Speaking in front of my first graders is easy. Half of the time, they are trying to tie their shoes or wanting to go to the bathroom. Speaking in front of adults can be difficult for me. I do better when it is an impromptu speech. When someone gives me a topic and a week before the event to prepare. I am a nervous wreck.
In five minutes I will be asked to share my story. The journey of autism, how it changed my life, affected my marriage, Harrison, and my relationship with others. My hands began to sweat and I felt a hot flash coming on. I will never see this people ever again. So if I make a fool of myself. It is all a part of life.
I don’t want pity. I am here to spread autism awareness. I can’t make it seem like I have it all together. Because that is far from the truth. What I do on a daily basis takes grit, power, prayer and determination.
My speech is ready. I remember the public speaking points that Carmen Harlan taught me when I met her in high school. Today felt different. I didn’t want to use the speech. It was filled with what these parents wanted to hear. The obvious is that I have no idea what their lives are like. What I see as a struggle. Might be a walk in the park for them.
They just called me to the stage. I threw my speech in the trash and walked to the podium. When I looked out at the audience from the podium. I only knew one face in the crowd. This was a train wreck and the train hadn’t left the station yet.
It was in that moment, my world changed, my book was born and I finally decided on a title.
To be continued….