Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Two words: public speaking. Okay, test your pulse now. Just kidding. Are you one of those fortunate people that is able to stand up in front of a collection of people & speak? Or, are you a person who finds his or her heart racing, palms “glowing” and throat becoming so dry that only a mere peep of a noise can be heard? Perhaps most of us are somewhere in between these two guideposts when we think & participate in public speaking.
If we carry at least a little bit of our childhood with us throughout life’s journey, then speaking in front of larger crowds may bring back memories of the first time that we were given no choice but to speak. Yikes, the earliest speaking in front of a group of others memory that comes to my mind is the entire grade four year. This will not likely surprise you to hear that I have always loved reading. Basically from kindergarten to grade 11, I was painfully shy. Reading was a welcome refuge from that quietness. Although, I was quiet, at the same time, there was a spark within me of creativity & this lead me to challenge myself to journey well outside of my comfort zone especially from the university years until now.
Does a first memory of public speaking come vividly to your mind? Was it an uncomfortable feeling or did you “hit it out of the park?” Perhaps, you have a talent for delivering an amazing presentation & you find the experience of speaking in front of a group to be an exhilarating one. Positive adrenaline can feel absolutely fabulous. Let me share with you a wee snippet of grade four. Grade four in a small town of 1200 people was super in many ways. In our town, we had one school for grades kindergarten through to grade 3. There was another school (elementary) for grades 5 through to grade 8. Aha, what about grade 4? Would you believe that we had our very own school for just 2 classes of grade 4? It was a tiny, old-fashioned building with a bell at the top of the second story. Each morning, a student would receive that coveted honour of ringing the bell to start the morning classes. The day that you got to ring the bell was the day that you kind of felt like a VIP & superhero wrapped up in one. Grade four was the first year that once a week, we could feel grown up enough to purchase one lunch a week. Both classes ate their lunches together in the large gym. The lunch that was offered for purchase once a week was a simple one of cup a soup & crackers. All the kids loved that day of the week though. Behind our small school house, we had a cool hill that we tobogganed on in the winter. We received oodles of snow each winter so grade four for the tobogganing alone brings a smile to my face to this day. It was a favourite tobogganing spot for sure. It was the first year that we got to participate in science class & it was very hands on even including our first fish dissection. None of the class members were faint of heart when it came to the fish since we were after all living in Georgian Bay which is an incredible area for fishing. To this day, Georgian Bay is carried within my heart. Our sons & I return as often as possible for family visits, fishing, fresh honey runs and tree-ripened apples.
Grade four sounds pretty great so far, right? It was. Here’s the part that was not so great. Grade four was the first year that the curriculum required reading aloud to the class. Picture a profoundly shy, small town girl having to for the first time find her voice. My fear at that point of speaking in front of others was so great that literally no sound came out. My teacher deducted from those repeated attempts at trying to get me to speak in front of the class & same results each time that I could not read. Worse than that, I was then required to stay after school to work with the principal of the school. For a shy kid who would prefer to remain as invisible as possible, this was bad news. It is true that in smaller geographic areas, others soon learn of what is going on in our lives. I had managed to blend in for years & frankly that was exactly within my comfort zone. Thankfully, the first day that I stayed behind with the principal, she soon found out that not only could I read, but I was in fact a “read-a-holic.” The after school sessions could cease thankfully. The sense of panic however at reading aloud did not go away for many, many years.
Over the years, I have found opportunities to literally keep finding my voice. Each time that I speak in front of a large audience, I have the same feelings frankly that I had in grade four. It is that butterfly feeling in the tummy & sweaty palms & racing heart all over again. The difference though is that I have an excitement at the same time of stepping outside of my comfort zone & working on projects that have filled me with many blessings. The other neat part is that when other people share how nervous they are about public speaking, I am able to look them in the eyes & genuinely say, “me too.”
This morning, a person approached me at a community group that I was attending. He asked me to share some words with the group. There it was all over again: the racing heart, sweaty palms & dry throat. The child within me (likely that one from grade 4) thought for a fraction of a second of making a speedy get away! Next though, I smiled & truthfully replied that I would be honoured. The frustrating part of jumping outside your comfort zone with passion is that type 1 diabetes sometimes does not cooperate. Each time that I do speak publically in front of a larger audience, I test my blood sugar & each & every time including today, I find that my sugars have shot up due to the “butterflies.” It is such a common correlation, that I now call that the “butterfly sugars.” Here’s the important part though. There is no way that I am going to let type 1 or anything else stop me from living life to the fullest whether it is in public speaking or anything else. Okay, butterfly sugars, here comes super insulin correction to the rescue!
My heart’s hope for you is that no matter what passions speak to your heart, that diabetes or other 365 health challenges do not get the last word.
Smiles, Saundie :)
P.s. This Friday's sharing is entitled, "Identify, Obtain, Wrap & Open."