Last Thursday, I gave an In Our Own Voice presentation to an audience of inpatients at the psychiatric center where I used to work. The audience was very warm and welcoming and supportive. They were patient with us throughout our "technical difficulties" as my friend Linda and I learned how to operate the lights and the DVD backstage. Linda caught on quickly, and pretty soon, things were going smoothly, without glitches. I'm very comfortable speaking in front of an audience, in spite of nervousness at the outset of the presentation, or speech, or whatever I'm doing. My regret is that I didn't know I was doing the presentation all alone until the night before. Then I decided to rewrite parts of my presentation to suit the audience better, which is something I usually do, but I usually have more time to prepare. I had to read off the index cards I prepared for my presentation, which considering my glasses are not the best, was a bit of a challenge. However, like I said, the audience was very warm, welcoming and supportive. Afterward, I took the microphone around while people shared some of their stories and asked questions.
The In Our Own Voice program is an educational program from NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, where people who are living with a psychiatric diagnosis go out and talk to members of the community about their experiences living with a mental illness. We talk about our dark days, how we came to accept our condition, treatment, coping skills and successes, hopes and dreams that keep us motivated to forge ahead despite obstacles and challenges.
We've presented the program at a number of venues, including health fairs, colleges and the Staten Island LGBTQ Center.
On the whole it was a successful presentation, I think. I got positive feedback from the staff who were there, and from the audience members.
After that, I had lunch with a good friend who was visiting from Florida, and we had a nice lunch at a diner. Then she drove me home, and we spent some time together talking. My roommate joined us, and we all had a good time. I changed as soon as I got home, because I'd really rather be comfortable while I'm home and don't have to go out in public.
Just a note about the jacket: That's not the jacket I actually wore. I wore another Coldwater Creek jacket from the 2011 season, which I call my "Chanel-alike" jacket, because it's reminiscent of the iconic Chanel boucle tweed jacket. It's a light purple boucle tweed jacket, with front pockets, and a breast pocket. It has dyed-to-match buttons on the button placket and on the cuffs. But the jacket in the Polyvore set is a reasonable facsimile.