Wait…You Want Me to Speak? Out Loud? In Public? Gulp

Sorry about the lack of writing lately…life took off in the fast lane and I am just now catching up, which means I have A LOT to share with all of you!  So be on the look out for a few blogs in the coming weeks instead of just one a week.  First off, for you Nook readers, the book finally got posted as a nook book so get yours now here.  That should satisfy you nookies who have been waiting anxiously for the laughter.  Speaking of the book, I had a book signing in Mesa at the beginning of the month.  One of the chapters of the organization that owns my alma mater, Cottey College, the PEO Sisterhood had an event that they invited me to and I went to sell/sign copies of my new book.

BFF and I went and had a nice time shopping the day before the event and had dinner with BFFE and her Hubby.  At dinner, I see the email notification on my phone and I quickly look and it is from the gal organizing the event, so I read it.  And almost choked on my steak.  Wait…they want me to do what?  Speak? Out loud?  In public?  No….I read it again. and yes that is what it said.  I must have gone pale because BFFE asked me what was wrong with me.  I squeaked out “They want me to speak tomorrow.” BFF looked at me incredulously and clarified what I had said “They want you to speak? Out loud?”  There is one thing that I hate…public speaking.  I am one of those people who get so nervous speaking and usually turn bright red the entire time.  Like the kind of red that makes SOTL Man come over and ask if I am ok red.  BFF knows how much I don’t like to speak to people…she has to encourage me to talk at my signings sometimes because the introvert in me takes over and I cannot find the words to speak to people.  Seriously.  Believe it or not, I really am an introvert and super shy around groups of people.  The thought of having to get up and talk to strangers about myself and my books made me want to back out of the event right then and there.  Giving the Maid of Honor speech at my sister’s wedding about did me in and that was in front of mostly family!  What the heck was I gonna say?  Should I read out loud and not talk at all?  Wait…that still involves talking at some basic level.  I had no idea what I was gonna say or how I was gonna be able to fill 15 whole minutes with my babbling and stammering.  Of course, it might take me the full 15 minutes to just remember my own name and squeak it out.  BFF told me she was glad I did not have any more time to think about this because I would have worried even more about it.  She told me just to get up and talk about myself off the cuff and see what happened.  Of course that could be disastrous…

I decided to follow BFF’s advice and to just go with whatever came out of my mouth and really hoped I didn’t just say fuck over and over.  I mean the crowd couldn’t be that big, right?  We get to the event and all the ladies are SUPER nice and welcoming…there is even a sign that says author behind my name.  How awesome is that?  We got set up, ran to the potty to adjust the spanx and the gal who was in charge gave me an itinerary which showed me speaking first.  Wait…first?  So now, not only do I have to speak but I have to speak first?  BFF pointed out at least I would get it over with and then could concentrate on selling books and signing them.  Good point.  Ok I can do this.  My Bubby and Pocket GF show up and I tell them I have to speak (Bubby totally sympathizes with me) but at least I know I can look at him if I get super nervous.  More and more people arrive.  I notice how many chairs are set up…are they expecting this many people?  People start sitting and the seats get fuller and fuller.  Now I am getting nervous.  The PEO gals get up and start talking to people with a MIC…I have to use a MIC?  Ok panic is starting to set in and I feel the nervous sweats starting.  Yikes,  This could end up with me in a puddle of my own sweat and possibly pee standing in front of a group of people.  Would that sell books?  The PEO gal then says something about questions and answers. I am sorry…did I hear you right?  Now I have to answer questions from the audience.  The puddle might include vomit soon.  It might be like that scene in Pitch Perfect where she is singing and then vomits.  Yeah….that might be me showering the front three rows with my lunch.  Awesome.

I am finally announced after what seems like an eternity and I walk up to the front of the room…now about 60 people full.  Holy cow.  I can feel the blush starting already.  I start speaking and thank goodness no vomit comes out.  A puddle of sweat is forming in my bra, but luckily not running down my legs yet.  I see my Momma, my Bestie, her Momma and my Reds walk in and the girls wave to me, making me smile.  My BFFE and her Hubby quickly fall in to the room and I feel relived to see so many faces I know already.  Then, to my surprise, my college roomie Susan Bennett…the one who is responsible for me getting published…walks in and sits.  Now, feeling more at ease, I continue speaking about my life, writing and my books.  I take questions and cannot believe it when I answer the question “What is the one advice you would give someone working out?” with “Wear the right underwear!”  The audience starts laughing immediately and I wanted to say right then and there “Fat Girl Running has left the building” and drop the mic on the floor and walk back to my table.  It would have been awesome!  But I instead, answer more questions, get a little teary discussing my friend Amy, and talk about how much Cancer sucks.  When I am done, even though I am shaking, I am glad to see lots of laughing and smiling and a huge line quickly forms at my table to buy books (ok yes some of them were my family and friends, but still…).  I did well, selling books, the redness from my face eventually disappeared and I enjoyed myself immensely.  I reconnected with my college roomie briefly and another Cottey grad from our class.  I also avoided vomiting all over the front rows or leaving a puddle of pee in the front of the room.  All in all, I must say it was a success.

Holy Hannah...do you see how big that crowd is?  Can you see me sweating?
Holy Hannah…do you see how big that crowd is? Can you see me sweating?
Red faced and all, but not vomiting
Look the front rows are not covered in vomit!
The wonderous Susan Bennett and I...why have you not checked out her books yet?  Ignore my beet red face
The wonderous Susan Bennett and I…why have you not checked out her books yet? Ignore my beet red face

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I almost ended up in a pure panic and puddle of sweat, pee and vomit over speaking in public but I didn’t die.  I am Fat Girl red-faced speaking out loud in public AUTHOR Running.  The experiment continues…