Today is the day.
In a few hours, I shall be standing in front of university students trying to sound intelligent, erudite and entertaining about naval and local history, while a little voice in my head gibbers like a lunatic. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
I haven't given a presentation in years; standing up in front of people... one of my worst nightmares (others include spiders or very sharp implements or standing on the edge of a cliff - but let's not go there).
It is not a fear of failure - I know my subject - nor is it a fear of stammering - I don't, or at least I didn't. It's something more... indefinable. Outwardly calm, but inwardly shaking.
Phobia? Maybe. I've had this whatever all my life; even went into journalism to try and quell the overwhelming need to RUN!!. The theory being the more I did it, the more comfortable I'd become. Nup. Never happened. All that did was increase my stress levels. And to think: I come from teachers. I missed that part of the gene pool - probably examining the history of it instead.
From experience, I know a coupla shots of bourbon work, quieting the gibbering idiot, but not today. I've got to be professional, speak to the subject, answer questions. The curious thing is that I never remember what I've said, whether I stayed on topic, told a few funnies, spoke clearly, informed the audience.
I'll be fine once I begin, I wallow in history, but after, I think I'll have a Bex and a good lie down - and make the museum promise to never ask this of me again (and I'll be slapping the pikers upside the head should they abandon the project at such a late stage evah again).
So. A few deep breaths, cups of calming tea, and the knowledge Lady Gertrude Denman is watching, and I'll be fine. Really. No big... much. Eager minds waiting to absorb my pearls of wisdom. Oh...