Apparently, I’ve got the gift. The gift of gab, that is. I will talk your ear off, if you’ll let me. My story will start way back in 1988 and continue to 2014. And, even then (most likely) that story will have no point.
Talking is fun to me. I like to talk to people. I hate to talk in front of people.
But, really, hate is a strong word. Technically it’s not even the right word. I don’t hate it. I fear it. I fear I’ll look stupid. I fear I’ll sound stupid.
And, after last week’s ridiculous attempt at a Table Topic speech, I did what any sane person would do, I went ahead and
never showed up again joined Toastmasters.
So, today, instead of being an honored guest, I walked into Toastmasters as a fellow Toastmaster. Cool. Again, I sat down on that cold, hard chair, with sweat dripping down my back and told myself, “you don’t have to speak today. Speak when you’re ready. If that’s next week. That’s okay.”
I felt my face turn a nice shade of red and stomach started churning, as the Table Topics were announced. Last week’s fear settled right in my chest. I felt like I couldn’t breath. But, oddly enough, as time passed the topics seemed easy. Everyone was participating. And, just as soon as I had talked myself into it, I heard, ‘I’ll do one.” Whew. Close call. You almost embarrassed yourself again.
This is good. This is fine. We’ll run out of time soon. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel guilty not doing it. You did it last week.
Then, I heard, “I think we have time for another one.”
Everyone had given a speech, except me. The guilt was now bigger than my fear.
“Alright, I’ll do it.” I heard myself say.
And then people were clapping and cheering me on: “Yay!” “Good job, Kendra!” “We knew you’d do it again!” Dang. I can do this. I can do this. But, really… can I really do this?
So, here it was, in my face, my table topic: If you could go back and talk to yourself at the age of ten, what advice would you give yourself?
“Ok. Shoot. I wasn’t supposed to say ok,” I said as I paused. “Okay,” I said again, nervously, then I laughed.
“Um, I wouldn’t tell my 10-year-old self anything, because I can’t even remember much of my childhood at all. Not because it was awful or anything because It was awesome. And, so, anyway, instead of going back to ten, I would just go back to last week. When I was standing right here. When I couldn’t talk at all. And I would tell myself, “This isn’t so bad. Don’t be so scared. You can do this…”
And then I kept talking. Honestly, after that, I don’t remember what I said. I remember looking at everyone. I remember feeling nervous, but I kept talking. Then my head started feeling tingly. I glanced over at the time clock and it wasn’t green, but I didn’t stop talking this time. Then my lips started to tingle. I felt like I’d been standing there for longer than a minute. But, I hadn’t. Apparently, when I stand up to talk, time stands still.
My fingers felt tingly and my leg started to twitch, as I blurted out, “alright. I’m done” and I quickly threw myself in my seat.
Everyone clapped. I was embarrassed. Again. Less embarrassed than last week, but still embarrassed.
I ended table topics and it was time to vote for best speaker and best table topics. My hands were shaky and my head was spinning, as I quickly wrote two names and passed my sheet over. Just as the meeting wrapped up, I hear, “It’s time to announce the winners! And, the winner of best table topics is Kendra!”
Wait, whoa. What?! No. What? Me? I won? I won.
And, then, the president handed me this.
I got a ribbon! Those two things in that picture above are two things, two years ago, I never, ever, thought I could do. Or, ever wanted to do. Run 26.2 miles and speak in front of people (for fun).
I’m pretty sure I have this video to thank for that ribbon. I watched it right before I left for Toastmasters. Best video ever. Watch it.
Let’s punch fear in the ear, then that 4-star B won’t be able hear us. PS, I made up that word, 4-star B. Pretty awesome, huh?