Friday, May 29, 2009

Triumph Over My Gag Reflex

Most who know me in person are acquainted with my most prominent (& messiest) nervous habit - vomiting prior to public speaking engagements. This became particularly problematic last year, when I took on a job that required me to teach high schoolers on a semi-regular weekend basis. I chucked at least once per weekend. The one weekend I didn't, I instead got legitimately ill & vommed into the bushes outside the Jefferson Memorial. Awesome, I know.

Tonight, I was asked to give the d'var Torah at erev Shavuot services hosted by Tikkun Leil Shabbat, a local, lay-led havurah, which I realize makes zero sense to many of my readers. Basically, it's a traveling hippie synagogue for Jewish 20- and 30-somethings living in DC. They meet in different locations around the city, & the services are pretty free-flowing - music, chanting, drums, other stray instruments. The d'var Torah (that's Jew-speak for "sermon," for all you Gentiles) always focuses on some sort of social justice issue.

So, a quick plug: Tonight's d'var was about a health care reform event happening here in DC next month. The Interfaith Service of Witness & Prayer is expected to be the largest faith-inspired mobilization around health care reform in the country. It's sponsored by more than 30 national faith organizations & denominations - Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, the works. We'll be gathering on Wednesday, June 24th from 4-7 p.m. on Freedom Plaza to show our support for health care reform. If you're in the city, I encourage you to join us!

Anyway, the point is this:
I DID NOT VOMIT TONIGHT! In fact, the affirming hippies I spoke to even snapped & murmured "Yasher koach" ("congrats," loosely) when I finished. And while I then proceeded to shake like a leaf upon returning to my seat, I was mostly too busy being distracted by my pride in my stomach's ability to refrain from emptying itself to notice or to care about my full-body tremors.

So who wants to book me for a speaking gig? YAHOO!

3 comments:

Shannon said...

Yay for no pukage! I have a serious vomit-phobia. I freak out if I'm about to, and I close my ears and la la la if someone else is going to.

spleeness said...

Hey, that's awesome!! I bet no one noticed you shaking.

I get the shakes something awful when I have to speak and most of the time people say they couldn't tell. (Except for the one time I was speaking in a voice too loud, my face embarrassingly rigid with fear, I looked down and noticed the paper in my hand shaking violently -- that WAS noticed. Now I no longer hold notes!)

I took a "fear of public speaking" class once and it informed me that like 80% of the population was more afraid of that then dying! At least we're not alone. :)

Chaviva said...

Whoa! Yasher koach indeed. That gag reflex sounds pretty brutal ... but glad it didn't hit you this time! Maybe this is a sign of changing times.

I'm so glad to hear it went well :)

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