Susan Bremer O’Neill
“Self Appeal not Sex Appeal to Embrace Your Sexual Body – Watch HERE.
3rd Annual TEDxWilmingtonWomen: Showing Up // 30 November 2018

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Susan Bremer O'Neill for TEDxWilmingtonWomen

Meet the Speakers: Susan Bremer O’Neill for TEDxWilmingtonWomen

Now, my entire lifetime, or at minimum twenty-plus years of experience, education, and knowledge, must be distilled into ten minutes. Ten minutes! That’s approximately 1,250 words, my speaking coach tells me. Unfortunately, I’m wordy. My memoir is over 108,000 words. I also suffer from perfectionism. I could obsess for weeks over every “a” or “an.” Fortunately, there are deadlines to meet. These will keep me moving forward in spite of myself.

Regardless of deadlines though, every day responsibilities still have to be attended to: our six rescue animals need to be fed and walked, my husband’s lunch packed, and we still have to eat dinner and clean up afterwards. All of this is getting done, but in the back of my mind the importance of honing my script lurks. I’m waking up at 2am before I go to my part-time job and at 4am when I don’t have to be up at all. I’ve recorded my talk, typed it up, gotten feedback from my coach, rewritten, rerecorded it as it was written, then taken that structure and rerecorded it ad libbed so it sounds more natural. I listened to that and rewrote the script.

Dreaming is easy. My major accomplishments, writing a book and producing a DVD, started with a dream that evolved into tasks that took more time and energy than I originally imagined. I do love a good challenge though, and I’ve always been deadline driven. Just like those accomplishments, this test of my dedication and perseverance will be rewarded in numerous ways I’m certain. However, I don’t think I’ll completely relax until after November 30, after I give my talk at TEDxWilmingtonWomen.

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the TEDx process: Susan Bremer O’Neill for TEDxWilmingtonWomen

At this stage of the TEDxWilmington process I am fairly relaxed, which I find quite remarkable. The lines are written, the phrases memorized, and now it’s just a matter of practicing again and again and again. I’ve rehearsed in the shower, listening to the radio, while I’m preparing food, in my head in the morning before I get out of bed (silently so as not to wake my husband). I’ve done it in front of the mirror pretending to have an audience (but when I caught my eyes looking back at myself, I got distracted.) I’ve practiced in front of my coach who gave me some excellent stage direction and who, I’m sure, before the actual big unveiling in front of the audience, will be absolutely bored and who will have it memorized also. I’ve done it for a male friend who gave me excellent feedback although it is a personal woman’s topic, and I have given it for a mixed group of fellow open-mic artists who offered applause and suggestions. I’ve lined myself up to give part or all of it at least four more times.

I’m becoming more able to embody the talk and feel it. My passion is returning. I’ve wanted to deliver this message for many years.

If I’m to be truthful, I only have one concern—timing. The allotted ten-minute time slot isn’t long. When I read it on camera for the TEDxWilmington speaker curation committee, it was under ten minutes. But when I practice, sometimes it goes over that time. Being a woman who abides by rules this bothers me, however, my coach tells me not to worry. For now, I won’t.

Today I will relax, and think about my appearance, the fun part. Now I get to shop for new clothes!

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TEDxWilmington SusanBONeillReflecting: Susan Bremer O’Neill for TEDxWilmingtonWomen

I spent, at minimum, two hours every day revising, researching, talking through, rehearsing, getting feedback, and visualizing my TEDx talk. When not working on it, it hovered as if a drone buzzing me. Everything else in my life took a back seat to preparing for the few minutes I would have in the spotlight. At least one hundred twenty hours went into preparation.

When I finally walked onto the stage in front of a live audience world-wide, although extremely nervous beforehand, I relaxed. I’d practiced, I’d prepared, and I’d prayed. I moved through my script with ease, pausing naturally when words didn’t come quickly allowing them to bubble to my consciousness.

Then I messed up.

The very last line didn’t spill out as I’d hoped, and I knew it right away. Fortunately, instructions for blanking and the camaraderie of twenty-six speakers I’d grown close to during rehearsal and event day, assured me. I paused. The audience clapped. I started the line over.

I was able to recover—twice! Yes, the line came out wrong again, but the world at large will never know because of video editing. Those who witnessed though, congratulated me on how well I’d managed.

This ability to stay calm and continue is a direct result of being supported fully and continually through the entire process. The TEDxWilmington tribe and specifically Ajit George who founded TEDxWilmington, kept me on track with deadlines, feedback, and day-of hand holding when I obsessed about my hair and makeup. Their unyielding support enabled me to craft a talk I’m very proud of, and to form bonds and deep respect for everyone involved. I am humbled and ever so grateful to everyone and to know and have taken the stage with other amazing, inspiring people.

Watch Susan Bremer O’Neill’s TEDx talk HERE.

TEDxWilmingtonWomen 2018, Photograph by Alessandra Nicole


Susan Bremer O’Neill, author, speaker, coach and Self Appeal® founder, took an unconventional journey to self-respect and self-love. At thirty five she got sober, left her science career and became an exotic dancer. Her unique experience is chronicled in her memoir, From Sex Appeal to Self Appeal. Since then, for twenty years, she’s been a champion for women to build greater confidence and esteem and produced the woman-friendly DVD, Striptease for Real Women, to help them embody playful sensuality. Susan has spoken at San Francisco Bay Area universities, women’s groups, retreats, and recovery facilities. She’s been interviewed on Fox News and localmedia. Her writing has been featured in Flesh for Fantasy, Men’s Health, Gauntletand a SFSU course reader. READ MORE

3rd Annual TEDxWilmingtonWomen: Showing Up // 30 November 2018
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