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Public Speaking -- Solemn Shared Grief, Healing and Remembering



Notice:  Deliberately vague in specific areas for the purpose of anonymnity where you may find yourself in similar situations

I received a phone call later in the evening on Thursday asking if I'd participate in our normal Friday evening activities.  Would I be willing... That I cannot handle at the moment, because I do not have a full grasp of the ancient language fluidly enough not to freeze in front of everybody.  I'm easing into this which under normal circumstances is out of everyone's comfort zones.  It's not at all that I'm a perfectionist - we have a tendency to critique the delivery of this portion.  I don't want to have PTSD stage fright and mess up everything else that should follow with other people.  It is the uncertainty of inner conflict.  If anxiety flares because I know my language skills in this arena are at the extreme novice level, I can prepare for this in the future.  That is why I attend classes weekly as an adult.  I'm making up for decades of lost time.

What I was capable of doing without freaking out I had done before.  Yes, please put me on the program for that.

In a perfect world, which I know is never the case... changes were made on the fly.  I was happy to do the changes even though it said something entirely different in print on the program.  So, as our kind, tender, sage fearless leader came to me about the reading I asked him to gently prod with the nod of his head so I didn't mess this up or freak out.  He smiled.  He did just that.  I also wasn't missing all other participants and their roles because I was assured and comforted beforehand.  I heard everything instead of focusing on just my small part.  That is what generally happens when I am uncertain and afraid.  I focus on "my stuff" and miss everything else.  This time... was different because I unwittingly asked for help and guidance!

When my name was called, I exited the aisle and walked confidently to the podium.  I drew in a quick breath and exhale as I picked up the microphone.  My hands did not tremble as I held the program in the left from which I was to begin reading.  Fluidly and clearly I read at an even pace these deep and meaningful words that are so beautiful.  Slowly, my other training in broadcast media came back and I read the sentences ahead and was able to speak them back to the audience while making eye contact.

These four paragraphs are about loss, good-byes, remembrances, love and memories.  It speaks of not having to say good-bye but thanks because in our hearts and minds this... never leaves us.  I was speaking... fluidly, cogently and eloquently for the love and memories of everyone in that place.  Not just my own father.

When I'd finished and walked back to my seat, a few others reached out their hands.  And I knew... I had honored all of theirs -- flawlessly.

Had I not had professional training to speak in very large groups in front of an auditorium decades earlier, none of this would have creeped into my mind.  Not once.  That training wasn't even my idea.  It was a business environment and we were put through this exhaustive lengthy course because the business leaders in a different division believed technical teams were anti-social.  "We did not speak the same language."  The root of the anxiety was somebody else's opinion of me in a group --- and my obvious 'defects'.  Those same business people had a tendency to call 24/7 and screaming when their stuff broke, so the capacity for me to do my job wasn't defective.  They didn't like talking to tech people.



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