Today Gabe is wearing a filthy grey sweatshirt, filthy blue jeans, and comparatively clean brown shoes.
“Some people find this the hardest post to do,” my yoga teacher explained about a pose called shavasana, where you lie on your back, relaxed, perfectly still, usually with your eyes closed and the lights off. In other words, this is the easiest pose to do.
She said this after she caught me with my eyes open, adjusting my shirt and shorts, peeking over at the person next to me, and not lying at all still.
I am the cliche of every person who is too tightly wound for yoga. I cannot relax enough even to lie quietly for 5 minutes without checking to make sure I am lying quietly better than the person next to me. And my yoga teacher knows it.
But luckily, we are going to power through it. I can feel myself getting stronger and I feel like I manage to unwind and get really centered at least once per class. And what more can one tightly wound un-yogi ask for?
Things can probably only go up from the yoga class I took last week, 3 days before my talk at Spark Weekend in Seattle. My stomach was a-rumbling for days before the event, and I actually had fleeting thoughts of just running away and disappearing so I wouldn’t have to do it. On the drive up to Seattle, I gave my talk to Gabe in the car and ran it over in my head dozens of times.
On Saturday morning, I got to The Hub in downtown Seattle and surveyed the crowd. Not too big, but not too small either. I sent some tweets to keep my hands busy, and then I sat down in a chair and tried to look very casual. I was thinking that if I looked casual, I might start to feel casual.
It only kind of worked.
When it was my turn to talk, a flood of people came into the room. There were two speaker tracks, and a bunch of people were coming in from the other conference room to see me talk. Exciting! And terrifying.
I got up to the front, and the organizer asked me to tell him a bit more about myself so he could introduce me more personally to the crowd. It was then that I realized just how nervous I was; I told him, “Um it’s all kind of just there in the bio.”
He said, “Yeah I know, but like, what do you like to do for fun? What are your passion projects or hobbies?”
“Mmm. I don’t know. Hmmm. Hm. I mean everything is kind of just in the bio.”
Nothing would come into my mind. Nothing.
After a few more prods from the organizer, I managed to reveal that this was my first ever talk (ha, surprising I am sure) and I told him it would be okay to say that in my intro.
That turned out to be a great idea — as soon as he said it, the entire crowd looked up from their phones and gave me a huge, warm smile. I grabbed the microphone and slide clicker…and away I went.
I barely remember anything that happened, except that I got it done and had enough time left over for a brief Q&A. And people clapped! They smiled! They asked questions. It was great to hear people so interested in my talk and in Popforms, and I even managed to make a little joke. Yay!
Afterwards I got great feedback from people, so I assume the presentation went really well. All I could hear, though, was waves of relief washing over and over me.
Oh — and the woman asking me to speak at her company next month!
So I guess it won’t be my last ever talk — in fact, I hope it is the first of many. I also hope that soon enough it won’t be *quite* so scary.
Now it is time for a cup of tea and the Top Chef finale. Oh the simple pleasures of being back at home.