I’m not exactly comfortable talking in front of crowds, which is why I am a blogger. It’s not you, it’s me. Don’t take it personally.
For someone who’s always been on the sidelines, public speaking feels like a firing squad. Your heart beats double time, your mouth goes dry, your throat closes up, fingers shaking, knees wobbling, your mind goes blank. The only thing left to do is to faint, if you’re lucky enough to get out of the room alive. It’s all a bad case of stage fright and let me tell you, the feeling is insane.
When I was a kid, I loved performing–singing, acting, and everything in between. But I guess it is way freakier to speak of your knowledge to an audience who are present to learn from you. Too much pressure, too much expectation, too much sweat and too much courage needed to make it work.
But like I said to the kids at the Blogging Seminar organized by the Youth Development Affairs (YDA) of the Provincial Government of Laguna, where I served as a resource speaker (for the first time ever in my life!), Blogging is Courage. If you have something to say, say it. I, too, should take my own advice. I advocate for digital tools as method and perspective for social transformation and if I want to be heard, I have to speak up. On and offline.
The YDA advocates social media awareness among the youth to encourage them in promoting the province and its culture, heritage and vision for a progressive province. I stood in front of a roomful of various youth organizations talking about one of the things that I just can’t articulate enough what means to me. It’s like trying to explain why you are on Facebook. Or why you belong to a particular organization. Or why you believe in a specific advocacy. You just do.
My presentation involved some guidelines in blogging, examples and how to reflect on the stories they (prospective bloggers) want to write about. Believe it or not, I didn’t crash and burn (or at least to me. I haven’t read the evaluation forms yet!). Instead, I enjoyed the session and transformed the experience from a terrifying one to an opportunity in extending my personal advocacy.
The whole experience was fulfilling and challenging at the same time. Fulfilling because, in some way, I was able to relay my thoughts on how to start expressing their thoughts and feelings through blogs. Hopefully, the participants learned something. Even if it’s just stimulating their interest to venture into writing online or as huge as synthesizing our session and establish their own digital presence. Challenging, on the other hand, because I want to harness this skill. I wanted to discuss blogging in a very dynamic and relatable manner–in a way that the participants will find themselves motivated and inspired. Perhaps, this is the first step–actually putting yourself out there and learn from the experience.
I am already proud of the kids–the mere fact that they took time to attend this seminar already says something about their interest and abilities, and more importantly, their vision for social change.
I would like to thank the YDA for organizing this event in fostering the power of digital tools for social change among the youth of Laguna. Not only did you help the kids realize their potential as voices for social transformation, but you have also supported someone like me in championing my advocacy and conquering my fears.