Monday, March 05, 2007

Hot Flashes

Well, that was embarrassing! Tonight, as I was teaching the God's Friends study group, I had a massive hot flash. I finally had to stop speaking and just ask the ladies if they were as hot as I was? They all giggled and said 'no'. Hmmmm ... I guess that means I'm either under a hot air vent, or my body is providing it's own heat! I suspect it's the latter.

Oh my goodness, I thought I was going to die! It was so bad that I actually looked down at the page numbers on my talk to find out how much longer I was going to have to stand there and be interesting! It took everything I had to focus through that. I finally pulled out a stack of papers and began fanning myself and just kept going through it.

As soon as it was over, I sat down and began to feel a little relief. This doesn't really freak me out - I've been praying for menopause to just get here for quite a while. I'd like to get into it and just start dealing with it! All of the anticipation is killing me! I've been dealing with 'pre-menopause' for several years.

You know, growing up with my parents taught me about focus - no matter what. I've been performing in one way or another since I was very young. I distinctly remember singing in a children's choir and getting the giggles with my friends in the back row. We were sitting up in front of the congregation and we were out of control. When I got home after church that day, dad had plenty to say to me about my lack of control in front of the congregation. It was a lesson well learned. He never had to teach it to me again.

Focusing through the giggles, through pain, through angst, through whatever emotion is thrown at me is something I have learned to do. I had to learn that it wasn't about me, it was about making my audience comfortable. The greatest compliment I ever received was from a lady in one of my churches after a performance that I had given. She came up to me and though she told me that I did a great job, the compliment that made me feel the best was when she told me that she loved being in the audience when I performed because she never felt nervous. She knew that I would deal with anything that came my way, whether it was a mistake or any outside intrusion. I exuded confidence and my audience felt that - and they felt confident throughout my performance.

Well, that meant a lot to me! And it still does. I know that I'm going to make mistakes when performing, and I can handle them in any multitude of ways. But, knowing that it isn't about me, but about making my audience comfortable so that they can participate with me changes my focus. I don't have to be embarrassed if I'm prepared. It's a mistake and I can move past it.

That's one of the most difficult lessons to teach young performers. "Don't let your errors show on your face." The audience doesn't want to know that you made a mistake, they want to know that you can handle making a mistake.

So, I guess I exaggerated in the opening sentence. It really was much more entertaining than it was embarrassing. There wasn't a woman in that room tonight that didn't understand what hit me. They've either been through it or will got through a hot flash (or several). So, now they know a little bit more about me - and we have something in common we can laugh about. And laugh I shall - the body does such weird and wild things to us - I have to laugh about it!

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