Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, January 12, 2009


It's really odd when one's past and one's present collide.

Back in September 2005 I attended a Railway Heritage conference in Tamworth NSW and gave a presentation about what happens when a railway line is stripped and used as a public walk trail. It was called "Railways as an Archaeological Resource: Relics, Recognition and Reuse".

Part of the conference package was that attendees were to receive a copy of the written version of the papers presented at the conference. I chose not to turn mine into a paper - it was a great presentation but as it was only observations and heritage & conservation commentary I decided it wasn't substantial enough for a paper. I was still supposed to get copies of the other papers, but I'd completely forgotten about it.

Since that conference, I've moved states and changed careers. So it was extremely weird to get a call from the organiser at the University of New England (New England NSW, not New England in the USA), wanting to find out my current postage details so that they could send me my copy of the papers! I'm sitting here in a small town with one more uni degree and a year's teaching experience, and this ghostly hand reached out from my archaeology past to give me something I'd forgotten I was getting. Most peculiar!

Giving that presentation was one of my earliest steps on the road to healing, too. I was terrified of public speaking throughout my undergrad uni days - I got used to it, sure, but I never liked it. Offering to do a conference paper was so out of my depth that I wondered if I'd gone mad. But I wanted that opportunity. I was sick with nerves beforehand, and I was trembling so much when I started that I wasn't sure I could hold the laser pointer steady enough for it to be any use . . . but my presentation worked. I was talking about railways to a room full of railways buffs, which has got to have helped :D They laughed when I wanted them to laugh, they were very interested in what I was talking about, and they used up the entire question time afterwards asking me stuff (and stuff I could answer, too!) and just discussing what they'd seen. It was a true "oh wow!" moment for me, when I finally began to have some sense of myself as existing outside of my insecurities. I must find out sometime whether the video that was taken on the day is available. I'd like to be able to watch that and remember how much courage that day took, and how far I've come since then.

These days, get me in front of an audience and I'll never shut up :)


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