” It’s not about looking silly or making a mistake. It’s about the message you want to share”
These are the words I whispered to myself as I stood behind the curtain backstage at SheTalksYvr. I looked down at the white envelope I wrote key points of my talk on, took a few deep breaths in and out, forgave myself for any mistakes I might make, closed my eyes one last time and then courageously put one foot in front of the other and walked onto the stage. I walked towards Natasha, the founder and MC of the event, wrapped my arms around her, thanking her for such a sweet, introduction and then with trembling hands, I grabbed the mic from the podium, looked out at the large crowd, and began to speak.
The moment the words came pouring out of my soul, I felt a part of myself come to life. I felt a light from within begin to emerge, that had been buried, trapped and confined, by the walls that I had created, with fear, and comfort. As each truthful word came out of my mouth, a bit of light seeped through the cracks of the walls, until finally, by the end of the talk, the walls within started to crumble because the light was no longer afraid to shine.
I can’t recollect word for word, what I said up there on that stage, and the truth is, once I was up there, so many words that weren’t rehearsed, planned, or written, came spewing out of my mouth like a volcano just erupted. The white envelope that I carried in my left hand with key words and transitions I had written, flapped around while I spoke. It was basically a mini security blanket I brought on the stage with me, that I glanced down at maybe once.
As I moved around the stage, engaging my eyes with the audience, I felt the most comfort when I looked at my twelve-year-old daughter. My very first daughter, the girl who changed my life and taught me things I never would have learned on my own, sat there and watched her mother do something she was afraid of. Although the words I spoke weren’t about facing fear, I knew my actions would serve as a reminder to her not to be fearless, but to be courageous.
The minutes flew by, and when I looked down at the front row, and saw that I was down to 2 mins, I summed up my talk, scanning the audience one last time, and then… it was over. The roller coaster ride I felt like I was on the week leading up to the event, was finally over. Except this time, I was no longer stuck at the top, waiting to go down, with that feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. By the end of the ride, I realized that all of my anxiety leading up to the event, was just my excitement masked as fear. And just like a child at the fair, I felt ready to line-up for the next ride.
Photos courtesy of: Sajiography