This post is a bit of a “pinch me” moment. I shared the good news on Instagram earlier this week, but I’m so, SO excited to share here that I’ll be speaking at this year’s Pittsburgh Humanities Festival at the end of the month!
I honestly still can’t believe that this is real – that this is actually happening. I guess I now get the Taylor Swift reaction of pure shock at a win? Each year, the Cultural Trust here holds an “open call” for people who are interested in speaking at the Festival. I know public speaking scares some people (and I’m not trying to say that I’m not nervous!), but it’s something that I actually enjoy. It’s a chance to share my story, and to connect with people – I view it as a conversation of sorts, albeit a bit one-sided. I try to focus my energy into excitement, rather than nerves.
So when I saw the announcement for this year’s open call, I knew that I wanted to apply. It all goes back to making those connections for me – the biggest and best thing that my blog + Instagram have done for me is helping me connect to an amazing community online. I’ve gotten so, so much from those connections, so I look for any chance to connect with other in that same way, because I know how powerful and important it is.
But the fact that I actually won?! I’m ecstatic, so excited, and a little bit terrified (but convincing myself that the butterflies are the good kind). The Cultural Trust is such an iconic part of Pittsburgh, and I just can’t believe that I get the chance to take part in something that they’re putting on. I’m so, so grateful for the opportunity.
So I’m looking forward to sharing my story. I’ll be talking about disability, identity, and my own personal experiences moving from trying to downplay my disability, to accepting it, to embracing it as a vital part of me and who I am. I’ll be sharing stories from my life, and talking about what happened to cause these shifts in me and my views around my disability. And, if it wasn’t clear, I’ll be talking about how finding my community helped me find my power. But of course, I don’t want to give too much away!
If you’re in Pittsburgh, I would love for you to come see me! My session is Sunday, March 27 at 3 PM at the Trust Arts Education Center. My session is part of the Core Conversation series, and tickets for the whole series are just $10 (or $5 if you’re a student)! I’d love to have the chance to meet some of you, and the whole lineup looks really amazing, too. I hope to see you there!