I’m a strong believer in the theory that everything happens for a reason. Admittedly, sometimes I’m not sure at the time why it happens, but I do know that it will eventually become apparent at some point.
Regular readers might remember a post I did a few weeks back called Mediocre Me (read that here). I was feeling incredibly low for a 24-hour period. When I wrote that post, I did so sitting at a café that overlooks my 3yr old’s sports class. It took me the whole hour and a half class to finish it, simply because I had to keep stopping due to the tears that were blurring my vision.
My confidence was low. That was my main problem, I think. At the time, I couldn’t imagine feeling good about myself again.
But by late afternoon the following day, I was feeling better, and then that night something happened that gave me a renewed sense of both confidence and sense of purpose.
I attended an information session about my 8yr old’s upcoming Reconciliation (which happens tomorrow night, actually). As I entered the church, my parish priest approached me, and asked if he could see me afterwards.
My immediate thought was that he had discovered my blog, had read my latest post, and was concerned for me and planned to counsel me. I sat there worrying about how I was going to convince him that I really was ok now, because I felt fine! And I certainly didn’t want to re-live it all over again. I had already begun to move on.
Afterwards, I tentatively approached him, and he had a huge smile on his face. He explained that during Lent, rather than the priest giving a 7-minute homily after the reading of the Gospel, he would give a 2-minute version, and he was asking people to give a five-minute talk about their faith immediately following. A “Personal Reflection”. He said, “I was wondering if you would be interested in doing one?”
Now, I’ve done public speaking in the past. A loooong time ago though. I even competed in a couple of speech competitions. I did ok. Both in Year 11 and Year 12, I got through the first heats to gain a spot in the Quarter Finals. But I didn’t progress any further after that, as I was hopeless at impromptu speeches (which were introduced in the Quarter Finals, but not a part of the heats).
I’d get nervous. Really nervous. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret…as soon as I stood up in front of a crowd, I’d get this kind of twitch in my bum cheek going on! The only consolation about this was that at least my arse was not facing the crowd. ;)
But I was still young, and now that I’m older and far wiser (*cough*), I’ve relaxed a little. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely Zen about talking in front of a crowd.
Having said that though, the minute my priest asked me to do it, I said, “Yes.” And it wasn’t a moment of thinking, ‘I can’t say no.’ Nor did I say yes because I tend to be a bit of a “yes” girl, and I'm getting better at saying "no" these days (read about that here). I just knew I wanted to do this.
But just like in high school, I felt the nerves start to take hold. I felt incredibly anxious about the whole thing at first, and when I found out that Hubby wouldn’t be here to see it (he is flying to Perth for his brother’s 40th birthday – so he has a good reason!), that only added to my anxieties. Who would I get to watch the boys? How would I cope?
And I think it put me off writing the speech at first. I wrote it over and over in my head for the first couple of weeks, but I couldn’t decide exactly how I wanted to approach it, and avoiding writing it. I knew pretty much what I wanted to say, but how?
Then one night, I sat down and I wrote it all in one hit. And I’ll be honest – I’m really happy with it. It says what I wanted to say, and in the end, the process was far easier than what I imagined it would be.
Since then, I’ve been feeling pretty relaxed about the whole thing. Doing the radio interview last week really helped also. I had to speak “off the cuff” on that – no planned responses, as I wasn’t sure what the questions would be! And I survived. So a planned speech with the paper right in front of me? Should be a piece of cake. Right?
In any case, this weekend, over three masses (Saturday night, and two on Sunday morning), I’ll be giving my speech to, potentially, hundreds of parishioners. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I’m feeling remarkably calm. And just this morning, I was able to sort out what to do with the boys – I’ll have support from my friends. (Thanks to my two wonderful friends, Jen and Fiona - thanks gals!) That certainly has taken some of the pressure off.
Besides, what’s the worse that could happen? That my bum twitch will return?
The confidence is back, people. From a real low, to a real high in the space of a month. Yep. Everything does happen for a reason.
I'll post the speech I'm giving next week. Stay tuned! :)