Over the years, there have been many people who have come in and out of my life who have influenced me. I was brought back to an influence in my life that I had forgotten. So let's go back to 1987. I was a junior in high school. It would be my last year at this school in California before we moved to Utah that summer. I had signed up for a public speaking class. I think mostly because I was so shy that the thinking was this class could help me to break out of that shell. What happened was, I really really enjoyed that class. And here is the heavily eye lined me way back then. And I especially love the upturned collar.
The teacher in the class would give us an assignment of a topic or two that we would prepare a speech for. We did a couple of debates, too. She taught us to speak clearly and without saying "like" and "um" while doing so. Which is difficult if you spoke Valley Girl. Which I kinda did. And you may notice that I still say "like" a lot. Sheesh. It's ingrained in my speaking! There was a boy in the class who always sat behind me. When we had to do an "interview" of someone in the class and then introduce that person, we chose each other. We got all of our info down and then, like, chatted. I told him I would be moving to Utah that summer and that my dad was going to get a car for me when we got there. He was totally into the car thing and so we talked about my choice of car. Honda Prelude. A red one. He said I would look good in it. Well of course. I mean, look at the heavy liner and feathered hair!! He would have been sorely disappointed at the Dodge Omni I got.
One of the the rules in the class was that while someone was speaking, everyone had to listen. And be respectful and to really be fair to people. We were all there to support one another. I never felt like I was out of place there or that I should be overly embarrassed about speaking. We were all pretty well acquainted by now and learning about each other was fun and interesting. This was a fun class full of friends and support.
Then a choice of topics came up to speak on. Share an embarrassing moment or read a children's story. So the teacher gave an example speech about an embarrassing moment. She was a well blossomed woman and shared an experience involving those blossoms. She was taking an aerobics class and wore a regular bra. Which had, like, 5 clasps on the back. During the class she was jumping and running and stuff and then it happened. The clasps broke. We laughed hysterically, because she was too. She talked about going the rest of that class without her bra in working order. I chose to read Where The Wild Things Are for my speech. It's my favorite. But her story, as well as others told by students, and really just this one class, really helped me learn a great lesson.
We are all people. As women, we all have bra clasps and sometimes those clasps break at the most inopportune times. I can get up in front of people and actually entertain them and give meaningful information and not be looked at as a complete moron. When you really listen to each other, even though you don't all know each other, you can learn a lot.
This teacher was a great influence on my love of public speaking. I don't do it a lot, but when I have the opportunity to teach, speak, or anything else in front of others, I find a great sense of fulfillment and peace in it. Under the influence of public speaking!