Tuesday, August 4, 2009
“Can you use that in a sentence, please?”
“Yes. Megan will be speaking at Jacksonville Code Camp on August 29th and will try her best not to faint out of nerves.”
Faint, you ask? Yes, people, true freaking story coming right up!
Let me take you back…way, WAY back to ninth grade. OrlandoTechNuts had just started a new school (performing arts!) and she was THRILLED to be among her “kind” finally. For years, Mama and Papa Nuts made little TechNuts go to a stuffy private school and she hated it…seriously HATED IT. Everyone was catty and overly concerned with having the latest and greatest (thanks mom and dad for raising me in Palm Beach…ick) and we had to wear uniforms. Uniforms, in theory are a great idea, but when you have an overly creative child (me), it is never a great idea to force a crappy polyester uniform on them. Not to mention, I was chubby and those damned uniforms were constricting. In any event, I hated that place. All I wanted to do was go to art class and creative writing, but instead, because it was the “HOT” school to blow your money on, I had to sit in Latin. I sucked at Latin. I failed every test and sucked so much that my teacher actually made an appearance at my house and asked my parents if I, nerdy, chubby, 11 year old TechNuts, was doing drugs (designer, of course) or having sex. What???? For the record, when I was 11 years old, my grand dream was to become a deer when I was older. I’d come home from school (I can’t believe I’m revealing this to the blogging world), watch Sailor Moon in my room with a snack (I did mention I was chubby), and then go outside and think about what it would be like to be a deer and how I could make that happen. I always was a dreamer. If Napoleon Dynamite had a younger, stranger sister, I fit the bill.
Private school hell continued until one day I heard about this performing arts school down the road…on the other side of the tracks (read: with the normal people in Palm Beach County). I begged my parents to let me audition for the Visual Arts department, one thing let to another, and Voila! I was in! I was already beyond elated that I didn’t have to wear a uniform and I could proudly sport my AC/DC shirt (courtesy of my dad) but I was even more excited that I could pick my classes. No more Latin…instead, hours of painting and creative writing lay ahead and I couldn’t have been more excited. On my first day in my creative writing class, I walked in to Mr. Johnston’s room (one of the best teachers I’ve ever had) and he announced that our first assignment was to do an introductory speech, no more than five minutes in length, talking about, well, ourselves. No big deal, I thought.
Yeah, no big deal until I mentioned the assignment to my crazy, creative, over the top mom. Immediately, she started brainstorming wild ideas (now you all know where I get it) and came up with something great…in her mind. I was fully prepared to get up and talk off the cuff about me, my hobbies, etc. No, No. By time my mom was done with me, my speech began with, “Single, white female: In search of self.” (Yes, I was so traumatized, I still remember it.)
The “BIG DAY” rolled around and I felt like I was going to vomit when I walked in the room. I did not want to make my big appearance in class as the weird girl that talked about herself in terms of a personal ad. A few kids went before me and, shocker, their presentations were all normal. They were beyond normal…and the teacher liked them. I then decided to do something normal, too. No point in standing out now…until freaking Luke Wiley got up before me (Luke now is a principal dancer with a huge ballet company in NYC), did a perfect fouetté rond de jambe en tournant (for those of you not in the dance know, look it up), and blew everyone out of the water. Shit. I guess I was going with the personal ad after all. I’ve always been competitive and wasn’t going to let this guy do better than me. I also got that from my mom.
It was my turn. I was sweating bullets. I felt like I had cotton balls in my mouth. I instantly wanted to be back in Ms. Lovell’s Latin class. I opened my mouth and spoke. I got, “Single, white…” out and then…well, and then the room went dark. Man down! That’s right. I fainted. But I couldn’t even do that gracefully (damn you, Luke Wiley and your perfect ballet ways!). On my way down, I clipped my head on the side of a desk, requiring several stitches. Great first impression speech.
After this incident, public speaking has never been high on my list. In fact, I avoided it at all costs. I even put the required speech class off in college until it was the very last class I had to take to graduate. I hated it and I was terrified I’d have a repeat of Mr. Johnston’s ninth grade trauma all over again. Fortunately, I had a wonderful teacher in college that helped me get over that so now I like to talk in public…perhaps a little too much.
With that said, OrlandoTechNuts, in all of my glory will be speaking at Jacksonville Code Camp on August 29th. My session is Why and How to Partner With a Staffing Firm and I’m hoping it is well received and doesn’t bore the living crap out of everyone in the room. I’m also hoping that I have more than 3 people in the room. That’d suck, too. In any event, my Code Camp speaking debut will go down at 11:00am…and hopefully I don’t go down (a la ninth grade) with it. I’m really excited about this opportunity and I think from my (dog) years at KForce I have a lot of insight to bring to the table. (If you disagree, nod your head anyway and stop trying to crush my dreams. My ego needs to be at least partly intact on August 29th.)
For more information on Jacksonville Code Camp, click here! Please be sure to check out all of the other speakers and sessions. Code Camps always make me excited but this one is going to be freakin’ awesome and all money goes to a great cause: Wolfson Children’s Hospital!
Hope to see everyone there!