Being on the spectrum I don't always enjoy getting up in front of people and talking. As an autism advocate, blogger and podcaster, I often have to get in front of a crowd of people and talk, as was the case just a couple of hours ago.
I was scared to death as I entered the building to talk to the nearly thirty people who were there to listen to me speak on the History of Disabilities in the United States.
I continued to freak out a bit as the time drew nearer for me to grab the microphone and begin my talk, complete with a Powerpoint presentation.
But when it was time and I was introduced, I somehow was able to get my stuff together and didn't need the extra anxiety pills I had been wishing I had with me beforehand.
Apparently I was somehow able to overcome my fear and apparently did a good job, though for the life of me I have no clue how i managed to pull it off.
The crowd was engaged and one lady asked the facility director if I could come back next year and speak again and she said yes. Maybe the director was being nice, but I got the sense that she was sincere.
I have another presentation in a couple of weeks, this time to a group of a hundred people and on a different topic. I'm not sure how I feel about that one as I'm the only one of three presenters without a Dr. in their title.
For me, it comes down to self-esteem and an occasional lack of it. The feelings of fear and being intimidated by the crowd will hopefully go away as I do more of these speaking engagements but for now, I'm willing to suck it up and try to swallow my fear like a candy that Willy Wonka would make.
Now that today is over I get to start working on the next Powerpoint and figuring out how to connect with my audience about the advantages of Supported Decision Making vs Guardianship.
Wish me luck!