Last weekend I participated in an amazing event dedicated to diabetes, Runway Fusion: Fashion Against Diabetes. I was so honored to open the show which showcased up and coming designers, they even had one from Russia! The combination of fashion and diabetes, two things very close to my heart, had me so ecstatic to be a part of this event. The show took place at Montgomery College in their Cultural Arts Center building. The beautiful glass structure was the perfect location for the event. With the sun shining through on what had to be the most beautiful Saturday in DC so far this year, I was sure this was my time to shine. Beat the Betes was ready to make its debut and I was certain that as long as I followed my speech to the "T" it was going to be a huge success.
I envisioned the stage with a podium to the side, where I would discreetly place my IPad and have my speech pulled up so I could effortlessly glance down from time to time to remember what to say. My vision wasn't all the way wrong; there was a stage, just no podium! I almost instantly started to freak out, all these crazy questions just started flooding my mind. How was I going to hold a mic in one hand and my IPad in another? Would anyone be able to pay attention to my beautiful outfit if they were busy focusing on my IPad? What if my screen went blank? All these questions plus the fact that the show was to start in 1 1/2 hours had me in serious panic mode.
I figured I had two choices. I could either memorize the speech, or go center stage with my IPad. The decision became quite obvious when I received back to back compliments on my shoes and dress; no way was I going to distract the audience from seeing all of this. I was a fashionable diabetic at a fashion event, no way was my IPad going to steal the show! However, coming to the conclusion that in the remaining hour before the show I needed to memorize my speech didn't do anything but increase my anxiety.
After numerous pep talks with myself, slightly condensing the speech then reciting it a million times over I finally felt like I was ready. With 15 minutes left I decided to go all out with my last practice. Guess what happened, I had forgotten everything! It was like this big haze came over my brain and erased everything I had worked on the last 45 minutes. All i kept thinking was if I couldn't pull it off back stage then how was I supposed to do it in front of all those people. It wasn't my first time publicly speaking but this was different. It mattered so much more than any other time before. And just like that, with the realization of where my fear came from my courage and determination broke free as well. It WAS different! That's what made it so important, that's why I had no choice but to do it and do it well.
And did it well I did! I strutted out center stage recited my lines, even missed a couple but I kept it moving. In that moment I felt like I accomplished everything I want Beat the Betes to be about; not letting anything stand in your way of accomplishing your goals, conquering your fears and looking good while doing it! I'm so excited about what the future holds for Beat the Betes and even more excited about the freedom I've encountered while pursing my dreams. This is a reality for everyone, in everything that you do. Don't let anything, especially not diabetes hold you back from being GREAT!