I've never been so terrified in my entire life. I tried to psychoanalyze what was making me afraid speaking in public, and the only thing that I could come up with was that I was afraid of messing up. So I started my speech and found that I was reading from my cards too heavily. I couldn't stop myself. I looked up at my panel, and then looked over at an area where there weren't any people. Who was I speaking to?
I was able to break away from the podium, but barely. I think I felt like I needed to hold onto something grounded. Maybe so that I didn't float away? So that I didn't faint?
I had a small group that came to watch me talk. Some were strangers (one woman came up to me to apologize that she was going to have to leave before it was over, but was really excited to see my presentation), there were some friends that came to see my presentation (how cool is that?!) and some classmates (having them there really comforted me). I didn't want a big crowd, and what I had was PERFECT.
The speech was over before I knew it. The entire process was emotional, draining and everything it needed to be. I won't go into details, but I will say this. Everything that happened during my speech, from tears to joy, was everything that I had ever wanted and more. I touched people. And as cynical as I've grown to be, I was able to reach out and connect with people who've suffered cruelly from others because of their bodies. I never expected to get a reaction, to get people excited for what I was doing. I DID IT! I touched people. What an honor. Seriously.
A week later, and I still don't have the right words to sum up the entire experience. I will sit and write out something a little more eloquent later.
For now, here's a sampling of images of the layout :
(Photos by Heather Zinger)