I’m Competing Next Saturday In A Speech Contest

whenever i start working on this particular speech. this speech that i’m doing for a series of contests. this speech that won THAT club contest and that may or may not win the next level of the toastmasters international speech contests, my stomach starts flipping.

the fuck.

OUT.

one of the things that happened while i was competing, in both the international speech AND the evaluator contests, is that i was flipping. the fuck. OUT. and that meant that my stomach was doing that butterfly thing. and that i was sweating ALL OVER. and i found it very difficult to focus. at all. i was shaking almost the ENTIRE NIGHT. even after awards were given and representation confirmed, i was high for hours. and then i crashed for DAYS. because this contest? well, it was similar to how i felt when i used to audition ALL THE TIME. back when i danced.

y’know, professionally.

not with a pole so much as scraping by in that weird modern contemporary way with lots of white make up and silky kimonos and excruciatingly slow movement. there were some auditions that were more stressful and somehow OVERWHELMING then others.

like when i auditioned for disney and frankly didn’t give a rat’s ass (oh, HA!) if i got the internship or not, i went all the way to finals, did the interviews, and got an offer. to go be goofy for six months at disney world.

i turned it down.

or when i auditioned for shen wei dance arts which is one of my most favorite major dance companies EVAR and I freaked the fuck out and couldn’t even do a single pirouette. or, y’know, jump higher than a grasshopper. or stop shaking. or remember to breathe.

because i got in my own way.

this is where i am as i try to prep for the area contest which is on saturday afternoon 25 march in zwolle.

with a butterfly stomach.

and a sour taste in the back of my throat.

my hope is that i won’t get in my own way. that i’ll remember to breathe. that i’ll accept the shaking and the butterfly stomach and the sour taste in the back of my throat as Things That Are Happening and push through to deliver an excellent performance anyway.

my hope is that i’ll do the best that i can and learn from mistakes made at the club level.

like how i waited until the night of the competition to write down anything for the speech even though i had thought about it for months before. and how i froze up PHYSICALLY and didn’t use the stage space NEARLY as well as I have in the past and instead simply stood in one spot for the entire speech. and how i completely panic’d when i saw the green card indicating that i had spoken long enough and wrapped up the speech in two seconds flat.

like how i’m holding my breath RIGHT NOW as i remember that night.

in the meantime, i need to think about what i’m going to wear because at a certain point, what you wear is as important as the content of your speech. as important as the delivery of the speech. as important as using the stage space. as important as gestures and breathing and vocal variety and organization and all the rest.

this is what i’m thinking about today. and if you have any thoughts, of praise or improvement or otherwise, shoot them over. because i’m obviously a bit in my own way.

and it’s time to get out of there so i can fly.

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  • Jerry Brockman

    Oh my friend. How I wish I could be in Zwolle on the 25th, sitting in the crowd, giving you the thumbs up and the cheesy thousand-watt grin as you absolutely CRUSH this thing. Like ya do. Not that I’m discounting the butterflies. Or the sour taste. Or the shaking. ‘Cause those are things that happen, not just to you but many. But, that just takes me back to that other thing, about you CRUSHING it. Like ya do. Huge love to you!

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