I'm trying hard to keep my heart from overflowing.SPOILER ALERT
Today I've had the pleasure to see exactly the one TED session with Amanda ("Disrupt!") in a TED Live stream at the CERN main auditorium. After some performances ranging from great (Alastair Parvin) to poor (Sergey Brin), host Chris Anderson announced AFP via snippets of her performances (including a piano solo from the new Bed Song video).
When Amanda began to speak, I felt incredibly nervous. Having closely followed her TED story unravel, from her blog entry and comments to an inexhaustible array of tweets, I knew she was in fact up there with all of her friends, fans and supporters: "i want you guys to be a part of the whole process", she had written in January, and she held true to her word. Armed with inspiration and props that this wonderful community had provided, Amanda shared her personal journey from her early "living statue" earnings through major label days to independence and kickstarter, featuring her couchsurfing, crowdsurfing, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding experiences, her emotions and difficulties, culminating in a passionate plea for more trust among ourselves, and how to let
rather than make
people support each other.
But it was much more than that.
Some people at TED are giving amazing speeches. Some of them captivate you with awesome rhetoric skills and a well-crafted message (like Lawrence Lessig who came right after Amanda). But what made this one so special was Amanda's heartfelt emotion in it. She was not giving a presentation about
something awesome, she was actually living it, reaching out and forging connections. The moments when her eyes welled with genuine tears of gratitude and admiration for us fellow humans were not the only giveaway.
The intensity increased, and whenever she paused I thought that this dramatic moment would mark the end of her talk. You know the third part of the LOTR movie trilogy, when one "ending" follows another, until you feel like it stretches forever? (Mind you, I say that as a huge admirer of all things Tolkien!) Now Amanda's talk wasn't ending that quickly either, with the big difference that it kept getting better and better - four, five times I breathed a sigh of relief when she went on, and I held my breath again as she continued to deliver her message. Until finally Amanda bowed gracefully and almost whispered "thank you". And even that was not the common disconnecting "wham bam thank you ma'am" kind that so many speakers utter in the end, as if saying "I've done my part and you've done your part and now we're gonna part" - no, I think that's when she actually connected to her audience the most.
For the rest of the day I felt like floating. I still do.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that this was indeed the most inspiring TED talk I've ever seen.
(Even taking into account all the awesome talks I have found through the AFP blog comments!)
Beautiful content, beautiful speech, beautiful heart-mind.
Thank you Amanda!