Anxiety hinders performances

For some people, it comes easy. For others it is a horrible experience.
Sweaty palms.
Hands shaking faster than a new massage chair.
There is that urge to run to the bathroom, despite the fact that you were there only 10 minutes ago.
Those butterflies in your belly caused you to skip breakfast and now some monster has taken up residence and is clenching into a tight ball of nerves and roaring his frustration.
Public speeches and performances are daylight, wide-awake nightmares.
I will never understand those who can walk in front of a crowd of people, be it 20 or 200 and deliver a speech or perform with ease.
My fear does not stem from any one specific event; it has been present for as long as I can remember. And because I have had years of experiencing it I can safely say that there is no way to avoid it, unless you are immune to it. Which I am not.
I have played piano for nine years now and that has entailed performing in multiple recitals every year. Memorized performances. I have never walked into one of these events with a clear mind and my stomach at ease. I will obsess over every detail of the piece (and will reliably manage a blunder or two) as a lapse in memory can cause the piece to go from one key signature to another in seconds and then leave you floundering.
But worse than piano recitals are presentations in school.
I understand that public speaking is important for kids because it helps us learn and grow into more comfortably social beings. Nevertheless, I still feel a little corner of my soul begin to crumble and weep every time a teacher announces that we will be doing presentations. An essay I can do. I will write eloquently and use proper grammar. It will be turned in on time and the margins will be just the right size. I will cite every quote and type up a bibliography. But presentations… those I cannot do.
I am like many others and once I get up in front of the class, I am prone to forgetting such things as the subject of my speech, my own middle name, how to finish a sentence and…
Everybody stares when you forget what you are saying. They cannot prompt you because they do not know what you are about to say; besides, they probably were not listening. Eyes blank and bored, the soulless stare you down as you try to recall the importance of one historical detail or another.
Despite all the horrible sensations and sentiments that come with public speaking and performances, I do think that they have helped me to a certain degree. The stomach ache inducing nervousness and momentary panic attacks have made it easier to go back into that uncomfortable spot that is the limelight.
Over my years of trudging through recitals and speeches, self-consciousness and fear of harsh judgment, I have decided that probably nobody in the audience really cares what I have to say: they are most likely just nervous about their own performance or speech.
Public speaking is comparable to hot yoga or wearing a too-tight sweater: the action itself is horrible and slightly masochistic but the relief that comes afterwards outweighs the agony and torture of the pre-performance anxiety and the performance itself.
Afterwards, a calm akin to the calm after a storm settles in.
Afterwards, everything does feel okay, because now your legs sit still, no longer jumping crazily.
And that sweet relief almost makes up for those stressful ordeals of public speaking or performing.