Public Speaking Gave Me Purpose
Public speaking is one of the most feared things in the human race. We are so fearful of the judgment of other people that speaking to large groups of people often to tears us away from what could potentially be a passion.
In college, I took a public speaking class for the first time, and I quickly learned that every part of my body will sweat. My heart will be fast. My voice will shake, and I can’t look up from my notes if I’m speaking in public. I remember my teacher saying how good my speech would’ve been if I would’ve simply engaged with my audience. It was in that class where I was forced to find public speaking skills, because every week consisted of a new presentation that we had to convince our classmates of.
Telling my NMO story
After making myself known a bit more in the NMO community. I was encouraged to share my story simply, because not many people were sharing on social media at that time.
I had given speeches in which I read off of my phone or virtual speech is where I could look at notes. But my first big speech was just last year at the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation patient day where I was so in graciously invited to speak with the Moth. The Moth is one of the largest storytelling companies in the world that help prepare people for five minute plus beaches that consist of no notes and always include some kind of kicker for full-circle moment.
I was so anxious for the months leading up to the speech, not knowing if I could do it with brain fog from my first attack. I also forget things I’m saying mid-sentence. I was terrified to do that on stage. I think nerves are something that everyone experiences. But I didn’t want my disability to show.
My mom said something to me before that speech that I’ll never forget.
"You lived it. It's your story."
I got constantly got up in the fact that people would judge me for my mistakes, rather than focusing on what people were hear.
Public speaking is my passion
I took a sip of Prosecco, I stepped on that stage, and that was a defining moment in my life. Public speaking is my passion, and quite frankly, the most effective way for me to get my stories and struggles out there. while I was giving a speech I remember a voice in the back of my head, encouraging me, then feeding me the next line.
I may not be running track race anymore, but that's because I'm running a new race and that's a race to find a cure.
It gets me every time after walking off that stage. There is no drug that can give me the happiness that public speaking does. Since then, I've learned to have less stress in the prep and more enjoyment and purpose in the execution.
I promise you somebody is going to want to hear your story. My story doesn't necessarily align with everyone else's, but we all go through similar things that make us question our capabilities, while having NMOSD.
Use your voice. It's the most powerful tool you have.
Were you misdiagnosed, prior to being diagnosed with NMOSD?