We arrive at the venue to get ready for me to do my presentation. There was so much noise inside of me.Noise, Noise, NOISE. My usual nerves about doing a presentation, things I’ve never tamed, sat on the jeering section of the grandstands in my mind right along side of the ‘you failed last time, you’ll fall this time’ who had dressed up for the occasion and joining them was the image of a 18 wheel truck bearing down on me. My hands were still trembling.

I watched the audience come in and choose seats, I watched as they settled in place, I watched as they looked over to the presentation table with expectation. My heart had moved to my throat and I could feel it pumping wildly. I looked at the clock, I started in 20 minutes. It was a long 20 minutes and the noise inside just got louder. I know the names to call myself, the ones that really hurt.

Then, suddenly, out of no where I was being introduced. I took a breath, opened my mouth and out of it came a story I’d never told before, it came fully formed, it was shiny with truth and it propelled me on my way. About 10 minutes later I was enjoying myself. By the end of the day, I felt victorious because, not only did I get through it all, the noise in the my head, the jeering had stopped.

We got in the car and I said to Joe, I have my career back. I can still do this. If I can fight off all those demons of negativity today, I can do it any day.

I presented again the next morning, to people with intellectual disabilities, the kindest audiences I have because they all seem to be wishing you well. They participated, laughed and even surprised themselves a time or two.

I was done and all that was left was the going home.

I’m home.

We lost a car on this trip, totaled.

But we lost nothing else.

And for that I’m truly grateful.

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