Monday, November 2, 2009

First Speaking Engagement

I've been asked to do a talk tomorrow about my last three years living post cancer. I'm so exhausted and don't know what to say. I realize I've been writing about it for the last 2 years but speaking verbally about it seems so much different. I battle to keep my emotions in check at all times when speaking face to face with people. I've just been burned too many times in too many different contexts and to me speaking about what you're going through = sharing = being vulnerable = being a target.

Doing it on the blog is a controlled way of sharing for me. It's me stretching my boundaries and trying to change for the better. Outside in the real world I'm not so good at this. I suppose that's not that unusual in the context of the world, I just learned early on that allowing people in wasn't worth it. Going through cancer, treatment and recovery just adds a whole new layer of stuff to try and figure out for myself. Not sure how to relate that to other people.

And I struggle with trusting people. I struggle with letting people know how I actually feel in any way that connects me to them on a personal level.

I have to admit that up until now it's worked for me but now things have changed. I know I need to change.

What the heck do I talk about in a way that is remotely interesting to them? Do I talk about being tired because that's mostly what I've got going on these days. I feel like I have a couple of 100lb bags of rice laying on top of me most of the time. Do I talk about my disappointments or my frustration with getting through every day? Do I talk about how hard it is to raise kids with no money or energy? Do I tell them that my house is a disaster because my energy never gets much farther than the grocery store?

Or do I talk about the moments I work so hard to squeak out of every day? The ones where I laugh my ass off at the sheer absurdity of life. I think that would get me through about 2 minutes and they want me to talk for 15-20!

Seriously could use any input on what to talk about and it's in the morning! I have a feeling I will be figuring this out in the car on my way there so if you have any, any, any ideas please let me know ASAP!

I can see it now actually. Me standing up in front of them tapping the microphone, *tap tap* "Is this thing on?"

"Ahem.... so there was this bald chick who walked into a bar...."


Steve Allender said...

Actually, as you've already worked out...make them laugh. If you have access to using visuals, look around for a few cartoons or such like to help illustrate the points you want to make. Think of it as a stand up routine. Make yourself a few LARGE PRINT prompt cards just incase you dry up...and have fun with it

Best of luck : )

ridiculum acri fortius et melius magnas plerumque secat res


BaldyLocks said...

Thank you :)

Tina Mammoser said...

Hi, first time here! (from the Etsy blog thread)

Could you maybe take some of your favourite blog posts (and ones people liked the most) and work around those topics? I think you should actually open with just what you've said here - that you're exhausted and hestitating sharing face to face until now. Explain how writing was easier and about your blog - then say you're going to share a few thoughts from it? Just an idea that might take some of the pressure off. :)

Congrats on 3 years!!!!! :D :D :D


Great advice from Steven and Tina.... maybe encourage your audience to ask YOU questions, things they might be curious about. You'll be great.... remember the anticipation is usually much more frightening than the actual event.

Good luck brave girl :)

Caroline said...

I think you could talk about what you just said. How opening is up is difficult because you've been burned before. I can completely understand what you mean by that as well. You control your communication in your blog but to get up in public is very different. Good luck!

Captain Skulduggery Dug said...

I understand where you are coming from. I find it really hard to talk about my illness to people without bursting into tears. I have found however that if I set my mind to act as if I am talking about someone else and not me I can get some of it out in a coherent way.

Just remember that crying is not a bad thing, even if it is in front of other people, as long as you keep it from totally taking over from the message you are trying to get across, so if you do let a tear run down your face just wipe it away, try to crack a joke and move on to the next topic on you flash cards.

Good luck and big Love from Jon and me!

Sarah Knight said...

good luck : )

surely they won't throw tomatoes, and if they do, then just juggle them and give them razzies

Susan C said...

You don't say who your audience is, and that makes a big difference in what approach you take.

I have no doubt that the audience will 1) fall in love with you 2) develop a better understanding of your post-cancer life 3) be begging for more.

BaldyLocks said...

Thanks for all your thoughts. I will do my best :)

Ann aka ButDoctorIHatePink said...

Am I late to the party? Have you given the talk yet?

You have to pick one big theme and work around that. Life After Cancer - is that it? Then talk about how much joy you get at seeing the faces of children, a lovely sunny day, a generous friend. Interweave that with stories about how hard it is physically and emotionally but in the end, you have survived to enjoy the smaller things in life. You can make it funny and charming.

Kind of cliche but I think that's what most people want to hear. :)

Or, you say having cancer sucks and there is nothing good about it and there is nothing to learn from it but how to buy a wig, which is kind of how I feel. :)

Jens said...

Conversations always have their own dynamics. If I have a bad day, I react to situations differently than if I had a good day. This is so because I am a human (like you). "I have to say this, I have to say that, ... I have to make people laugh," ...uhmm ... really? My tip for you: Just be you. That should be for everyone on this planet good enough.

My english is unfortunately too bad to really express myself precisely.

Andrea Q said...

Best of luck to you!

BaldyLocks said...

Thanks everyone. It went way better than I expected.

tattytiara said...

I felt confident it would have gone well, but I'm still glad to read that you're happy with how it went. Too often the two things don't occur simultaneously, you know?