amw (amw) wrote,

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center of attention

Yesterday i stood up in front of about 20 people and gave a short presentation about my life, en español. I wasn't too stressed about it till i was actually standing there, at which point i got real nervous, rushed through it and forgot a few of the things i wanted to say. By the time i got to taking questions my heart was fluttering like someone had just pulled a gun on me. At the end of class everyone got an envelope with anonymous comments from the rest of the class, and mine were almost universally positive. One read "don't be shy - take your time - you're good!" That pretty much sums me up - anxiety-ridden for no apparent reason.

At work i've done presentations to groups of people twice the size, but somehow i've felt less stressed then, perhaps because i've been able to fall back on my Powerpoint cues. At work, though, presenting to IT professionals, the questions tend to be fiercely technical and way over my head, which has always made me feel stupid. Last night i was talking about stuff that was personal to me so the questions were easy to answer, but the language barrier added an extra layer of nervousness that threw me off.

I've talked to my mom about this quite a lot because as an academic she has often been in front of classes and conference audiences. She tells me she still gets butterflies and finds the whole experience draining. To think someone whose job it is to stand up and talk in front of people still finds it intimidating gives me hope that one day i'll be able to do it and at least come across as relaxed and confident, even if inside my stomach is still doing backflips.

I'm not sure why i want to do it. I like the idea of sharing stories with people or teaching them something, but i can do that the way i've been doing it at the gym the last couple months - just one-on-one or in small groups. I often mentored at work too and it feels awesome to help someone understand how to do something new, to see that first spark of realization in their eyes and watch them get excited about how they're going to put this new piece of knowledge to use. I'm not sure you'd get that same sense of achievement in presenting to a whole class at once. Perhaps i only want to conquer the challenge of public speaking just because it's there, just because it's something i know i find really scary and hard to do.

Yet another thing to put on the list of stuff i'd like to accomplish. My first challenge is going to be finding a job - any job - in this shitty economic climate. Once i build back my financial base i'll be able to spring into the next thing, whether that's more school or just a different path of advancement at work. God, work. I am dreading it already. Nine months without having to open an IDE has been bliss. My entire view of what i want to spend my life doing has been turned on its head.

P.S. finger still sprained - icing, taping and medicating every 4 hours

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