Saturday, September 17, 2022

Clinic Board Member?

I love my new computer. I trust it. It’s faster. Everyone remarks at the clarity of the picture when I video chat. I cleared my desk yesterday afternoon. When I came to sit down and write this post, it was to a clean open space. The shiny wood surface looked mighty fine to me—in order (my two favourite words). And the familiar sound of the legs of my chair scraping along the floor was like a drug rush. I was in my happy place—my very happy place—when I am at my desk.

Well, I’m now invited to board meetings of the Foundation (clinic). I’m attending as a non-voting member and I’m invited to the next two meetings, at which point I am to decide if I will stand for election to the board, or if I will just continue as a committee member.

I think the Foundation has done a great job of designing a recruitment process. I responded to their ad in the paper for volunteers, listing skills that they were seeking. I was asked onto one committee, and then another, and now I do a trial run of board meetings. It’s been an excellent ride.

After my very first meeting, I was on the treadmill. I got several assignments and started writing. It has never stopped. And I’ve had an education into their culture, picked up nomenclature, met people, felt pride, fulfilled, and valued. I’m not feeling terribly keen to be a board member, so the trial run may be very helpful for me.

The truth is, I’m scared to join, and that’s all due to my speech. I have no doubt that they will respect me and welcome me. Knowing that doesn’t allay my fears. The first meeting is soon—maybe ten days. I feel close to despair when I think about being in the meeting. I have time to plan. I’ll have a short, to the point, message ready to paste into the chat box of the Zoom call.

The BIG problem for me, as always, is not knowing how good or bad my speech is going to be until it’s happening. One-to-ten scale: 8.5. Ten is completely mute. This morning, I could barely talk to the people I see and know most here: my dog walking pals. We function like a support group—at least for me they do. 

I’ll try to speak when asked to. I’ve no plans to speak unless asked. Fuck. They’re going to ask me to introduce myself, I just know it. Only stutterers know that saying our name is one of the hardest things we’re asked to do.

I can honestly say that I know I can do it. People are nice to me, always. I’ve written often that I trigger a lot of kindness in others with my symptoms. Knowing that, gives me the strength I need to click on my mouse and Zoom in. The Gabriola Community Fall Fair is on Sunday. I’m going to go. I’m taking the cards that explain my speech. 

Fear has become a big part of my life since my modest, non-dramatic breakdown. It dominates my dreams. Right now, I want to fall off a cruise ship and wash up on an island of deaf people.

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