Friday, July 18, 2014
Have you ever had plans to travel somewhere, but the night before your big trip, you can't sleep? You can't sleep possibly because you're extremely excited, stressed because there are still a million things to do before you leave, or because you are nervous about your upcoming adventure...Or you have a mixture of all three options!
That's pretty much how I feel tonight. Yet, I'm not traveling on a big trip.
Tomorrow afternoon is the day when I'll be going to the hospital to share my story their lab department employees. I'll be able to share my story in regards to my birthmark while doing a little bit of "sensitivity training".
I'm really excited to have such a unique opportunity to educate others, and to hopefully allow them to have a better understanding of what it's like to be in my shoes - or in the shoes of anyone with a visible, physical, difference. But I'm also incredibly nervous.
I feel as though I've done a lot of public speaking for my age. I've spoken at churches to raise money for mission trips, to share about missions, I've taken a speech class, and I've shared about my birthmark to K-6th graders.
I always get a little nervous every time I speak somewhere - but not quite like this.
All week I've been trying to figure out the perfect thing to say tomorrow afternoon. Or, technically, this afternoon since it is currently 2 in the morning. My "lecture" of sorts will be taking place in a little less than 11 hours, and yet it was only tonight when I finally figured out what exactly I want to say...And I know I still need to make some changes in the morning.
So why am I nervous??
I think I kind of freaked myself out earlier this week.
While thinking about my upcoming lecture at the hospital, I had a big realization. Yes, I am use to speaking in public and I love doing that. Yeah, I blog and Facebook about my birthmark experiences on a daily basis. I even share with people I meet when the opportunity comes up!
When I speak tomorrow, though, some of the people who have said hurtful things and who have victimized me will be there.
(Let me clarify - I really dislike using the word "victimized" in these situations, yet it's the best I can come up with. I don't like to think of myself as a victim, but in a sense, I guess that's kind of what I am in some situations due to the way others treat me.)
Those who have said hurtful things in the recent past will be there.
The good thing is, I'm not sure I'll be able to recognize those who have treated me in an ill manner in the past. I don't generally focus on memorizing their faces and names, just the stories.
And although this whole sensitivity lecture is a chance to have my story told, to give them a better understanding of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, I don't want to come across as though I'm intentionally attacking those who have attacked me. I don't want to come across as though I'm dwelling in the past, or that I'm even angry - because I'm not. I want to be sensitive, yet honest, in my sensitivity training. I want them to know that while the past situations did take place, my only desire is to use the past to enhance the future for the better as I'm focused on a bigger, brighter, future.
When I first volunteered to do this, I really didn't think it would affect my nerves like this - but it has.
Speaking to children is a lot easier for me. When I speak to the children, I feel like I'm working with a fresh slate. With a new and fresh attitude that is easier to mold in comparison to adults who have already had a lifetime of molding. When I blog about my stories, even if those who have treated me a certain way read what I have to say, I don't have to look them in the eyes. I only look at a screen while I type my message.
For years I've been accepting what people say to me without really responding, without telling them the affects of their words and hurtful stares. I usually take what people say while later laughing about it, and/or making it into a joke...basically as a coping mechanism, and because some situations really are hilarious.
But now it's time to stand up. It's time to stop just simply coping! It's time to stand up for myself and for the others who are affected by the things people say and by the way they're treated - just because they have simple physical difference. It's time to at least attempt to make a small difference, even if that means only one person listens to what I have to say and takes something away from my few words.
People need to understand that their words have an affect. Their words have consequences, even ones that they can't alway see. They can make an impact in a person's life - even if they are a strangers. They can build someone up, or even tear someone down.
I'm ready to stop coping. I'm ready for there to be a change. But more importantly, I'm finally ready to help create the desired change. (And actually, it wasn't until recent months that I realized that I even hold an ounce of power to make a change!)
Prayers are very much appreciated as I go to speak to the hospital staff in the afternoon. I'm sure that my nerves are just being dramatic and I'm sure I'll be okay once I start speaking - Starbucks or Jamba Juice in hand! Please pray for my nerves, open and listening ears, for me to have the right words to say, and for a comfortable setting and atmosphere - for both me and for those listening.
Thank you! Thank you for reading this, for traveling on this journey with me, and for praying. You have no idea how much I value the impact you have in my life.
The Travelin' Chick,