Day 48 Risk: Speak at a Swanky Event

As regular readers or peeps in my life know, I ended a job that has been dear to my heart this month. I needed to spend part of this month organizing paperwork and tying up all the loose ends and when I discovered that our organization was being honored with a Visionary Award by one of our partner organizations, I decided that today would be my last day, the culmination being the awards ceremony.

When I arrived at the event, I discovered that this was not only an awards ceremony but also a benefit for their organization. Therefore there were a lot of people in ties and dresses, people who probably work nice corporate jobs and get paid obscene amounts of money to trade stocks or plan investment packages. I struggle to feel comfortable around those people because, let’s face it, I’m not exactly someone to bring home to mom. I cuss like a sailor and am not afraid to show some cleavage. Throw in that I want to be an “artist” (go ahead and use a pompous accent if you please) and I suddenly feel weird in my own skin.

But we were being honored by one of my favorite non-profits that I’ve ever known about. They truly are an amazing organization that helps survivors of sexual assault in the hospital and with counseling as well as education around the city and so much more. They rock basically. And normally at these types of events I have no problem with the fact that my boss gives all the speeches. But this time it was different.

As the presenter of our award was talking about us and our organization, I could feel my heart pounding against the wall of my chest. This was a weird sensation for me because normally my nerves, while frayed, are not so immediate. I was shaking as we walked up on stage to accept. My boss spoke first and then handed the mic to me.

It went pretty well I think. I was on the verge of tears the whole time but pulled a Reverse 3 Year Old and held it in (for reference see the blog post from two days ago). I was able to make it through the entire speech without crying which I can’t believe happened. I still felt crazy nervous throughout with seeing these suits staring up at me but then I remembered something that I haven’t thought since my high school graduation: I’m never going to see most of you again. I searched for the women I had worked with and focused on them. They were who I was speaking to anyway.

After it was all over those women thanked me for my words and expressed their sadness in me leaving. I’m really proud of myself for facing that fear. I’m not so much afraid of public speaking as I am of talking to certain groups. For years I’ve been viewed as being so much younger than I am and it causes me to feel that young in certain situations. But I had things I needed to say to these women and this organization. If I had chickened out, not only would I have probably never said them, I would have also missed an opportunity to offer up personal stories and appreciation in a setting where someone with way more money than me could donate.

It was a great way to culminate my time with this program. Even though the party was not for me, in my head I made it for me. I will miss this program with all my heart. But I’m also so happy to be taking a step towards what I’m longing to do.

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