As I cross off this first book reading, I'm finally able to step back and take a look at this process and its characters. Each voice is a side of me. Taken alone, one may sound like soap opera star, while another as an emotionally stunned reptile. When each give what they have to give, and when I learn to trust my inner voice and only take what I need, something new happens. I'm finally able to let go and be myself.
In other words, welcome to the presentation process of an over-thinker, over-worrier, overachiever and perfectionist... and everything else that comes in between.
Me: Yes! I finally have a date for my first book reading. I know what I must do. I'm invited to read my book in front of a group of 30 children and I have an hour to present and read. Okay, I can do this.
Overachiever who's been watching too much tv lately: That's it??? You need to own it, girl. You need to roar like katy Perry. Be loud! You need to sell it like the kardashians and bring it like beyoncé. I'm talking female power. Think big! Posters, background music, props, lights, glitter, sparkles, the works... We're talking branding, stickers on everything and let's not forget that you need to leave them with something. Think oscar loot bag.
Me: Okay, fine. I'll add a few things. I'll give them some posters, prepare some activities and talk about my process and my experience.
The over-worrier: Do you really think you'll have time for all this? How good are you at entertaining kids. I've heard to sing... Not so great, my dear. How do you plan on getting there if you have to carry all this stuff? You look like you're coming down with a cold anyway, maybe you should just cancel.
The lizard brain: I am your friend, run! Run before the small people eat you alive!
Me: Relax! I've done tons of presentations before. I volunteer with kids all the time. I think I'll be fine. You are right about the extra posters and props. Too complicated to bring and they'll distract from the presentation.
The perfectionist: Maybe you'll be okay, but will you really blow their minds? Try to sound smart. Impress the teachers. Research definitions and practice ways of describing complicated concepts to kids. Learn to play the ukulele, kids like that. How are your magic tricks? Maybe you should come up with a few dinosaur jokes. Do you know what a Huehuecanauhtlus is?
Me: Do you know what a Huehuecanauhtlus is? I'm not learning the ukelele, but I will do a little visual and mental refresher.
The perfectionist: Did you practice in front of the mirror? Did you tape yourself? You've got an accent when you say fantastic, and it's not so fantastic. Did you write your speech? Did you rent out kids so that you could practice reading to them.
Me: I'm not in the habit of renting kids, and no, I will not start that habit. I read the book to the dog, he loved it! I read the book to my girls, they liked it. I've done presentations before in front of kids. I can't change my accent, it's fantastic. You're complicating things, and it's not a speech. If I turn it into a speech, I don't leave room for flexibility. I need to be flexible when I'm presenting to kids.
The lizard brain: I've got a big rock, you can hide under it if you want. We can share the darkness.
Me: Not into the darkness so much anymore, but thanks. And between us, I've stopped listening to you a while back.
The business mogul: Bring your business cards. Send thank you notes and set up follow up appointments. Tell them you expect a helicopter next time.
Me: Yeah, good advice. I always have business cards and I'll send thank you emails. No on the helicopter.
The Diva: You should wear stilettos. Everyone wears stilettos. They're sexy and they'll make you look taller.
Me: I'm not wearing stilettos. I'm also okay with not being tall.
The mother in me: You're doing great, just be yourself... Tie your hair.
The last minute freak-out: Abort! Abort! Abort!
The professional: You have a cold, no problem. Pretend like blowing your nose is part of the presentation. Never ask for help! Go! Go! Go!
Me: I'm okay with asking for help if I need it. Besides, I'm lucky enough to have some great friends out there. It's enough guys, I know what to do. I won't overcomplicate things and I'll trust that the words that need to come out, will come out. I'll listen to my music if the worries take over. I'll write my affirmation on the way there so that I can invite the outcome I want. If my knees shake, I'll change position. If I need to blow my nose, I'll make a joke out of it. I've got this, but thanks...