Saturday, December 26, 2009

A bit of a rambling post

I got a comment from La Isla d'lisa, saying that I crack her up because I said, ""I'm fat." and she said, "It doesn't matter".

La Isla d'lisa is right - it doesn't matter if we're fat, thin, tall, short, freckled, bald, or what color or heritage we have - it's what's in our hearts that matter. I should not be self conscious about being fat. My meds do this to me. BUT, even if I had an eating issue, so what? We all need to learn that people mostly take you at face value and most people are more worried about what others are thinking about, and are not obsessing over what you look like. If they ARE obsessing about what you look like, then they have problems with their own self esteem - they feel inadequate. Bullies are pretty much people who feel inadequate and overcompensate w/ bullying, I think.

When I meet someone who's "fat" or overweight, I just take them at face value and I never think about whether or not they are fat or thin. I'm interested in what they think and say and their personality. I think that's how most people are. And yet, people/we worry about the smallest things

Also, I think the basis of the fear of public speaking is the idea that the audience is possibly judging you or sizing you up, whereas in reality, they are also just taking you as you are and are interested to hear what you have to say.

When a public speaker is visibly nervous, the audience suffers with them because the audience is rooting for them, silently cheering them on and empathizing, not looking down upon them for being nervous.

So there's no real reason to be nervous! People are NOT being critical, usually.

I love public speaking because I really enjoy connecting with the audience over the subject we're talking about. I figure theyr'e there because they're as interested in the subject as I am, so to me, it feels like a discussion rather than a presentation.

Luckily, growing up in showbiz, our family had a band and my sis and I started singing, playing, and fronting the band when we were about 6 years old. We travelled all over California doing more gigs than I can begin to try to count, each time connecting w/ the audience and enjoying them. I learned that mistakes were no big deal.

For example, almost every musician has had the experience of suddenly blanking out in the middle of a song they've done a thousand times. Instead of freaking out, you just continue to play and I used to just make up words if I suddenly forgot the words, until I was back on track. Some of the audience caught it but some didn't, because I didn't freak out. Freaking out would be a lot worse than just continuing on.

Once, we were playing at the Wilshire Ebel Theatre, and I sat in for the band before ours because their keyboard player had become ill at the last minute. So, after this band played, my family band was supposed to come on stage and do our performance. I had been told to just stay at the keyboard and my family would join me, but then they started waving me in from backstage, urging me to come off the stage. I resisted. The curtains were still up so I just sat there. Nothing happened and their waving became more urgent backstage.

Then the curtains closed so I stood up to start to walk backstage. Obviously the plans had changed. Just as I was making my way across the dim stage, the curtains opened and I tripped on a cable and went sprawling across the stage, sliding on my stomach in a very ungainly manner almost to the edge. The audience froze, not knowing what was going to happen.

I got up, went to the microphone, and said, "And that was my clown act." and left the stage. The audience laughed, I think, with relief.

Then my family went up on stage and played. no big deal.

So now, when I go to speak about Wesley, I don't feel even one butterfly wing of nervousness because I know the people are there because they WANT to hear about Wesley, and I love to share about him, and I feel like we're all a bunch of kindred spirits who just haven't met each other yet. It's always so rewarding and the people I meet are always so kind and gracious and interesting and so into wildlife and learning.

I meet the most amazing KIDS! Kids who are reading the book at age 5, kids who want to work w/ animals when they grow up. I met a 3 year old who had a big duffle bag full of owl plushies and could identify all the N. American owl species and knew all about their behavior in the wild. THREE years old! And she was so sweet! I meet the most wonderful teens and tweens, too, and elementary school kids. It gives me hope for the future.

With all this going on, what does it really matter if I'm overweight? No one is perfect, and even if they LOOK perfect, they have SOMETHING in their life that isn't totally under control or perfect. As my friend, Cait Reed says, "With all the horror in the world, what difference does it make? That's one of our favorite lines from "What about Bob".

It's been an adjustment, being overweight and not looking like I used to, but so what? Life happens! I think it's an important lesson for all of us to realize that we are who we are and we are what we are and it's OK, and we're here for more important things - and we can be effective and make a difference in this world, so we can focus on that, not on our supposed imperfections. We shouldn't let out insecurities hold us back.

Anyway, I've been thinking about these issues lately. I hope you don't mind me talking about this stuff. With animals, I don't see them obsessing about how they look beyond the basic need to survive. Animals are so good at living in the moment and really experiencing that moment fully, and I'm trying to learn from them to be more like that. To really look at the beauty around me and not get so lost in my thoughts that I miss out on the here and now. Animals help me to enjoy the here and now. I'll be lost in thought and then Fiona will come up and want to play or cuddle, or a hamster will start to bark softly at me and I'll be amazed all over again at how preturnaturally CUTE these hamsters are! Gosh they're cute!

So, Lisa, THANK YOU for reminding me, and the rest of us, that it really does NOT matter. I was amiss when I said that about being fat. Yes, I'm fat, but it doesn't really matter. Thank you so much for your kind and wise words!

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