Tomorrow is the disability in the workplace event in the radio and I managed to prepare a short speech. I decided at the end it needs to be about my own experience, as I don’t even know people with other disabilities (I don’t really know people without disabilities either), and that then made it very easy to decide what to say: I want to tell about two of my favourite jobs from the past: door to door sales of broadband services that I did in Poland for a few months when I was 26, and live in carer that I did in my early 30s shortly after I moved to the UK.
That fits the situation the best because what I can then say is that if I knew that I’m autistic I’d assume I won’t be able to cope in any of those two and possibly I’d even be discouraged by other people from applying, all because of misconceptions about autism.
What was really helpful when I was selling broadband services was that I saw my job as giving people access to information, but also, as it was a new service people were really eager to sign up and were very friendly, but unfortunately after a few months most people already had it so we stopped earning money and I had to look for another job.
I already discussed working as a live in carer on the blog, but I can quickly say that the fact I had to adjust to other people rules as I was staying in their houses didn’t bother me at all.
So it’s not like I don’t know what to say. I didn’t write it all down, I only have a few bullet points, I am also not trying to prepare by speaking to myself as I realised, if I want to become lived experience speaker, I need to be spontaneous. I will only drive myself crazy if I try to memorise speech after speech. I am however asking myself that question, how come I was able to spontaneously give various information about my autistic experience to that therapist who interviewed me over a Zoom call that lasted over an hour but I am fretting over a 5 minutes speech on a subject I chose myself.
I do not think it is about lack of confidence. It does come to my mind that giving a speech in front of an audience is a bit like speaking to myself but with others looking at me. And the feature of speaking to myself is that the speech can be totally chaotic but no one will care – so now I have in my head the image of myself speaking in a chaotic manner but in front of people who are giving me their undivided attention.
All of that just doesn’t make any sense.
I did try Google search of Public speaking for autistics and I didn’t find anything that would address my fears.
Anyway, I am not memorising anything, tough. In case I’ll fail, what would be a better place for it than a disability positive event?
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