December 4, 2010


Friday started out as almost every day this week. I was a nervous wreck, but moreso than Monday through Thursday. I felt like my guts were churning, I wanted to melt out of my skin and make a trip to the Bahamas. I just did not want to be there.

Public speaking is NOT my strong suit. I get nervous just making polite conversation. I was glad I practiced my notes and had a moderately good feel of my proposal.

I got to the room 20-30 minutes early. I wanted to be sure that my fears of my slides being wrong, or the computer eating all my files or whatever problem that could go wrong, would not. I set up, paced, went to the bathroom, paced some more, flipped through my slides four or five times and paced one last time before I sat on the stool behind the podium.

The intro slide to my proposal

People started filtering in and they were all very friendly. People I've never met before were coming to see me talk about my work, my proposed project. Familiar faces started to come in and seat themselves and it made me really feel good. At first, I didn't want anyone to come to my presentation. It meant more pairs of eyes staring at me, analyzing me, watching me make mistakes. But knowing that there were kind people there that supported me and genuinely gave a shit about what I had to say, really made it easier to sit on a stool that was way to small for my butt, easier.

My mentor introduced me and I was off! I read through my cards, made eye contact with the blob of shapes in the darkness that was the crowd, flipped through my slides. Hearing myself gave me more confidence, I really sounded like I knew what I was talking about! Confidence that I'd never experienced started to filter through my body and out of my face! Several times my silly quips even made people laugh.
I HAVE YOU WHERE I WANT YOU! Which is right there in your seats following me.

Process slide

When my presentation came to an end, I sat there looking into the darkness at the silhouetted shapes of strangers and friends, wondering what kind of off-the-wall sorts of questions I was going to get. And then they came. Questions about what sorts of materials I was going to use, what I thought about using more than Caucasian models (which was odd, given that I created drawings of women of different ethnicities on purpose for my roughs. Maybe they weren't apparent enough). I surprised myself because I was able to answer the questions that I hadn't prepared myself for. The deeper  questions of where I was doing my research, what I want to glean from my project and how I was going to reach "the masses". My mouth opened and a woman who I'd never met before was coming out.

Rough layout of my final proposed project

To put a long and potentially rambly story short, I nailed it. Better than I expected. When called back in after the decision, I was told some initial concerns (which were few) and some praise. I was given the green light and now I have to prepare for the upcoming final semester. I'm excited! I even got some great ideas from my peers. I think it's a great idea to have a smaller doll so that people can take one with them when they leave the presentation. WOW! I wish that I had thought of something like that myself. I went a step further... to make a small version of each of the final dolls so that the audience can take one home with them. (I'll plan that out at a later date).

Ridiculous vintage underwear ads. I love them

I can't even continue to convey how happy I am that I didn't die right in the middle of my proposal. I was told continually that I was going to do well, but it was hard to hear that over the thumping of my heart. I was so frightened. I may have lip-synched in front of a group, done karaoke, performed in plays, go-go danced in KISS makeup on a pool table, dressed in clown just to hang out at the local bar....etc. But this was serious and I overcame one of the most terrifying things in my brain..... and I survived.

Final mockup (if you haven't seen it before)

I've gained an appreciation of having the support of loving family, friends and peers. I am sad that it's taken me until my senior year to make friends at school, but honestly, I expected that it was going to end up like that. But as they say, it's better late than never. I love hearing ideas from such awesomely talented folks. This seems so much more positive and bubbly than my normal pessimistic view.

My final slide

No one asked questions that were obnoxious like some of the questions I'd seen earlier in the week. It seemed to me that if someone didn't agree with what you were doing with your thesis, they'd ask some obscure question that bordered on being spiteful. (I learned a little about the nature of some people this week too, and it was sad). It's sad that at an art school, where we're lauded as being open-minded, that some people can be so closed-minded. Especially if your belief system is not the same as theirs. Some of these people push being tolerant in your face, but if you believe something completely different than they do, they try to belittle you or demean what you're trying to say. These people don't deserve to use the word "tolerant" in any of their speeches. I was pissed.

So the week is over, I'm happy for myself and for my fellow thesis proposing classmates. I'm excited to see what the next semester is going to bring (if I can survive 18 units) and putting together my project and watching my friends put theirs together. This makes me happier than any antidepressant. Especially since I'm such an process-oritented person. It's the process of putting together art that really gets me revved up!

Oh, and I created a special bow for my hair that I wore during my presentation. At first, it was going to be a large lime green bug patterned fabric bow with a huge bug on it, and then I realized that I still had the fabric that I used as the background of my intro and exit slides. So I came up with something just as silly. No one noticed the connection though.

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