Advocacy, Multiple sclerosis, What was I thinking?

Getting the word out

It’s harder than it seems.

I shouldn’t have a problem with public speaking, particularly when the topic is something I’m passionate about like multiple sclerosis.

But here I was, amid fellow MSers, activists and lawmakers, at a loss for what to say. The event was a Legislative Luncheon at the state Capitol, put together by the indefatigable staff at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to educate legislators about multiple sclerosis and put a constituent face on the disease.

Introductions are the toughest.

Hi, I’m Jennifer. And you are?

What is your connection to multiple sclerosis?

I have multiple sclerosis and would like to briefly share my story.

Have you tried the cranberry cookies? They are the best.

I managed a few conversations, but mostly clung on to other Q&As already in progress like they were a life preserver and I a drowning girl.

Social butterfly I am not.

And when I get flustered, I tend to say the absolute wrong thing.

Such as talking to Shane Broadway like he is still in office instead of the new interim head of the Higher Ed department.

I mean, I work at a newspaper, for Christ’s sake. I put the story online about Jim Purcell leaving and Broadway taking over.

Certainly, I can work more on staying on message. And making small talk.

I hate small talk. Because I am terrible at it. Just utterly useless.

But, as with anything, it takes practice.

I was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I couldn’t walk and so we went to the hospital, where my diagnosis came fairly quickly, which in the world of MS makes me pretty lucky. Have you tried the cranberry cookies? Really, they are delightful.


8 thoughts on “Getting the word out”

  1. At least you didn’t tell them that you like turtles. Hey, I’m proud of you for finding the voice to speak. It takes a lot of courage and I know that’s something that you have, whether you know it or not.

  2. i’m super proud of you just for going. i’m thinking of a change in career and location …. i could come be your personal public speaker. lol. love ya girly!

  3. You were great! Debbie even told me so today on the phone. Thank you so much for coming and taking part in MS Activism!

    1. Jessica is telling the truth. You have the passion Jennifer and we need you! You have a way with words and not just written words. I enjoyed you taking part in the conversation I was having at the luncheon, so keep on keeping on. And yes it takes practice and the best way to learn is to join in with those already in progress conversations. Trust me, it’s not easy for me either. I just remember why I am there and I make myself initiate conversations! I even said things like…I am introducing myself while you are eating so you have to listen to me. Believe it or not, that got laughs. Just remember, people are there because they want to find out more. We are the way to get that information to them and we are there for all those with MS that can’t be there. So pat yourself on the back because you are great!

  4. Cool Jennifer! I’m going to one of those soon. I think you just gave me an orientation! It cool that you are active with MS.It took me 11 years To get this far; blogging and attending legislative events ! nicole

  5. Great for you, Jenn! Jennifer and I always encourage members of our group to be their own best advocates, and you are living it, my friend! Thanks for making your voice heard for so many of us living with this stupid disease. You rock!

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