Today I gave my first speech to a group of people not in a classroom. I was terrified about giving this speech. It didn’t help any that I woke up late and had to rush either. When I got to school I took smoke before I headed in, I still had a couple of minutes left before things got started. I get down to the garden room where they are holding the Normandale Retiree’s Luncheon. I had gotten a scholarship from their foundation and I was asked to speak to the donors. I checked in and went to speak to Jane who had helped me work on the speech I was giving. I asked “If she had added the photographs for the end of my speech.” She told me she did, that took a little stress off me but not much.
I thanked her and she introduced me to her boss. Then they encouraged me to do some hobnobbing with some of the people. I hate these types of situations where I know next to no one in the room. I am not normally the type of person that can just start up conversations. I was happy to see two of my bosses there that gave a bit more confidence. I talked with Chris and Amy for a couple of minutes then proceeded to seat myself. The people at my table were decent people, they asked me a few questions about my experiences and I chimed in where I felt it was appropriate. This did calm me a bit more but I was still so nervous I couldn’t even eat. The first speaker went up it was the President of Normandale Dr. Joyce Ester, then came Colleen Simpson the Executive Director of the Normandale Foundation. The Jane came up and introduced the first Speaker Na. I though her speech was very well put together. She did not seem to stumble or fall, not that I would wish that on anybody.
Then Jane went up to the podium again and introduced me. My stomach was in knots, I so wanted to run for the door as I was heading for the podium. I get up their and I start of fine a couple of hiccups but nothing to bad until I got to the part that inspired me to go back to school.
About 3 ½ years ago I saw a story that changed the way I look at life. I saw The story of Malala Yousefzia a young woman who spoke out against the Taliban in Pakistan, so that young women can have the right to an education. She was also shot for her courageous act. This young woman’s story made me ask myself what have I done with my life. This young woman has risked her life for a cause that is noble. What cause would I risk my life for? I wanted to help other people understand other cultures in order to breed a sense of peace in this country and around the world. I went to the VA not knowing If I was qualified for any benefits and found out that my depression was partially service related. So. I was able to get the psychological help I needed. I was part of group and individual counseling.
I started to cry.
I am not sure why it was that telling this story brought me to tears. I have told it so many times before. Maybe it was drudging through my past before this story, then going in to the story, or maybe it was because of how nervous I was, or maybe my depression went onto overdrive for a couple of minutes that set me off. What ever it was I was able to get a hold of my emotions and finish the paragraph. I then went in to my accomplishments since I have been at Normandale. I was also able to crack a couple of jokes near the end about how if they looked around the school they would probably see my picture in a few. Though I had longer and brightly colored hair, then let them know I like to die my hair when I have it, while rubbing my bald head. I finished my speech by sharing a few of my favorite Photos I have taken.
These were from the March for Science:
These are from the Minnesota River Valley Wild Life Refuge:
I was the last speaker of the day. Everyone told me I did well, though it did not feel like that to me. It was because of my minor breakdown that I did not feel it went well. One person told me the first time they gave a speech they ended up vomiting. That made me feel just a little bit better, We then proceeded to take photos with the group.
This was definitely an experience I will not forget. Yes it had its ups and downs, but I am still glad I got myself out of my comfort zone. My Psychologist will be happy to hear that tomorrow.