-chucks.  I felt better already, but then Skylar was announced.  “My Name is Skylar and I am going to do some string tricks I learned from videos on YouTube.”  She was so loud and clear and the only kid that actually talked.  OMG, she has stage presence!  She had the confidence of a kid that knew she had the best act in the show.  She started with Cat’s Whiskers then put them up to her face and meowed, and the crowd erupted into outrageous applause for each of her tricks.  A star was born, and a dad learned a lot about his own profession that night.   String tricks: police psychology, perhaps I had better explain…. (more…)

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