Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I was running for 6th grade Class President

the last time I gave a 'speech'. I lost. I've spoken to audiences before, men and women but this was a formal speech. I was one of three students giving a speech at our Educational Opportunity Program graduation ceremony.

I was a little nervous, not about being in front of people, that was the easy part. I was nervous over what I wanted to say. I wanted to be sincere and offer the 'message of Hope' the EOP counselor seemed to think I had. I did well enough. I spoke in a gentle voice I don't normally use. My mouth got a little dry and I wished I had a mint. I forgot a few jokes and a follow up statement to another statement I made.

God was gracious to me anyway. Women came up to me afterward, with tears in their eyes, thanking me for my words. Other women said they could relate, they felt inspired. A student told me she loved the very end. A guest made a point to come to my table afterward and thank me, again, for my speech and she made interested small talk with my oldest.

It was only Tuesday and my week was already a wreck. My personal life was finally coming into conflict with my public life and spilling over. I had a great and productive weekend--Monday morning I felt the crash. I drove to school anyway and ended up locking not only my keys but EVERYTHING in my car. My bags, my books, my work out gear, my phone-everything.

I got my bike off the rack on the back of the car and wheeled it around to the side. I grabbed the door handle only to realize it was locked and my keys were right there, attached to my wallet by a caribiner, on my seat. "No!" I banged on the window futilely.

Another student had just gotten to her car to leave. She was kind enough to let me use her phone to call the Mr. He was on his way to an audition. I sat on the curb, missing my first class, my hoodie pulled up around my neck to keep the unexpected chill off my ears. I was freezing as my pity party began. I had been crying for awhile by the time the Mr. showed up with the extra key.

He quickly drove away and I know I should have gone straight to the campus gym to run it off. Instead, as quickly as I got on my bike, I got off and turned around. I put it back on the rack and left. The day had beat me. I came home and made everyone lunch and assembled my graduation announcements instead.

Tuesday didn't start off any better. I was dressed up and planned to attend my first class before the ceremony. I ended up missing my class and it's one of my favorites. My make-up was only a memory after the tears. While I felt my life, as I knew it, falling apart--I was to offer a 'message of Hope'.

I think that is what it all comes down to, in the end. Real hope only exists when you've been knocked down, again, and you have no reason to stand-up--but you do it anyway.

I shared a little of my background in the speech, maybe I'll share it another time here. My main points were 1) don't ever give up (that's fairly standard, right? lol)--slow down, take a breather if you must, but DON'T quit! 2) everything was going to be OK. I told them, since I had about 20 years life experience on most of them, I could assure them--they would be OK. They would face obstacles and challenges, but they would be OK. 3) finally, when they achieve their goals and dreams, when that time comes, to get a new dream very fast! I also made one sub-point: not to be afraid to ask for help. No one accomplishes anything with out help. If the first person they ask can't help them, keep asking until they find the person who can.

Each graduate was then announced and a medallion placed around their neck. There was a lite reception afterward. My children behaved very well. My friend said I certainly didn't *look* like I had 20 years on the other other graduates. Wasn't that a nice thing to say?

I take my own advice. I live it.

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