The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “bullying”

First Icebreaker Speech

7-13-11

I sat anxiously in my chair, waiting for the jokes and table topics to come to an end.  I was nervous, and I hoped I wouldn’t forget my speech.  It was a little over a 1000 word speech and I had practiced it enough to where I could give it without looking at any notes.  While practicing I worked on using my hands and using some vocal variety.  I wrote my speech basically all in one night, which is when I seem to do my best work when it comes to creativity, and tweaked it the next few days.

Before I left to give my speech, I reminded myself of something I’d read before.  I told myself, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.”  I think a lot of us who are slightly introverted or shy or any sort of combination of the two get caught up in perfection sometimes, and it’s important to remind ourselves that it’s ok to make mistakes or that it’s ok if everything doesn’t go the way we want it to.

As I was being introduced, I felt more nervous than I have been in a long time.  I thought after telling jokes to the club, leading table topics, and participating in table topics that the speech wouldn’t be that hard, but it is surprisingly still the hardest thing.

I think part of the reason why I was so nervous for the speech was because I decided to take a risk with it.  I made my speech extremely personal, and in doing so allowed myself to be very vulnerable.  But I figured that what I was opening up about would allow them to get to know me a lot better than if I simply talked about my hobbies or interests.

While giving my speech to the club, I looked down once or twice at my notes even though I didn’t have to.  I guess it was out of nervous habit, and to make sure I stayed on track.  I spoke a little fast and didn’t keep eye contact with one person for an extended period of time like I could have, but I looked around the room at each person.   There were some smiles and laughs at the humorous parts of my speech, and some surprised and concerned faces as I talked about some of the serious parts of my speech.  At one point talking about shyness and bullying I felt myself get a little emotional, but I kept it under control.

I can’t believe I was able to give a public speech about shyness and bullying, those are things I’ve rarely talked about, let alone given a speech on.  I knew it was a risk talking about that because I’ve always gotten emotional, but I was able to do it.

During the break, Marcy told me that I did a really good job on the speech.  Phyllis came to talk to me about how people like that may be on top of the totem pole then, but after middle school and high school the people who were once on the bottom come to the top.  Larry told me he was really impressed because I really made myself vulnerable, and that’s something that takes years for people to be able to do with public speaking.  He said it was really incredible.

My evaluator, Saeed, gave me a good evaluation at the end of the meeting.  He recapped to the club that I talked about being a young kid with my two brothers, improving my weaknesses, being in many clubs, and being the director of Global Projects in SAGE.  He said I have made several huge achievements for a young lady and accomplished goals very beautifully.  He said how I was viewed as a shy lady and a shy kid, and how I’ve learned that none of these are barriers.  “You proved to everyone that you are not shy, you are a courageous woman.”  His critique was that I should slow down, which takes a bit of the nervousness out.  He mentioned that I didn’t use notes, so I could have walked around instead of staying in one place mostly.  He ended it by saying, “I can see you’re going to be a star.”

It was very nice, and I appreciated his feedback.  The timer said that my speech was 4 minutes and 7 seconds, which made me feel kind of bad because when I practiced it had been about 5 minutes each time.  I didn’t have any ahs or ums though, so that’s good.  I did dwell on the speaking too fast part though, as Larry and Don had said that to me too and I wondered if anything I said even made sense or if I had just messed up my whole speech.  I worked so hard on it, and it meant so much to me since it was so personal, that I hated to think that I had messed it up by speaking too fast.  For once after Toastmasters I didn’t feel the best.

To wrap things up, Marcy gave the master evaluation.  When speaking of me, she mentioned again how she was terrified of public speaking at my age.  She said she felt inspired watching my speech, and was sure the others did too.  She even said that she can see a future leader here.

On another note, I had my dad record my icebreaker speech.  After watching the video, I felt a lot better about my speech and realized that my speed was fine and that everything I said was still clear.  I’m really glad he took the video because otherwise I would have thought I did a lot worse than I actually did.

Only Seeing the Tip of the Iceberg

There was a deep and honest discussion today in 6th period that ended up continuing all period.  Apparently an event called “Challenge Day” occurred yesterday and two of the students in our class had participated in it and were reporting back.  Basically about 100 students were selected and they each had to talk about their troubles and things that were going on in their life that others probably didn’t know about but would help others understand you better.  The boys reported that everyone thought it was kind of a joke at first but after a while they realized it was serious and learned more about why some people act the way the do, especially some of the meaner people they didn’t get along with before.  They learned why they might act mean and more about what was going on underneath the personality they displayed to others.

Our teacher drew a picture of an iceberg on the whiteboard and sectioned off a really tiny piece at the top and said that was the part we showed to others, our personality.  The rest, the majority of ourselves, was underneath the surface and was what he considered to be our character.  Most of us show very little of our true selves and we are mostly judged on that teeny portion that is above the surface.

The boys said the biggest message they wanted to share was to be open-minded about others because you don’t know what they’re going through underneath the surface.  They talked about name calling a bit and labels a while too.  Our teacher had us raise our hands if we’d ever been talked down to or called something you didn’t like by a guy, and then by a girl, and nearly everyone raised their hands for both.  He explained why people do that and why they call you something you don’t like or pick on you.  He said if you’re the one being picked on, then the others in that group join in because they think “at least we’re safe” and at least the focus isn’t on them.

I can definitely see that being true and I thought of my 6th grade experience where I was the one being singled out and picked on by the group I was with.  The people in that group didn’t want to be the one targeted so once one of them started picking on me the others added to it and continued it all year. They were really just acting out of insecurity though if you think about it, and it wouldn’t have mattered what I did or what I liked or how I acted, they still probably would have done the same to me for the purpose of making themselves feel safe.  One of the girls who was a part of that group and the one who did the most betrayal and hurt to me is in that class awkwardly enough, and I glanced at her when the teacher was talking about that and wondered if she was thinking of how she had acted that way in middle school.  It’s hard to tell though because she acts like nothing ever happened between us and I never got any sort of admittance about it or an apology.  But oh well, I’ve moved on.

Another thing the boys brought up was compliments actually.  At the challenge day event the instructor was telling people to compliment pretty girls or something like that instead of seeing a pretty girl and making assumptions about her that she is a slut or whatever else people often think.  This sparked a debate and one girl said that she would not want to compliment a pretty girl especially if she knew she was pretty because she wouldn’t want to fill her head with air and she doesn’t like cocky people.  Another girl said she would compliment a pretty girl.  Then one guy brought up that if you compliment one girl and tell her she’s pretty but then don’t compliment the girls next to her then it can hurt their feelings, so he thinks it would be better to not compliment them at all otherwise you’d have to compliment everyone then and tell them that they’re all pretty.  It was an interesting and lengthy discussion. After class I walked out with the same guy and a few other of our classmates and we talked about the compliment thing some more.  I said to avoid the hurt feelings it would probably be best to compliment peope’s outfits or things they do well on rather than complimenting their personal looks.  If someone is wearing a fancier top or did really well on a test or something it’s easier to compliment that than something more general, and if there are others around it’s probably good to try and think of some nice things to say to them too.  One girl said that she dressed up nice one time and her friend dressed up nice too, but only her friend got compliments all day and no one said anything to her, so she felt kind of hurt and felt that she looked nice too.  So compliments can be tricky I suppose, but I think the main thing to remember is to be aware of others and try to spread the love so people don’t feel left out.

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