I rejoined Toastmasters a couple of months ago for completely social reasons. I have no desire to write speeches right now but I’m having a hell of a lot of fun with the group.
Tonight I chaired the meeting and I chose the theme of World Champions because the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking is coming up in a mere 21 days and I am super psyched because I am GOING. And the meeting was totally fluid and super fun. Great speakers, great questions, great energy. I felt like I was riding a wave most of the night.
I started off the meeting talking about the various very ODD World Champs that are out there, like the World Champions of:
Hide and Seek (they still haven’t found the winner)
Rock, Paper Scissors
and my favourite Air Sex. Yep. lol
And in this little opening speech I was going to mention that I am actually the 1990 World’s Nude Freestyle Dance Champion. I wanted to mention it because
a. I want it all to be a part of me
b. I feel old enough and far enough removed from my former career (14 years) that I think it would be telling that anyone defined me by it anymore
c. I think it’s pretty damned interesting and I actually feel proud of my accomplishments in that world
But you know what? When the time came, I actually chickened out. I did. And I kept wondering how or if I would fit that little tidbit into the meeting.
And at the very end, after riding that wave for over an hour I thought I’d close with it and I did. I just slipped it in and WHAT a response from my audience! They LOVED it.
I didn’t turn red, I owned it. A couple of people asked me about it afterwards and we had a quick little chat and now, that’s just a part of Paula, along with the fact that she’s a redhead, she owns Head Start Public Speaking For Kids, used to be a Christian, and is generally quite loud.
I thought about it and contrasted it with the first time I was in Toastmasters.
It took me TWO YEARS to get up the nerve to say the word ‘stripper’ and I glossed over it quickly in one speech and NEVER MENTIONED IT AGAIN. It was like ripping off some kind of bandaid but pretending the wound never happened.
The fear I felt of being judged then was SO real, and I know it was partly because of the conservative company I was keeping. I was in the thick of Catholicism then and still felt that I had to distance myself from my past to legitimize myself as a human being.
Tonight there was a tiny twinge of fear at the beginning of the meeting there. And that’s where I initially held back. But a desire to OWN myself, my past, my glorious life, prevailed. And it felt SO GOOD to be her! To be me. I felt like a World Champ.