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.
We lost a car on this trip, totaled.
But we lost nothing else.
And for that I’m truly grateful.