I had to present the department seminar today, the journal club of the plant labs, but postdocs present our current work. 

I have a lot of pain associated with the last few years as a postdoc. I’m trying not to dwell and I put together what I could in the time I had. But didn’t have much time to rehearse, which is really a problem for me. 

So when I went up to talk, I was nervous. I talked too quickly, I felt incoherent and on auto pilot. I felt completely disconnected from the audience, who were more than kind enough to listen to me.

Part of this is content related- I am not engaged with it, but I’m trying again, with all aspects of my life. I’m just not connecting well.

I wasn’t present in the moment. Something I struggle with even when I’m not speaking in front of ostensibly friendly audiences (I always feel on trial- even if that’s not the case). 

I felt like a stand up comedian bombing on stage. Comedians like to talk about their bombs once they get to a certain point. I guess I just haven’t reached it with presenting my work, or presenting at all. I do need to do it more often.


I still feel too often like I’m a mistake- an embarrassment of a human being. So whenever I’m in front of people or talking to them,  I have a high level of self-consciousness. I’ve felt that way for so long, I’m not sure how to change it even though I’m really trying to move past that mentality.

I am trying to show up. Be present. Do my work. And working on being compassionate to myself. 

That last part is probably the key to unlocking a lot of good things in life; passion for work, better relationships all stemming from actually liking myself. Which is a feeling I haven’t had for a long time. Be a presence.


Will I ever put things together and figure out how to get the true presents of life? Not stuff, but normal relationships, a meaningful job, a significant other, etc. Will I declare my presence here and do things because I want to, live in my own authentic way and not worry what others think. Not try to be invisible. Not have to be perfect.

Declaring that it’s OK for me to assert myself is a big step for me. Not feeling guilty. Blogging about things that matter. Learning something new every day. Being mindful. 

Be present.


Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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