Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Thursday

29

March 2012

55

COMMENTS

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane if I Don’t Totally Freak Myself Out

Written by , Posted in humor, life

It’s been a crazy few weeks, what with all my drowning in What a Woman is Worth submissions and off-and-on panic attacks about giving my first-ever talk at the Killer Tribes Conference this weekend. Don’t get me wrong– I am so excited about what I can see this book shaping up to be, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity at the conference to share my thoughts on being a niche writer.

It’s just that I’m pretty much dying of a combination of anxiety and my own ridiculousness, fueled in equal parts by procrastination and perfectionism.

My friend Sarah says I have nothing to worry about, that I’ll be even better in real life than I am on the blog, that, ironically, Tamara Out Loud is like the movie version and the real me is like the book version of the same story. I know what she means by it, and it’s exceptionally kind, but I can’t help feeling that could only be true if the book were about seven pounds heavier and noticeably less articulate than the movie. Plus the movie always has popcorn and candy. So the book is kind of freaking the hell out right now.

It’s not that I’m afraid of speaking in front of people; it’s that I’m afraid I’ll entirely lose track of what I want to say, or mess it up extravagantly, or leave out some giant gem of truth that is essential for their well being and assured salvation, or not do well enough, or not be good enough.

And I suppose that’s the fear behind all my procrastination and all my perfectionism: I’m afraid that I am not good enough.

And I love you dearly for it, my friends and readers, but all your messages the past few days telling me I’m awesome and I’ll rock just can’t quite knock over a fear built on so deep a foundation. So I laugh at my own neuroses because the alternative’s too hard. And the beauty of self-deprecation is that you get to laugh at yourself before anyone else can.

So my impulse is to do some last-minute managing of expectations, to demonstrate my less-ness so that people won’t hope for more than I can safely bank on delivering. But the people who so have so zealously supported me all along the way, rallying around me with notes of encouragement and laughter, with prayers, and with swift kicks in the ass, they– you— don’t need me to be some contrived “less” or “more.” You deserve the book version of the story, even if it’s not quite as cute or witty as the movie with all its special effects.

This place is about being real; my talk is about being real. At the least, I can do that.

And I may just have to get used to it. Because your tremendously generous donations have not only entirely covered my travel expenses, they were enough to also have some smart little business cards made so that I can network my slightly-bigger-than-you-might-expect ass off, and they were even enough to start saving for my next speaking gig. So thank you, humbly and deeply, for putting your money where my mouth is and trusting me to speak.

I leave first thing tomorrow morning for Nashville, and I give my talk on Saturday afternoon. I can’t promise I won’t freak out a few more times before then, but I’ll try my damnedest to bring the book version.

Or at least the CliffsNotes.

***

If you’re coming to Killer Tribes: Planning to attend my session? Leave your Twitter handle in the comments so people can follow all the inspiring and/or ridiculous things I say! (Don’t forget the #KillerTribes hashtag.)

If you can’t make it to Killer Tribes: Your wish is Tyler Tarver’s command. He’s agreed to video record my session for you, which I will possibly share if I don’t think I sound like a total freaking idiot/look fat.

Got any last-minute advice for me?

(Thank you for all your support! I heart you guys big time.)

  • http://twitter.com/AliseWrite Alise Wright (@AliseWrite)

    “I’m afraid that I am not good enough.”

    Oh THAT. Yeah, I know that one. And you’re right – that’s one that we have to conquer ourselves, though it is often easier to face when we know that folks who love us have our back.

    You’re loved. And even if this is a monstrous failure (which it won’t be, but you know), that won’t change. (Really, it won’t be.)

    Also, I can count on one hand the number of movies I like better than the book.

    (Really, it won’t be a monstrous failure. At all.)

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Yeah, maybe I’ll come up with an essay for Not Afraid after all. 🙂

  • kevinrhaggerty

    You’re going to do great. Just make sure to write down the main points you want to get to on an index card or something to place on the podium. God always seems to give the proper amount of time we need to get to the things we need to get to.

    What’s really cool about this is that I could see it being a catalyst for something great in the future. In a year, we will be looking back and saying: “Hey, remember when Tamara WASN’T doing public speaking engagements on a regular basis and being wildly famous and popular? No? Me neither.”

    I can’t wait to hear about how you steal the show!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Too kind, sir.

  • http://ridereh.wordpress.com creeperjack

    I find that when I approach a stage my confidence dwindles with each step, take deep breaths and raise your head just a little higher than normal, this’ll help when the nerves come to play.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Breathe. Got it. Thanks. 🙂

  • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

    I just wish I could be there, because I know you’re gonna rock it.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Wish you could be too!

  • http://twitter.com/amympayne Amy Payne (@amympayne)

    Loved your title b/c it kind of describes me right now — I’m leaving today for Nashville and already discovered several things I forgot to pack. Awesome. (I’m at work now.) Also, I decided against making “smart little business cards” — was that the right decision??! I figure we are all on Twitter and I’ll just be like, “Follow me.” (@amympayne, people!) Look forward to meeting you! 🙂

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Look forward to meeting you too! And I wouldn’t worry about the cards– I just find that people get really confused when I say my name, so it’s best to put it in writing. 🙂

  • http://ironicmom.wordpress.com Leanne Shirtliffe

    I will be there in full spirit, I assure you. And I’m sending you hugs and an extra dose of sass. And the knowledge that my ass is bigger than your ass. So there.

    Go get ’em, T!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      We will see about that. Some day. xo

  • http://compassionateconservative.wordpress.com compassionateconservative

    Everything will be great as long as you have the Reese’s Eggs…

    And for real, you will do great. As my dad told me, “Don’t show them fear!”

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      WRONG. Cups. All the way.

      • Sarah H.

        I assume that’s because you ate all the delicious EGGS I gave you…

  • Mom

    May God give you the grace to let your light shine. “Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the waters.” Peace be with you, my love, and have a great time!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks, Mom!

  • stacy

    Take a hankie to mop your hands with every so often. Keep it in the podium, or in a pocket, or something.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I didn’t even think about the sweat factor– gross!

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Procter (@ThatGuyKC)

    I’m so excited for you, Tamara. I wish I could attend the Killer Tribes conference. I’m thinking of starting my own blogger conference. Something about ninjas and zombie-robot killers. We need some conference love here in the Northwest.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Aw, man– I wish you could too! I would not put it past the Pacific Northwest to have a conference like that. 😉

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

    I just really really want you to be a normal person. I know I am — I’m not nearly as quick-witted in person when I have to think on my feet. So let’s just be normal together, shall we?

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      That sounds like a lovely relief. xo

  • pastordt

    Got your back this weekend, T. Asking for the grace to be YOU – that’s it. Because that’s what God made and that’s what people look for and love. I think you’ll be surprised at a.) how terrified you will be 5 minutes before, and 2.) how ‘piece-of-cake’ pleased you will be 5 minutes after. And in between? It’s just you and Jesus, kid. Talk about havin’ your back!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks for your prayers, Diana!

  • hopefulleigh

    I’ve got a bag of PB cups waiting for you. We’ll paint the town red and I’ll offer as much reassurance as you need. If I were in your shoes, I’d be having the same freak out moments!

    See you TOMORROW!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      You’re such a gracious hostess– can’t wait to hang out!

  • http://noclonejones.wordpress.com Chad Jones

    You’ll have ’em on their feet cheering!

    You’ve got this, because He’s got you.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks, man. I’d be alright with just having them following along, nodding with understanding. 🙂

  • dan mcm

    Tylern Tarver is recording for you? Very cool…. The only thing is, do you trust him not to put in a laugh track or pull some other gag on the video before he passes it back to you? 😉 Thank you for going out of your way to have someone record the session…. there are lots of us that will want to see it. (Also, you will not look fat, and we wouldn’t care if you did.)

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks for asking! And I totally trust Tyler. He’s the best.

  • Sarah H.

    And the Lord said unto Tamara, His little girl:
    “It’s not about you. It’s about Me. So tell your story.”

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      It is, isn’t it, in the end? Thanks, friend.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carey.gregg Carey Schmitz Gregg

    I could add to the hundreds who have already stated that you will rock it and we’ll think you’re wonderful even if you’re not. But that doesn’t seem to be helping you. But it is true anyway.

    I can think of two other things that might, just maybe, a teeny, tiny little bit, help.

    First, I’ll tell you what I told my friend Tiffeny the day before she shaved her head bald during chemo treatments, during her freak out moment: We do not love you for your hair (or your body weight); we love you because you are warm and funny and smart and kind, etc., etc. Being bald (or looking fat on stage–which you are not and will not, by the way) will not change that. Neither will not being perfect.

    Second, I’ll tell you what happened to me when I had to speak in front of my whole church. A much smaler crowd than you’ll be speaking in front of, to be sure, but a crowd made up almost entirely of people that I know, but not necessarily well. For me, that is hell. I HATE speaking in front of groups, and if I do have to do it, I’d much rather it be total strangers. Because I care what the people at my church think of me, and, as you said, that darn old “not good enough” fear nearly dragged me right down. In the moments leading up to my being announced on stage, I nearly had a complete anxiety attack.I was sweating, and I couldn’t think, and my vision was getting fuzzy around the edges. So I said a quick prayer: “God, you have to help me. I know I wrote down what I was going to say, but I can’t remember a word of it, and I’m not sure I’m capable of reading right now. So I need You to put the words in my mouth please. Amen.” Instantly, I was completely calm. I spoke clearly and articulately; I was witty and said exactly what I wanted to say. And the entire time, I was thinking, “Who IS this woman speaking right now??” The answer is a woman who is God’s child, who asked for God’s help and received it.

    So just ask…you’ll get it, I promise!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Awesome. I think I’ll be fine as soon as I start talking; it’s the two days until then that worry me. 😉

  • http://kaseymathews.com kasey mathews

    Tamara, have you ever heard of Rescue Remedy? I seem to be recommending that a lot lately. Perhaps it’s just what I’m needing! Anyway, it’s a Back flower remedy, available at health food stores, so effective and calming. It comes in eye dropper form for under the tongue or a cream to apply inside each wrist and behind the ears. So great for calming kids! I was introduced to it right before we were bringing our preemie baby home for the first time from the hospital. It was a true God send and has been ever since. I love your writing. I so get what you’re saying as I’m speaking at a my first conference in May. I was a wreck. Now I’m just a little bit of a wreck – progress! I’m not going to tell you how great you’ll be cause the only one you’ll believe is yourself! Good luck! XO Kasey

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Great to hear about your progress, Kasey. Here’s to hoping it just keeps getting better.

  • http://meetthebuttrams.wordpress.com Meet the Buttrams

    I’m your biggest fan.

    And for those of you not able to make it to KT, I will be live-tweeting Tamara’s session. This is my twitter name: @jbuttwhatwhat.

    Looking forward to sweaty-palm handshakes and awkward side hugs!!!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I only do full-frontal.

  • http://alittlethisandthatfromeverywhere.blogspot.com MarieLa

    Dear Tamara,

    I recently changed churches and am supposed to tell my testimony in front of a whole room full of strangers which I will have to see every weekend from then on. I really do understand what it’s like to freak out and think that you will forget the most important stuff. But fortunately I do have stage experience. The tips you got are pretty good. Just make sure that you can read your cards!
    What gives me peace of mind is that I only have to be willing. God chose the weak, the poor and the stutterers to bring His word to the rest of the world. I bet you will do great if you trust in God and yourself, that this is going to happen, and it’s gonna be great. And if it all goes down the drain, you take that experience and LEARN from it so that you will do better next time. Good that you can see the recording of your first speech! Have fun God bless you!

    Marie

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      He can use it all. Great, great point.

  • http://faithchaser.wordpress.com FaithChaser

    Something I learned when I started doing ministry/mission work might help you here. I shared a bit of it with you on via tweet the other night. Granted, I don’t stand up in front of big crowds and speak – just little ones sometimes. My thoughts might help anyhow; I hope so…

    You’re NOT good enough. But God is and He sent you.

    Nothing “qualifies” you for what you’re doing. Nothing except you answered a call to be the hands and feet of God and now He’s calling you to action in a manner different from what you’re used to practicing.

    You will screw up. You will make a mistake…or seventeen…or seventy-seven. If you accept that going in, you’ll be a bit more at ease when they happen.

    It helps me to remember that God is in control and, so long as I pray and prepare, and pray, then whatever happens is EXACTLY what He had planned to happen. For even in the mistakes there are lessons (and often humor, if we look).

    Good luck, Tamara! You have many people praying for you. I am confident you will do well; I will pray that you find the peace to accept that well, fine, great, stupendous (and every other superlative which will be tossed around) are not perfect. And that’s okay. We will all be reading your blog when you get back home to your comfort zone.

    Now…go enjoy Nashville! I wish I were going!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I like the freeing idea of accepting that there will be screw-ups.

      And for the record, I’m pretty sure I won’t have a big crowd!

  • http://reneeronikaklug.wordpress.com reneeronikaklug

    Some years ago, I had the privilege of working with the exquisite Dianne Wiest (I know!). Shortly before she went on stage for a performance, I asked her after all she’s accomplished–two Oscars and a zillion amazing films–whether she still gets nervous. She said she did. She added that she would quit right now if she didn’t; the nervousness forces her to do better.

    You’re going to do better than you expect, Tamara. Even if self-deprecation tries to defeat you, the Spirit of the Living God is within you to make you bold and well. He is with you, friend. You will not fail. Tell the truth and tell it straight.

    Much love and strength to you. I can’t wait to see the video.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I always had that same feeling before going on stage to act or sing. That’s a good reminder– thanks.

  • http://guidetowomen.wordpress.com Sharideth Smith

    if anybody laughs and points while you’re speaking, i’ll start a bar fight.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Hell, I’ll just go to a bar.

  • http://theaspirationalagnostic.wordpress.com theaspirationalagnostic

    You won’t know that you can do it until you do it.
    So do it.
    🙂

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks. 🙂

  • http://janheath1234.wordpress.com Off the Wall

    Tamara, as one of your biggest fans, I just know you will do great and have a blast! I hope you all document everything really well for those of us drooling over your trip! God bless you, and may you have a safe trip, and a most wonderful time!

  • http://communicatingacrossboundaries.wordpress.com Marilyn

    Practical tip: Make sure you have water. Physiological reaction to stress, whether the stress is conscious or subconscious (that’s the nurse in me talking!) Even if you have your words, dry mouth makes you feel like you don’t. And the title of your blog says it all – out loud is what you can do and that is awesome.

  • http://ramblingbarba.com Ken Hagerman

    If you forget you spot just go with a limerick. People love that crap. I love your position of “mess it up extravagantly.” Not just a flat performance but an extravagantly screwed up mess. Being able to write that sentence precludes your likelihood of bombing. Leave em with something to remember. BTW Post the vid I can’t make it. Fat/idiot or not

  • http://asoulswalk.wordpress.com asoulwalker

    Cheers.

  • http://listening2learn.wordpress.com listening2learn

    This is a late response in that you’ve already gone, seen and conquered, but just know that some of your fans would be delighted to see you with an extra 8 pounds because it would make us feel less self-conscious of our own. 😉 Even when you’re something you think you shouldn’t be, your true friends will recognize it as something that makes you even better.

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