Getting home late Friday night, well late for us as it was past 10, and getting out of the car to wheel up to our apartment, I had that old familiar feeling. I've been travelling and lecturing for many, many years now. Decades. I remember, once, being taken aside by someone who told me that I was a 'flash in the pan,' the 'flavour of the month' and that my presentations were shallow without much in the way of meaningful content. I still remember that. Funny, now nasty sticks. I've received many, many, powerful bits of positive feedback but, shit sticks.
I never, back then, would have predicted a career that spanned decades and a list of lecture topics that would grow and grow and grow. I never predicted that I would develop and deliver workshops to large groups of people with intellectual disabilities. I never predicted that I would train people with disabilities to train people with disabilities. None of it was planned it all just happened.
I know I've written about this before, I predict I will write about it again, but last night, getting home. Standing outside the car while Joe pulled my chair out of the back seat, unfolded it and rolled it over to me, I felt this kind of intense joy. Intense!! The sight of the chair, the realization that I'd just had a blast presenting for a full day, on stage, in front of an eager audience, the understanding that, I hadn't predicted this either.
Being disabled wasn't on the radar back then.
But then, neither was being married.
Or working as a director in an agency.
None of it was.
I stood there, years ago, as someone insulted me and my trainings and presumed to know what my future was. I allowed them to place fear into my heart about what was to come. They pictured me crashing and burning because I didn't have enough fuel to travel the distance.
And now I look to the future and all I see is distance yet to go ... and I'm grateful. I love doing what I do. I loved it standing up. I love it sitting down. I love it.
People let me do it.
People ask me to do it.
People pay me to do it.
The "flash in the pan," "flavour of the month," me is now wondering why I listened and why I worried. I know shit sticks. But I also know where the soap is. Maybe it's time, I got it out.