A receipt? Yup, a receipt. This receipt is kind of special to me. The sort of thing that if I were fifteen years old again it would go into my keepsake box and be stored away for too many years. It is a bit of a marker. It is the only piece of tangible evidence of me starting a new endeavor, public speaking.
I recently connected with a popular international public speaker, Jessica Lynn. She came to one of my group therapy sessions as a guest speaker and mentioned that she was always looking for people to join her in speaking to people about our transgender lives. It is something that I have always been interested in, but have yet to actually pursue it.
The receipt above is alas not from my first public speaking gig, but it is from the first time that I met with a college professor to have a private discussion about meeting with her students. Her name is Debra Hansen and she is a psychology professor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California. She is currently teaching a couple of courses that she frequently invites several transgender people to be a part of a panel. Her students are then able to question the panel and the panel can answer the question if they feel like it.
Yesterday when I met with her it was a bit of a vetting process. While I had emailed with her a few times, and we had spoken on the phone, there is nothing like the connection that can be made in person. You can really get a feel for a who a person is when you sit across from them in a small office and chat openly for about an hour.
Can you suspect that I was super nervous? Well I was. Like usual. A holdover from growing up with the ever present paranoia of someone finding out that I am actually transgender. I wish I could just blink that away, but that just isn't reality now is it? Nope. To rid myself of the nervous jitters, I generally have to get out there and actually face me fears.
And I was afraid. I was literally shaking when I stopped into a restroom retreat just prior to meeting with her. While sitting there I asked myself if I was this nervous in just meeting with a professor, what was going to happen when I would be presenting to an auditorium of humans? Yikes!
I used my unstoppable bravery and mustered up the courage to exit the restroom and find my way to her office. And what happened upon that fateful meeting? Uh, we hit it off just fabulously! We chatted and chatted easily allowing more than an hour to go by. Our conversation was so enjoyable we continued it down the hall and out the building as we walked together to my car, and to her auditorium. Auditorium? Yeah she was off to rehearsal for a play she is in. Exciting, huh? I think so, I so enjoyed being in plays when I was younger.
It was yet another awesome experience that showed me, hey I can hold my own in a conversation, and I am generally a fairly personable human. And as Jack Handy used to remark, gosh darn it, people like me!
Another small step was taken. Another small step that one day will lead me to stepping up and out and continuing to expand my ability to make connections. For it is those small connections, that we all can make, that change the world.
Love connections with other humans!