We had an interesting situation at Toastmasters, this morning. Two past-presidents were making their goodbyes.
In some ways, it’s slow going. In some areas, I’m making decent progress. I still have the clarity that a life with only a weekly Facebook check has given me (and in the Cambridge Analytica days, feeling better than ever about that.)
For someone who claims to be non-confrontational, I’m getting pretty good at it. Monday, someone in my neighborhood asked for moving boxes on our neighborhood message board. We (and by we, I mostly mean my awesome big brother who visited us on the spur of the moment and spent the better part of his Saturday on the task while I took the girls in my class on Retreat) just cleaned out my garage, and a big part of the clutter was a plethora of big boxes. I told her she could take some, no charge, but asked when she thought she could come get them. She said she’d be by yesterday afternoon. I made sure the boxes were at the curb, so she could grab them and not disturb my mom, who was home recovering from an uncomfortable medical test. For what it’s worth, I think the only other person who responded said he’d sell her some boxes, so I thought the fact that I was willing to give them away would be a good thing.
It’s debatable, but I think I’m an Enneagram 9-the Peacemaker, largely based on my compulsion to get everyone to like each other. I learned early on that it wasn’t even possible to get everyone to like each other— early on enough that the number 1 reason I went away to college was to force my parents and brothers to deal with each other without me as an intermediary. Win, lose, or draw, I couldn’t stay in the middle of those conversations, smoothing and translating and reassuring. I felt like I was losing any hope of becoming a separate entity, it was so shaping my personality and how I function in the world.
It’s probably that I’m an Obliger, so I feel great accountability to others, and when I say that I’ll do something, especially something on a timeline, I want to keep my word. But I have a situation and I really don’t understand where I’m getting it wrong.
I won the ribbon for the best speaker for the week, for the speech “It’s Not As Easy As It Looks,” which was about how I was affected by a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit, and how it changed my perspective on craft. I didn’t mention Toastmasters or speech prep at all. My mom knew why I was giving this speech and she said “okay, but is anyone going to get it?”
The speech: I tried to go another way on it, but my options were a comedic speech, a dramatic speech, or a technical speech for a nontechnical audience. For whatever reason right now, I don’t feel particularly funny. I’ve given funny speeches and gotten a lot of laughs, over the years at Toastmasters, but I’m not feeling material for this one, yet. The only dramatic speech I could think of is a variation of the speech I gave in a competition a month ago. It would need to be several minutes shorter, but because I gave it so recently, I think it would steal some of the drama for me to recraft it for this opportunity. In my mind, if you’re not holding your breath by the end, it’s not that dramatic or interesting, and why would they hold their breath, when they know the shape of the thing? And I could give a technical speech for a nontechnical audience, but I would prefer to play against type, in my current leadership role, and I think this would be a cop out.