Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The hardest 400 seconds of my life - Pecha Kucha

Public speaking.  I've always been terrified of it.  Most of the time my face, uncontrollably, lights up like a radish anytime I find myself speaking to any large group.  But about 6 months ago I sent the board a 'proposal' to let me speak at one of the future Pecha Kucha Charleston events.  I made my story sound real good and promised to have people in mud on stage...real entertaining stuff!  This event has gotten to be 'quite the rage' here in Charleston, with the latest event selling out in just 30 MIN!!!  400 PEOPLE!!!  Being that this particular Pecha Kucha was a special, all-female line-up, I felt particular honored to be asked to participate.

 And so, about a week prior to the event, reality hit like a ton of rocks in the bottom of my stomach. 'Why had I asked to do this?!'  No backing out now.  So I got to work....thinking...typing....meditating....wait I should write in a notebook.....ok, back to the laptop....did I mention that not only is public speaking my nightmare, but I'm also not really fond of writing. Writing papers has always seemed so tortuous to me.

Finally after agonizing over this horrible task, I sat down and just channeled out what I was thinking. I tried to not worry about grammar and spelling, but to just let it flow....relaxed, like talking with friends.
And I told my story. About MUD. About how mud came into my life. And why. And what it means.

My first pass totaled 11 min long. Shit.
This has to be how long? 6 min. and 40 sec?!
How in the world am I going to edit out HALF of this?!  It's all good stuff!

Luckily I have very patient and helpful friends and family, who each took a pass at it and scratched and re-worded things here and there....my helpful editors.

I chiseled and chopped away.  Timed myself on each paragraph over and over and over (thank you IPhone).
I read aloud.  My dog, Boney, was the forced audience time and time again, day after day.
I stacked 3 stools up in my Living Room and pretended it to be a lectern.
I video taped myself and watched it, which is extremely embarrassing!
I rehearsed for my buddies.

And then it was time.
I started my day with an Acupuncture Treatment at Charleston Community Acupuncture.
Then I drank calming teas and Kava.
Neurotic. Yes. However, it got me through the day....calm....clear headed...and ready to take on one of the biggest challenges of my life thus far.

So here it is kids....the hardest 6 min. & 40 sec. of my life..
Pecha Kucha Charleston 13 - Ladies Night!


mstracistrails said...

I can relate to your feeling of public speaking. I use to be that person that stood or sat in the background saying don’t pick me, don’t pick me to speak out loud about anything. I really don’t know when I came out of my shell. I guess it was a gradual thing that happened over the course of years raising my children and becoming involved with school events and projects that gave me the opportunity to meet other parents.
When I decided to return to school three and a half years ago one of the first classes that was suggested by my advisor that I take was Public Speaking. I totally cringed at the thought of having to make speeches to others in the class that would be my children’s age. I was relieved to find out that first summer of classes that I wasn’t the only older person in the class. It was an affirmation of sorts that I wasn’t crazy about my new venture in life. Even though I was still the oldest person in the class I didn’t feel out of place and the other students didn’t look at me like I was a freak for being there. Over the last three years I learned to overcome my nervousness in speaking in front of a group of people which is a good thing because I was going for my bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education. I finally made it to graduation in December 2011 and currently sending out applications to all schools with open positions. One thing that cropped up though is having to do job interviews again, now to me that is more nerve racking than talking in front of a class full of students. If you are wondering how I came to find your blog it was from April Wooten, one of the sweetest women I have had the pleasure to meet last summer, her sister is my sons’ girlfriend and through her facebook postings I get to keep up with the going ons out there as I live in Missouri. Keep up the good work I wish I could come be a part of your oven making venture. I grew up in Arizona and love adobe architecture I would have to say if I had a choice of building a new house that would be one on the top of my list. I have started a blog for a class this semester so check me out. mstracistrails.wordpress.com

kalamazookim said...

Great talk! I loved your story and you ideas for possibilities for the future. I hope I can get down to Charleston someday and see your oven. You rock!

evalarevolution said...

This was VERY inspiring! You gave a wonderful presentation April! Can't wait to collaborate again with you.

April said...

thank you all for your comments and support! 'mstracistrails' thank you for your story...and yes, april wooten is a wonderful friend! 'kalamazookim' where do you live??? 'eva' can't wait to see you next month!!!