I didn't sleep well last night. And I woke up early because of it. I woke up with a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. Because today I was giving a talk.
Many people assume that because I blog and write things of a fairly personal nature, that that kind of openness trickles over into my interactions in person. That speaking in public might not be a big deal for me. But it isn't so. The thought of public speaking sends immediate tears to my eyes and it is only because I realize the spiritual significance that I agree to such a thing in the first place. I generally have avoided speaking in public for pretty much my entire life. Talks are terrifying for me. I never feel like I have anything of value to offer. Or more so that the amount of knowledge I currently possess is not good enough. And since requests to give talks come so infrequently, its a rare issue.
When I was asked to give this talk, I wanted to say no. I wanted to ignore the invitation but knew that the right thing to do was to say yes.
So I agreed and set to preparing. Truthfully, the guy who extends speaking opportunities for my ward has been offhandedly mentioning me speaking for quite sometime. But I'm old fashioned in that I require a formal invitation. If it contains calligraphy, all the better. So I started preparing a bit in advance. Because I don't do spur of the moment talks. If I am forced to speak, I'm going to have prepared to the best of my ability. This talk was hard for me to write. And I lamented to my mother about it. But it was good for me to write as well. I really had to look and clarify some of my half thoughts. Which is a struggle most of the time. But a deadline will push you beyond your normal limits.
I woke up panicked this morning though. Having mentioned to my friends I was speaking, Lucinda mentioned she might like to come listen. But when I woke up, I realized that after agreeing to speak, I'd never heard confirmation that I was indeed speaking. I texted the guy in charge and as I was on my way to church, talk in bag, I received this text:
"Huh? I didnt have you on my schedule at all. Do you have a talk prepared?"
I immediately felt like an idiot. Why hadn't I double checked earlier? I had just assumed since he had asked and I had responded that I was speaking. And while no one at church would know that I had prepared a talk, my pride felt wounded. I was mad. I was mad that I had stressed and worried and prepared a talk that would never be given. I was mad that this guy hadn't just sent the two second email response to my email agreeing to talk to let me know that he had already found people. And the thought of giving it a different day made me ill. I didn't want to give my talk a different day because I had prepared for this day. And talks for me, are moments in time, and once the moment passes, the talk can't just be re-used at a later date. So no talk today, meant that when this guy eventually got his act together and cornered me to speak, that I would probably end up preparing another talk.
I know its not really a big deal. So what if I didn't get to give the talk I prepared? I know that I didn't really want to give a talk in the first place, but after preparing to give a talk, not giving one is quite the disappointment. And even though I know its not a big deal, I can't help but feel upset. I know its stupid. And that its nothing to be upset about. But I had prepared so much.
I listened intently in Sacrament to the other talks, picturing how my talk would fit with the theirs. And the people who spoke did really well. I even managed to feel a little less upset as the meeting progressed. I guess I really was the person my talk was most intended for.
So without further ado - My talk (that wasn't a talk).