Up On The Podium

I’m not new at presenting. I actually LOVE presenting. I’m that annoying person in class who raises their hand in the air to go up first to present something, anything. (Watch me, suckerssss! I think, as I pass by their snickering and rolling of the eyes.)

Yesterday should not have been any different, but it was. The English department had this open mic event in Kamal Nasser – the famous, now older, auditorium where plays, Award-giving events, and other weird things that only take place on my campus happen.

I wrote the poem I wanted to say, and I memorized it. I walk into the auditorium, take a seat, and look around me. The room was empty. (Don’t worry, it started filling up soon after that). I was act number 8. Plenty of time to feel your stomach do back-flips and your face turn the one shade of white.

Disclaimer: Before I get further, the audience wasn’t helping. I don’t know if they weren’t getting what’s happening or they simply just aren’t smiley people, but they sure gave tough love.

So, I was up. I had it all planned out in my head. I’d stand right in the middle of the stage with the mic in its place, do some cool hand movements and stresses with my voice and leave with grace.

Yeah, that didn’t quite happen.

I got up to the mic and while trying to adjust it to match up my height, it fell from its place…and wouldn’t go back. The hostess came up to help, but she did not know how to put it back so she just told me to go stand at the podium. And so, I did.

I had a cool epiphany then. I would use that moment as an I’m-too-cool-for-this-stuff joke, so I say, “I haven’t been up here for a minute and I’m already breaking things.” Haha, right?

Not right. I got a few ha-ha’s, possibly from the back row where a few of my friends were, a middle row where three friends sat, and the first row where a dear friend sat. I told you it was a tough crowd.

But I continued with my weird, you-need-to-know-me-first jokes and said, “I’m actually not wearing my glasses on purpose so I won’t see the facial expressions everyone is giving me, but I think that has turned against me as I can’t see my poem anymore.” Haha, right?

Not right. Just a few laughs from the back row.

(Disclaimer: There’s a possibility I am dillusional and imagined these laughs to save myself, but if I didn’t, I’d like to thank that back row of friends.)

Then, it was time to start with my poem. I said the first line and completely froze. I blacked out. I was like a fetus in a dark womb except I knew what was going on. I made it worse. I let out a frustrated sigh.

(Note: Don’t let out frustrated sighs.)

For a tiny second, I thought of leaving, but I immediately shrugged the idea off. I stayed and continued, shaky and embarrassed, but I did it. Then, it ended. I got a some sort of applause – I think people didn’t get the poem, actually, but nonetheless, someone clapped. Thanks to that someone!

Needless to say I took my seat…Actually, I sunk to the floor.

After that, I went to see my friends, telling them “That was horrrrrrrible.” It really was. They tried to reassure me, telling me it wasn’t that bad, that it was just a bad day, and it’s okay to have a bad day.

One of them looked at me with pursed lips as I was trying to hide my face and told it to me straight: “That was a flop.”

(Note: You need friends like this. The ones that know what you’re feeling and decide to agree with you…or be honest).

Then, she continued to tell me it’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you suck.  It was just bad, and everyone has some sort of failure.

(Note: She’s right.)

I have been trying for quite some time (just eleven days, really) to write a witty, advice-giving, resolution-oriented blog post in honor of the new year that has fallen upon us, and well, yesterday’s event did the trick.

I want to tell you, whoever you are, that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel embarrased after said “flop”. It’s okay to not even care about said “flop.” However, do not make this said “flop” your end. Do not walk out and say, “I’m never going to do that again” especially if it is something you have always loved doing. Instead, think for five minutes what made the presentation (or whatever) a “flop”, what you can do the next time, and then, leave the “flop” where it is and walk away.

(Note: The not-having-my-glasses-on did me good in the end. I don’t really know who was in the audience save for my friends, so if you were there and judged me or walked out on me, I will never know. It also saved me the trouble from having to hide from you.)

 

 

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