What a year it’s been.

I’m exhausted!

Doesn’t help that I started a new diet this week.

I’ve been struggling along on limited rations, and it’s affected my speech patterns I swear!

But then anything can affect your speech patterns. Lack of sleep, distractions like noisy special needs kids, all kinds of things can disrupt your speech patterns.

I guess it’s like a singer knowing that their voice isn’t in perfect form, that they’re not hitting all the right notes.

I feel like that when I’m not telling the stories perfectly, and the funny thing is it’s leading to a bit of anxiety.

Even when I play the ‘what if’ game right to its logical conclusion, it doesn’t really help.

I’m anxious about getting up in the morning to get to the presentation venue on time. Even though I’ve never slept in, alhamdu lillah, in the fifteen years I’ve been presenting, I’ve never overslept, but the fear of it is enough to disrupt my sleep.

And yet there were a few times when I was late. Once was when, ironically, a TDSB van backed into me and the accident, fender bender, took time to settle. That day also the 401 was jammed and I was significantly late to the venue. About an hour late.

The world did not end.


The people did not curse me either.

In fact all they did was cram the kids into the one session instead of the two. We worked around it.

One other time was because of a miscommunication. The lady had named her school, but not given me the address. I’d sent her the invoice with the address of the school on it and she had not said anything at all. There happened to be two schools by that name. One in Toronto’s west end, the other in Newmarket (about 45 minutes north). When I’d googled the school the first one that came up was the Newmarket school. I arrived there about an hour early. Sat in the car for about fifteen minutes just to chill, went inside and the staff looked at me like, “Huh? A presentation? Here?”

But then, they were SO helpful! The secretary searched on her own computer and we found the correct school! I called from there, and rushed down the 400 to try to get there in time.

Got there after the assembly had started but still in time to do my schtick. And it was agreed all round that it was the administrator’s fault for not checking the address on the invoice I’d sent her.

And other times I’ve always phoned if traffic has tied me up and I’m just down the street. Never been more than five or ten minutes late.

People were more than understanding!

Especially since I’d call to let them know.

And yet I keep remembering the time I visited a school and the librarian complained to me about this other storyteller I know. A storyteller, in fact, who had taught me some of the skills I have.

This librarian said how she’d arrived forty minutes late at the school, the kids had assembled in the gym, then waited so long, they sent them back to their classrooms. The storyteller arrived, no explanations, no apologies, demanded to know why the kids weren’t ready for her in the gym, did her presentation–which was wonderful–but short! She cut it short! Not even the full hour! And then waltzed out of there without so much as a, “I beg your pardon.”

I think the anxiety I feel is because I never want anyone to ever speak about me like that!

And I guess I can imagine too well them saying things like, “Oh that was so not worth it!”

So I always make sure I give the schools added value.

And yes, it makes me anxious.

Watched Postcards from the Edge tonight, and I’m starting to suspect that the creative fields seem prone to drug abuse because of this very type of anxiety that I’m experiencing. We artists know that the service we’re providing is ‘ethereal’. Not of a ‘concrete’ nature.

At least it’s not like a pile of beans, that you can say, “Yup, I paid for exactly five pounds of lentils and that’s what I’m getting!”

And every performance is unique, no matter how well rehearsed they are.

I think people are wound up so tight in this culture that taking intoxicants is a way to surrender their control over themselves so that for a little while, they’re not accountable.

How else can you explain the desire of so many young people not just to drink, but to get stinking drunk!?

Yup. Anxiety.

I’m so glad that Islam forbids alcohol and intoxicants. It means it’s not even an option, and instead what I’ve had to do is to develop other coping strategies, like getting to bed really really early on nights before I have to present.

And taking deep breaths. And every time I arrive on time, when I was afraid I’d be late, giving myself a little pep talk saying, “See? That wasn’t so bad! And even if you had been a bit late, it’s NOT the end of the world!”

Well, tomorrow night is the last presentation of the school year. And after that I can work on all the story ideas I have fluttering around in my head!

Looking forward to it!