The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,945 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,765 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Each Other/I Should Have Been in the Movies! Merit Badge, I had to conquer a lifelong fear. A phobia. Not spiders, those misunderstood little gentlemen of the buggy world. Not heights, which give me a delicious, butterflies-in-the-ol’-tummy kind of thrill. Not deep water, which only makes me practice my mermaid kicks and hair tossing. Not even the dark, which just makes me crave warm milk and a nap. No, no, my fear is of … public speaking.
I know. You’re shocked, right? I kinda am, too. I mean, I’m an exuberant personality! A talkative gal! If I were to write my autobiography, it’d be chock full of exclamation points!!!!!!!!
But there’s something about putting me on stage, or *gulp* focusing a camera on Yours Truly, and I freeze.
Just ask my third grade teacher, Miss Trunchbull, who demoted me from Pretty Princess to Rock #4 faster than you could say, Speak up, Miss Jane, I can’t hear a word you’re saying over all that melodramatic knee knocking.
Memories. Some light the corners of your mind and some just need to be buried under a mountain of chocolate pudding.
But anyway, for this particular badge, I simply needed to write down all the directions for acquiring said badge, gather my materials, and practice telling my tale. Not so bad. It’s the Intermediate Level that has me all tied up in nervous knots. That’s when I perform in front of a live audience.
For a little rehearsal though, I brought in my girls, my chickadees, my compadres in crime, my feather bedecked girlfriends, Paisley, Toile, and Calico. They never judge. Also, they ignore me, which I felt was helpful to my nerves at this juncture. I was also so distracted by keeping them out of my chocolate pudding (organic, homemade, and fair trade, of course) that my nerves stayed at the minimum frazzled level.
As audiences go, I wouldn’t say they were the most interactive or involved, or even, say, present, but my little rehearsal went a long way towards calming me. Next, I propped up my full length mirror. We are our own worst critic, isn’t that what they say? So, I figured, if I don’t boo myself off stage, I’m golden.
I picked a badge I’ve already earned, put on my no-nonsense pantsuit, took a deep breath, and plunged right in. I had a lovely intro, some light ice breaker joking, a step-by-step bullet list, and a time at the end for a little Q and A.
(That’s Questions and Answers for you new to public speaking.)
I was surprised at the maturity of the Qs and impressed by the immediacy and accuracy of the As. I was on point. On fire. I was also very relieved not to be heckled: another fear.
I think (slurping chocolate pudding) I am totally ready for the Intermediate Level Merit Badge. Bring it on!