The weekend that had been circled in my calendar rolled around far quicker than anticipated. When I was first asked in May if I would like to speak at the Jersey Festival of Words I was delighted. It had been a tough year and I was determined that 2018 would be my best year: my year for taking on new challenges and embracing change before I turned 40.
I’m not going to lie, when I received the email from Jersey Festival of Words I was very much off my face on strong drugs. No, I am not admitting to having a drug problem. I had just had my foot operation and as a result of the drugs I wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating when I received the email. But I wasn’t! Thank goodness, or that could have been embarrassing.
I was thrilled and honoured to be speaking at the amazing Jersey Festival of Words. The last time I had stood up in front of an audience was when I received my award for blogging. The less said about that the better. There wasn’t much speaking, just a lot of ugly crying.
It was probably about 5 to 6 years ago when I stood up and delivered an actual talk. Back then I was working as a teacher and I would deliver whole school training to teachers. As a teacher you often groan when you receive an email summoning you to after-school training as you already have so much work to do. Endless marking, meetings, lesson planning etc, so the last thing you want to be doing is going to a teacher training session!
However, for me, this was one of my favourite parts of my job. There is a frustrated presenter in me, and I used to relish the opportunity to deliver a presentation. I used to enjoy making teachers get out of their chairs and take part in a bit of kung-fu punctuation. The teachers loved it too – honest!
As the Jersey Festival of Words drew ever closer I started to doubt myself. Would I still be able to stand up in front of an audience and deliver a presentation? After a decidedly meh couple of months I was feeling less than confident and starting to doubt myself big time. What if nerves got the better of me? What if no one turned up? I had been decidedly British about the fact I was talking at the event and hadn’t actually told any of my friends about it. Some of them had seen it though and chose to let me know just as I thought I had got away with it. I was just hoping that some of the readers of my blog might show up.
Just in case no one showed up, I had drafted my mum in. Quite a big deal for me because my mum is my harshest critic, in the nicest of ways. She is a lady that was on the senior management team of a school and she can deliver presentations without even thinking about it. She’s extremely calm under pressure. I, on the other hand, tend to run around panicking.
The main source of my worry was that it was such an honour to be asked and I didn’t want to let anyone down. However, I needn’t have worried. Everyone at the Jersey Festival of Words was so lovely and welcoming and it really put me at ease. It was lovely to meet Jennifer Bridge who despite feeling ill was still running around, pulling everything together and helping everyone.
When the time for my talk came round I was thrilled to see that I had a really good turnout. Plus, everyone in the audience was so lovely. They genuinely seemed interested in what I had to say, and they all appreciated my cat pictures. I firmly believe that a cat picture works in every situation! The talk went by so quickly, I remembered what I had to say and the nerves didn’t set in. It’s always a win when you don’t vomit on the audience.
I really enjoyed it and found it so much fun. There were some fantastic questions too and it was lovely that people took the time to stay behind at the end to chat to me. I want to say a massive thank you to the Jersey Festival of Words for asking and allowing me to speak. I also want to a massive thank you for everyone who came along to my talk and listened to me speak.
It was a fantastic experience and it gave me a much needed confidence boost.
Jersey Festival of Words was definitely good for the soul. I have loved watching the talks and I will be sharing my thoughts on the Clare Pooley and Bryony Gordon talks soon so watch this space.
Thank you again.
PS I told you that I would blog about it!