I’m late this week. Not like me at all. Truth be told, I’m in such bad form that I’m struggling to find anything to be grateful for. I had a manic week in Malta with early starts and late evenings and lots of meetings, workshops, and conversations that required energy – far more energy than I had to give.
I came home to my newly painted flat to find that the colours I had in my head didn’t quite make it on to the walls. Add this to the stark realisation that it’s going to take a while to hang my pictures and find that mirror and sort out my crap and the impatience in me bubbles to the surface creating an angst that I don’t need right now.
And I brought back a chest cold that is morphing into a head cold and making me miserable.
I’m in the middle of a two-day workshop and although it’s the last place I want to be (my bed is much more appealing) faking it is all part and parcel of being front and centre. While every bone in my body aches and my head is thumping and my chest sounds like I’ve been on sixty a day for forty years, none of that can show.
It’s one of the most asked questions regarding public speaking – what do you do when you so don’t want to get on stage but you have to? How do you overcome whatever ails you?
I stammer. Some days I can’t say my own name. When I make a restaurant reservation, I use the name Ann Clarke. And over the years, Ann Clarke has become my alter ego. When Mary Murphy can’t be arsed or feels miserable or would rather darn socks and sort spices then face a public, Ann Clarke comes to the rescue. Because her life is so compartmentalised and because she doesn’t get out all that often, any excuse to appear in public is a relief, something she welcomes, craves even. In my mind’s eye, she’s taller, thinner, with short blonde hair and ankles. And she has a slight American twang. She’s never phased; nothing gets to her. She runs her world with a military-like precision that is coupled with just the right amount of humanity to ensure that she treats everyone equally and is never taken advantage of.
There you have it! This week, I’m grateful for Ann Clarke and the number of times she has come to my rescue. May she live long and prosper.