As you are reading these words, I won’t be in my cosy cabin in Vermont anymore. I’ll be in Atlanta for the 10th edition of VOA, the largest gathering of voice over talent in the world! How cool is that?!
But can I be honest with you? While 70 percent of me is excited about seeing all my friends again, 30 percent is apprehensive and insecure. Here are a few things I’m afraid of when I think about VO Atlanta.
One: I’m afraid I’m going to lose my voice.
Voice overs LOVE to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. As you know, speaking is not a problem for me, but having to constantly raise my voice in crowds in order to have a normal conversation is not something I look forward to at all, especially because I’m not only there to socialize. I’m there to present and be part of panels. I’m there to do a job for which I’m being paid.
Two: I’m afraid I won’t recognize people I’m supposed to know.
Like Stephen Fry, I suffer from prosopagnosia or face blindness. It happened after my stroke, and it leads to socially awkward situations, especially because I do have my moments of clarity.
So, if I don’t recognize you immediately, don’t take it personally. My brain just can’t put two and two together, sometimes.
Three: I’m worried about my misophonia, another post-stroke “gift” that has never gone away.
People with misophonia get triggered by certain sounds, and by “triggered” I mean it activates their fight or flight response in an extreme way. Sounds like people chewing can drive me nuts. It’s completely irrational, I know.
Four: I don’t know if my mind is going to be able to handle all the external stimuli a conference brings.
After my stroke, going into a supermarket had my brain go into overload. It just couldn’t process all the stimuli. So, if you see me go to my room, it doesn’t mean I want to be anti-social. It means I need to take a mental and physical break.
And five, I am afraid I’m not going to live up to your expectations of me, and my expectations of myself. I don’t want to disappoint you, and I don’t want to disappoint myself. But I already know I’m not going to be able to talk to all the people I want to talk to, simply because there isn’t enough time and there are too many people.
I know I’m not going to remember everything I want to say to you during my presentations, and that’s why you’ll see me using cheat sheets. Remember, my stroke took away part of my brain and that’s never coming back. It means my memorizations skills are down the drain and I get easily confused.
But all of that is not going to stop me from having the time of my life! All I ask of you is to please take me as I am.
Weaker, but not defeated. Overwhelmed at times, but enjoying the moment nevertheless.
I want you to see the real me (in 3 D), and not the person you think I am, based on a few Instagram videos, and on what you’ve read from me. I’ll do my very best to live up to your highest expectations, but if I fail, it’s not for lack of trying. I promise.
Please don’t let all of this stop you from connecting with me. I want to look you in the eye, give you a hug or a hand perhaps, and celebrate the fact that we’re together again as a crazy community of people who love to talk for a living.
I can’t wait to meet you!