Walking The Walk

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.


  1. Ugh. That sounds like me on Saturday. I made myself sick with worry about a ten minute speech, then tried to charmingly wing the speech, then realized about two minutes in that I am not by any stretch of the imagination someone who can “wing” anything. There was at least one very long silence. Oh well. I’m telling myself that I made it up in the Q&A, which I’m much better at….

    That which does not kill us makes us stronger… right??

  2. Oh Jane! My mother-in-law was in that audience and this is what she said about you!!!

    “Kari, It is you I have to thank for nudging me out of my comfort zone to reach out and meet your friend Jane Porter and get her book.

    Jane was delightful, engaging, beautiful, and energetic. And her talk was real just like a personal conversation. She was interactive with the audience and even tho there was not an overwhelming crowd, those that were there will be back.

    I can hardly wait to read Odd Mom Out and pass it on. I am sure that I will read her other books too.

    Thanks again for stretching my world…

    Love you,
    Mary Lou”

    So don’t be too hard on yourself and realize that sometimes what we plan to give isn’t what people need. You have to trust yourself.

    Great job!!!!

  3. Kari and Megan, thanks for the encouragement and comiserations. For us women I think we can onlu put it out there so long until we need to get replenished….right now I crave movies, books, my bed with the big mushy pillows, my kids, and lots of free quiet time. I know I’ll have that time eventually so I just have to keep practicing deep calming breaths and positive thought!

  4. Jane, you always inspire me and know just the right words to say. We all have our off days, but I’m sure you shined (you can see the proof in Mary Lou’s email).

    Keep up the great work!!!

  5. Sometimes,Jane, trying is just enough. When you have so much on your plate as you do now, take a deep breath, lean on those who can help and love you and take one day at a time. Thinking of you dear friend. M

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