Yesterday was a day of firsts! I spoke at the London Distress Centre‘s Annual General Meeting, where I told “my story,” which I have not done before. I put “my story” in quotation marks because it was not even quarter of my story, really, but it’s impossible to accurately represent my life in fifteen minutes to a room full of strangers. I also really promoted my blog for the first time in a public setting, which is really exciting.
I now feel obligated to say that if this is your first time reading my blog, you should probably read some of the earlier posts instead of this one because I’m uncharacteristically excited here. Plus you spent the evening with me so you’d just be reading about something you already witnessed. That said, you can read about it here from my point of view so do whatever you want. :P
In my speech I talked about one of my suicide attempts and I talked about my close friend’s suicide. I talked about how I’ve always felt like my contribution to the world was like a big bucket of black paint, and that any attempt to paint a brush stroke of myself on the world would be poison. I said that by sharing my story others have reflected it back to me, showing me all the beautiful colours I am capable of making. I shared some of my art that I’m planning on making a part of this blog soon.
Considering the horribly raw parts of myself I’ve exposed in therapy lately, tonight’s speech was a walk in the park. Public speaking has always come to me pretty naturally, despite my severe social anxiety. I think I find it easier to speak when I know I’ll be listened to. The podium I spoke at tonight was pretty far away from the audience too so that helped. Had I been invited to this event just to mingle, it would have been much harder for me.
After my speech quite a few people came up to me to tell me how much they got out of it. It was awkward because I really just wanted to hang out one-on-one with everyone that approached me and ask about their life instead. I want to be friends with those people who liked my speech, but all I could say was “thank you” over and over.
The best compliment I received tonight was from Lori Otte, the Distress Centre’s Crisis Line Coordinator: “Your speech really humbled me. It reminded me why I do my job.” Those words are obviously powerful but the way she looked at me and shook my hand made them feel extra genuine. I’d love to interview her for my blog and ask more about her job and why she does what she does.
I just want to go back and talk to all those people again. It seems so off-kilter for me to share so much and listen so little. Anyway, it was a really amazing thing to be invited to talk at their event. I am so fortunate and thankful.