I may have worked myself up into such a frenzy before the show that:
The entire week before the show I stopped being able to fall back asleep once I’d woken up in the middle of the night to pee and began having nightmares about forgetting to wash my leotard I was going wear.
I began to fully and completely regret ever submitting to speak. I started to think maybe the committee had made a huge mistake in choosing my talk and/or I really didn’t know what they were looking for and had written it/memorized it/put together my slides in completely the wrong manner for it to be successful.
I rewrote my speech four full times and almost had a nervous breakdown when the three people I sent it to to read didn’t come to an consensus about which was the best version. Plus my mother called my talk ‘serious’ so I started having suicidal thoughts. If it’s NOT FUNNY, I have NOTHING. I am NOTHING. Finally, my official, Ignite-assigned ‘coach’ for my talk stopped returning my emails because I was being such a lunatic.
I forgot the cardinal rule of fashion* and started to wonder if I’d really made the right choice to stand up in front of 850 people in a black leotard, lime green tights and a rainbow tutu.
On the day of the show I was so constantly jelly-legged and sweating I started to feel sea-sick. While doing my makeup I realized I had actual pit-stains on the shirt I was planning to wear before and after my presentation. I had to remove my cute platform shoes because I was afraid I was going to fall down a flight of stairs and break my ankle.
So it’s safe to say, when I walked into the lobby of the Scottsdale Center for The Performing Arts at 4:45 on Friday, I was a total mess. And yes, I’m usually sort of a mess, but this was messier than my normal level. Super messy. Like if normally I’m sort of Diane Keaton-y, Friday I was reaching Amanda Bynes levels.
Luckily, when I walked in, a bunch of my friends who are involved with the show immediately calmed me down and allayed all of my fears and I was totally fine.
OH JUST KIDDING – As soon as I walked in, my buddy, D.Patrick, said, “You’re going first!” and my head exploded all over the inside of the lobby and they had to cancel the event because there was blood and brains everywhere.
They sent us an email at the beginning of all of this with the list of presenters. The list didn’t seem to be in an alphabetical order or anything, so I had just assumed because I was 13th on that list, I would be going number 13 out of 18 for the night. This was one of those assumptions that made an ass out of me. Apparently they don’t tell you in what order you will be presenting until the night of the show.
AND I WAS SET TO GO FIRST.
Yep, you guessed it, that knowledge just managed to knock me up from Amanda Bynes into Lindsay Lohan territory. It… was not pretty. But I did have a bunch of really awesome friends who took some time to talk me down off my ledge and get me a paper bag to breathe into about it.
And… I got through it:
Although I effed up the end and GOOD LORD did I have to talk fast to get through all of my words. I really should probably have cut it down and given myself a little more time to speak like a normal human being.
But I did not pass out or just stand there staring blankly at the audience, like I was afraid. And it turned out going first was fantastic, because THEN IT WAS FUCKING OVER. I’ve seriously never felt such relief. By 5 minutes after I was done my body had stopped shaking and I felt like a new person.
After the show was over I stood outside at my assigned table and talked to a bunch of people who were totally interested in trapeze! I loved them. They were so cute. One girl actually came up and pointed at my husband and said, ‘OO! Are you the sexy husband?’ like she was a fan girl. It still makes me giggle.
It really was a fantastic experience to speak at Ignite, and I’m glad I did it, even though it probably took five years off my life to make it through. If nothing else, I’ve been avoiding recording a new voicemail message on my cell FOR LITERALLY MONTHS even though I’ve changed brokerages because I have weird stage fright about it, but this morning I did it! I told myself, If I can memorize a 5 minute speech and give it in front of 850 people, I can change my voicemail message, goddamn it. And it was true. I could.
Thanks so much to everyone who talked me down off a ledge about this at some point in the last month. I have the best friends and family (so suck it everyone who is not me). Super Special Glittery Thanks to my bestie, Amanda, of Nemec Photography, who came and took pictures of me to use in my presentation. She’s awesome and captured some of my favorites like this one:
and this one:
If you live in Metro-Phoenix and you’ve ever wanted to try trapeze, I go to Trapeze U, in Gilbert. They are awesome and will totally make sure you don’t die.
Also, if you’ve ever wanted to try public speaking and have something you’re passionate about (which of course you do, everyone does) submissions are currently open for Ignite 15, October 18. DO IT. You know you wanna. I’ll come and cheer you on, and when you’re green with terror that you’re going to humiliate yourself, I’ll come talk you down from Lindsay Lohan levels.
And lastly, here are a few of my favorite of the other presentations from Ignite 14:
NASCAR (I know, it sounds terrible, but that’s why it’s awesome!) –
Fighting Back Against Hyperbole (she might be my nemesis… but I liked her) –
Chickens (this guy maybe thinks I’m a creeper because by the time he went I was a little drunk and afterward I think I told him he’s adorable and we should be BFFs like 5 times.) –
*Once you’ve made an outfit choice, commit to your attire. Even if it’s a dress made of meat: fucking own it.