The busy season is here – for me, at least. It’s a bunch of endless presentations, meetings, trainings, and soon comes the annual trip to the Toronto conference. I am positive that things are falling between the cracks at the moment and I am trying not to hyperventilate about that. Tunnel vision is setting in a bit. I keep looking at the people around me and checking in – anyone look mad? anyone look disappointed? no? OKAY, KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON!
I am trying to stay on top of the little details that make things easier – like cleaning off my desk every day. It’s amazing how that helps, to be honest. All the little papers get stacked up, the pens go back into the holder, my 37 chapstick tubes get lined up again, and the world is suddenly a better place. It keeps me a bit better balanced.
Also, it prevents me from standing next to my desk shrieking about how I CANNOT FIND MY KEYS WHERE ARE MY GODDAMNED MUTHERFUCKING KEYS GODDAMMIT? and that’s just a good thing to avoid even at the best of times.
I am emptying my backpack every night. I’m putting laundry into the basket (or into the drawer, or hanging it up). Routines are good for creating structure. I even cleared up the bookshelf in my office (which I sort of share with a bunch of people) because I started to feel anxious about it.
Hypervigilance is a thing with which I am intimately familiar. I’m not there (again) yet, but I’m still hypervigilant about keeping it away. (ha!)
On Monday night, I did a presentation/training in front of about 120 people, give or take. After over 30 years (jesuschrist, how old am I?) of public speaking, I have mostly lost my apprehension about talking to groups. I get worked up about the details – will my laptop work with their projector? what if the microphone squeals and never stops? – but the actual act of standing up there talking just isn’t a big deal anymore.
I think I’ve mostly been desensitized. When I was 9 or 10, I spoke in front of 500 people at a convention centre and didn’t die – so I think the part of my brain that controls my fears just gave up on public speaking and decided to focus on more important things like heights and my own fragile mortality.
(Approximately 3 hours before the presentation started, I was still revising my powerpoint and trying to decide what to include and what to remove – knowing that I could absolutely wing it if needed. I’m mostly talking about subjects that I’m really comfortable with at this point, which is cool. I also understand why no one else wants to present with me, trust me, and I’m super grateful for the one person who’ll happily put her name next to mine on a powerpoint.)
Two of my coworkers came with me to handle a lot of the details – meaning that I got to stand around like a princess and just do my thing. It was seriously great. One of them got everyone into the room, seated, handed them the appropriate form, chatted with them, let me know when it was time to start, kept an eye on the time, made sure I could be heard from the back. And both of them wrangled the crowds afterwards as people came up to get more info or pick up one of the items we were distributing.
Now, if I could just get over my intense fear of having to make small talk with a small group of strangers, everything would be peachy. (Not kidding. I’d rather shove a fork in my eyeball. And I really do need to find a way to get over that. Hopefully without 30+ years of densitization..)
Anyway, Monday night’s thing was the big thing – the rest of this month is much, much easier – just super duper busy.
Except for the part where I’m in Toronto for 4 days. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it. It’s a lot of human interaction, paying attention, trying to keep my cellphone batteries from dying while secretly checking facebook 200 times an hour, and trying to keep track of what “break out room” I’m supposed to be in at any given time. There’s always a point at which I start eyeing the exits and wondering how long I could hide in my hotel room before someone noticed and started texting me. And I can never remember anyone’s name – despite this being the 6th (I think) year that I’ll be attending it – which is starting to seem somewhat pathological instead of just awkward.
To continue my complaints about this trip: I hate that there’s no non-work time, really, other than a rushed hour or two at night before everything closes. And it’s fucking cold while we’re there, which means slogging through the snowbanks and getting soggy jeans and being miserable. I want the conference to start later in the morning (or, y’know, at noon) because I do not sleep well in hotels (to say the last) and by the 4th day I am pretty much a bug-eyed disaster of insomnia-emotions, dry itchy skin, upset digestive system.. and I just want to be home with my people and my stuffs. And my moisturizer, white noise generator, ice water on demand, and windows that open.
I’m getting worked up just THINKING about having to be away.
(Truthfully, I just don’t like being away from Coffee. If he was coming with me it’d all be fine and dandy and I’d be overlooking my itchy skin and lack of ice water and I’d probably be excited about a little adventure out of town.. . Sigh.)
Still, there’s a pretty decent chance you’ll see a post here later this month with me being all wistful about how much I miss Toronto and how much I wish I still lived there, blahblahblah.
Anyway, I’m alive and well out here, and really looking forward to March. So far, it’s about half as busy at February – but I’m sure I’ll find ways to fill it up soon enough, and hopefully with good stuff. At the very least, I’m hoping to take a couple of consecutive days off to read a couple of books, host double Cat Parties, and neglect my personal hygiene. Yeeeeeeah.