The kids don’t want me to leave today. I don’t want to leave today. Worse, I’m not sure I’m handling being on the road all that well anymore.
Friday in Portland at the Women’s Show I was nearly mute at the microphone. I was up there on stage, my notes in front of me, looking down at the dozen or so women in the folding chairs and thought, I have nothing to say to you. I have nothing to share.
I usually can pull off public speaking. I usually can fake it: tell a story, make a joke, find something touching to reach people’s emotions.
I was supposed to speak for 30 minutes. After ten I wanted to be done. I just blurted absolutely random things that had nothing to do with anything. It was like grasping for straws, grabbing at objects in the dark. Nothing made sense. I didn’t make sense. I just wanted to step down and run away.
Instead I struggled through, word by word, thought by thought and no, it wasn’t my best speech, and not at all a great performance, but I did it. I clung to the podium and battled to give something–anything–that might make those ladies (and one gentleman) sitting in the folding chairs feel that their time was well spent.
In the end, I don’t know that their time was well spent, but I do know this: what I did was hard on Friday. It was a battle. But I didn’t quit, and I didn’t cry, and I kept trying.
Maybe we don’t have to be all-that and absolutely wonderful. Maybe just trying is enough.
And isn’t that what I write in my books? Isn’t that what I’m always preaching? We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to be ourselves.
Well, Friday I talked the talk, and walked the walk, and no, it wasn’t pretty but I’m still here. I’m still coming out swinging.