The first time I was invited to speak about living with cancer, the hostess asked me how much to charge at the door. I did not want anyone to refrain from attending because of money. On the other hand, with all the additional expenses of cancer, I knew we could use any extra income. I agreed with the hostess to put out a voluntary donation box; no one would check who put what, if anything, in the box.
I decided to "tag" whatever money came in, for my kids, for their future. Any earnings from my cancer experience would be used to enrich my children's lives.
Almost a year ago, I spoke to a group that could not pay me right away.
I only found that out, after I spoke to the group.
OK, I would wait. In any case, it was only a small gratuity.
Still, any money I earn from speaking (or writing) is tagged for our "family fund." It is for my kids. Either for their future, or for creating family memories now, by doing things we would not have otherwise done.
A few months passed. Nothing.
Half a year passed. Nothing.
In another few months, it will have been a year since I addressed the group.
To my surprise and pleasure, a few days ago, I received an envelope from the group.
More significant than the money, was the DVD they included. They had recorded my presentation and sent me a copy.
Last night, I watched the DVD.
It has been many years since I saw myself on video. (The last time must have been in high school, when I took a college course, at FDU, in public speaking. They recorded one of our presentations, so we could be see ourselves. My dad recommended I take that course, and it was one of the most valuable classes I ever had. I used those skills throughout my professional life.)
I have a lot of experience in public speaking. I have also trained others in public speaking. Yet, no matter how much positive feedback I receive, I almost always have some self-criticism about what I should have done differently. I always wonder what I would have thought of my presentation, had I been in the audience.
Seeing myself on video, I got a chance to be a part of the audience.
I got a chance to view myself "from the outside."
It was fascinating to see myself as others see me.
Enough time had passed, that I no longer remembered what I talked about with that particular group. Watching the video almost felt like watching another person. It was interesting to watch "that woman" tell her story and share her insights.
I could not help but notice any time I fumbled over a word. But I also saw a very different me: confident, articulate, dynamic.
(If anyone can walk me through how to do it, I would post it on you tube.)
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,