Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Public speaking/Nuclear Meltdown

I'm nervous. I'm stupid-nervous. In five days, I have to give a speech, and I HATE giving speeches and I'm BAD at it. See, it really only occurred to me on Saturday that, as my friend Madeline's Maid of Honor, I'm supposed to give a toast at her wedding this weekend. Is there ANYTHING WORSE than listening to a bad wedding speech? I argue that there is not.

At my wedding, my sister Padrin gave the most epic MOH speech that has ever been delivered. It had all the elements of a good speech: the story about Geo and me, some tips for the future and a couple funny jabs...ALL SET TO A SONG. It was delicious and one of my favorite moments from the wedding. It was Padrin's speech that made me realize that a MOH toast can make or break the mood.

The only other time I've given a wedding toast was when I was 21 and my sister Prinna's MOH. I was half-drunk and fully nervous. I remember a blur of activity, then standing up, then sitting down. I don't remember anything that happened while I was publicly speaking. It was only when I sat down that Padrin nudged me and said "You didn't say a toast! You just told a story!" So I had to stand back up and hold my empty champagne glass in the air and say "OH YEAH! Toast! I mean, cheers!" or something to that effect.

So the panic is really setting in for Madeline's wedding. I KNOW I'm not a good public speaker. I could WRITE a great speech and then have someone else deliver it and probably come home a hero. But even reading a word-for-word dictation of something I've written is too much for me to handle. If you are not a nervous public speaker, allow me to explain what happens:

First, there is massive anxiety about the logistics of even getting up in front of an audience. Will the microphone be handed to me, or do I need to find one? Will it squeal when I talk into it? How will people know to look at me? Should I wave my hands? Will waving my hands make me look like a lunatic? Note to self: Probably do NOT wave hands.

Then the first words come out: They are shaky and uneven and either too loud or too soft. In a split second, I'm looking into eyeballs of people who I'm SURE are judging me. They feel bad for me or think I'm boring or expecting something much better than I have to offer. Wait, what was I even saying into the microphone?

OMG, is that really MY voice? It sounds so nasal and obnoxious. Stop listening to your voice and focus on the words that I am, undoubtedly, delivering with monotony. Is that person asleep back there?

Okay, focus on the words. Try to lighten up. It's just a speech to a bunch of people. What's the worst that could happen? Holy crap, did I just swear? I can't even tell. I'm not longer in my body. I'm somewhere very far away where I'm wearing sweatpants and laying on a couch. No! Did I just say that out loud?

Yes, alright, we're in the homestretch. It's my last note card. Try to smile...it's almost over. Ah! Is there something in my teeth? What's that random pain in my left pinky toe? Am I having a stroke? Can everyone see how much I'm sweating? They can. They can all see it. I'm dripping onto the note card. Is that "love" or "liver"? Black. I can't see anything and I can't help but wonder what will happen if I faint. Will someone catch me? Will everyone think I'm a drama queen? Will I get a concussion that will turn me into a serial killer?

Wait, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, don't forget the TOAST part. When it's all done, remember to say "cheers" or something. Don't just sit down. Don't just sit down.

Great, now I'm standing up like a dummy while everyone expects me to say more. Quick, make a very uncomfortable joke, maybe it's a little offensive, and sit down. The worst is over. Until the wedding video comes out.

So, basically, I've got my work cut out for me. I've got everything else ready (the dress, the jewelry, the shoes, the confidence to showcase my gigantor arms in public) but this speech is going to take some more work. I better get to it.

If you have any ACTUAL tips for how to not be a nightmare while public speaking, please share in the comments! I need all the help I can get!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vegas, Babies?

Well, I made it, you guys. It took me over a week to recover, but I made it back from Las Vegas in one piece. It was FUN. I wish I had some crazy stories about craziness, but I don't. And even if I did, I think I'm contractually obligated to not share. You have no idea how rigid that "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" statement is.

So now that my feet are back on firm, non-disgustingly-Vegas-y ground, I've had a chance to get back to real life. Oh, and did I mention that my sister-in-law had a baby while I was working on my second nerve-wrecked cocktail in the Denver airport during a layover to Vegas? Yup, I've got another baby to spoil stupid. If there was a giant shoe, I'd live in it with all my nieces and nephews. It's a brood y'all.

Which brings me to tonight's blog topic. Babies. There are a million of them growing in the bellies of my friends these days. Just about every girl I know is no fun anymore and can't slug back wine with me for the next however-many months.

It really makes a girl think.

I always thought that whole "All my friends are pregnant," phenomenon only happened in movies that star Kate Hudson or something. But no, it's a very real thing, and it's SUUUUPER STUPID because just about all my friends are now pregnant.

Listen, I know. I'm no spring chicken. I'm 100 years old, and by all medical accounts, I'm probably nothing more than a vessel for dying eggs and dashed dreams. And to be honest, I've always been quiet on this subject. I don't like to talk about reproduction plans. Primarily, it's Gross. Ew. Secondly, it's no one else's business. But if there's one thing I like, it's forcing people to take part in my business.

See, this whole baby thing has not been on my list of To Do's yet. I still feel like I'm 22 years old and having kids has always been a distant priority behind finishing this glass of wine, getting a haircut and learning how to talk to grownups without using the phrase "Baller!!!"

Then, what? I move to Rochester and people are like, "Well, Pharon's in transition. Let's rub it in her face and make the Ultimate Settling Down move!" Rude, you guys! RUDE! I like JUST got married. Geo still has Thank You cards to write, for crying out loud.

Yeah, it's a big deal. But part of me feels like I'm being bullied into even THINKING about this because I don't want to be late to this weird baby party people seem to be so crazy about. And if there's one thing I know, it's that being late to a party is almost (ALMOST) worse than being the first to show up. So of course, my social butterfly instinct kicks in and I'm halfway to shoving a pillow up my shirt and proclaiming "I'm here, you guys!! I'm also at this party!! Where's the bar?!" But that would probably give me away...

Anyway, it's been on my mind lately, and not by choice. I can't help but resent my friends for making such a big move without even TALKING to me about it. It's like if all your friends went out and got a face tattoo of a robot without telling you. It's not like you want to run out and GET a robot face tattoo, but you can't help but wonder why everyone else has one and what it means that you are not booking an appointment with a tattoo artist.

However, if there's one thing that Vegas has taught me, it's that essentially, no one has to do anything they don't want to do. In fact, everyone can to do whatever they want, whenever they want; they just have to find the right place. Which means I just need to get a whole new group of friends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Hi. I'm in Las Vegas. It's fun. I'm scared that it's TOO fun. I'll keep you all posted.