i gave a speech (that wasn’t about the merkin)

Once upon a time I was feeling brave. I try not to feel brave very often, because when I do, the crazy little ideas I keep buried in the back of my head solidify and turn into crazy big plans that take on a life of their own.

On a whim, I submitted an abstract for something I had been thinking about for a while – namely, my fear of other people and how I’m slowly learning to gracefully dance around my issues by stomping the ever-living fuck out of them. Just like I (eventually) grew tired of being crazy, I grew tired of waiting around for life to be interesting so I went and Did Something about it.

That something appears to have culminated in giving a presentation to a shockingly full room of people, most of whom I did not know. Outside of work, it was the first public speech I’ve had to give that involved actual preparation – casting doesn’t count because there’s no prep work and I don’t have to make eye contact with anyone (because then I’d miss the action I was supposed to be calling). It was terrifying. I felt very small and very silly all at once, and I don’t remember half of what I said.  I know I repeated myself several times and lost my place more than once, and most of my advice can be boiled down to “don’t be an asshole”. I ended my presentation with presents for the audience so they’d forget how many times I fucked up or stumbled over my words or just plain made no sense – don’t forget, I submitted the abstract thinking there was no way in hell it would actually be accepted so imagine my surprise and terror when I started hearing that people were actually INTERESTED in the topic – and instead concentrate on the awesome things my talented friends provided. I’m afraid of people, but I can be cunning when the situation calls for it (or when there is spy music playing in the background).

But .. I did it. I planned, built and delivered a presentation on overcoming the very thing that tries to keep me in the corner of the room trying desperately to sink into the floor. Not only that, but I think I may have pulled it off – people were saying some ridiculously nice things about my session on Twitter and to me afterward. Some of it was about the presents – let’s face it, the swag bags were *awesome* – but I think I got my message across. I don’t actually remember what that message is – it’s been a very long and overwhelming day – but I think I might have done good.

I think I might be proud of myself. What a weird feeling.

8 thoughts on “i gave a speech (that wasn’t about the merkin)

  1. What was in the swag bags?!

    My knees buckle when I consider even going for coffee with someone who doesn’t know me, I can’t imagine doing what you did, I hope you know how big a deal it is!

    Congratulations again!!

  2. I’m glad you feel proud of yourself. You certainly didn’t seem as nervous and awkward as I guess you felt. I really enjoyed and appreciated your presentation; it felt strangely loving and generous. And your slides were awesome.

    Here’s one of my little mantras for dealing with my social anxiety, I wish I could remember where I first heard it: “People are usually too busy worrying about what they’re saying themselves, to be as critical as you are about what you’re saying.” I’m sure it’s not always true, but thinking it helps me be much bolder than I’d ever thought I could be.

    Good luck and much happiness to you, Kimli! :)

  3. I think it’s Murphy’s Law at play that if you submit a proposal for a talk thinking you won’t get it, you will. So you think you’ve been very assertive and brave for just entering yourself for consideration but then you actually have to do the thing.

    But hurray for doing talks and not peeing oneself on stage!

  4. I don’t (gasp) have a blog (although did have the old school one eons ago – handcoded etc) & I went to Northern Voice to see if I could get inspired. I wasn’t expecting presentations such as yours, full of vibrant authenticity. It was one of the talks I came away from feeling inspired. And the swag was great. Thanks

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