I don’t know why I said yes to presenting my story to a random audience, but I’m glad I did.
I’m a shy person with a really soft-spoken voice. You will have to ask me to repeat myself a few times before you’re able to understand what I had just said. It’s that bad. So instead I stay quiet hoping nobody will talk to me. I think that makes me socially awkward.
My public speaking skills are terrible too. I sometimes leave my hands in my pockets throughout the presentation and don’t remember to take them out until the very end. I think that gives away my inexperience with public speaking. Or possibly when I start talking fast, start stuttering, or begin rambling; one of the three.
One day I was asked by a coordinator of a Men Can Stop Violence program at school if I wanted to present “my story” for an event called Cocktales. The name sounded funny and I told him that I didn’t have a story, but that I was interested. He said there was something about me that made him think there was a story. I think being one of two men in a classroom of 28 women made me an easy person for him to recruit for his event. Who knows?
A few days later I received an email with details of the event. The event was about “Creating a space [for men] to talk about masculinity. Men can begin to hear other men’s real stories about their journey from recognizing privilege to emotional pain and ultimately finding peace within themselves”. The theme for that year was Reclaiming Love. The email listed topics about love such as: unconditional love, self love, forgotten love, love to a parent, loving the feminine, indigenous love, loving yourself, and a bunch more. I didn’t know what topic to choose, so I picked a few and met with the coordinator.
Over the next couple months we went over “my story” and began narrowing the topics down. I was excited to be writing about my experience with love even if it was limited. I was pouring my heart out into this monologue to the point where I had to stop writing because I would begin crying in the library. I had never presented a story of myself to an audience, so I didn’t know how much I wanted to tell. I was naive and told a lot more than I should have.
On the day of the event I was nervous to say the least. We had rehearsals a few days earlier, but I needed more than one day to prepare. To tell you the truth, I’m the type of person who has to remember his presentation word-for-word even if it takes me days to remember. I was so frightened to present that I kept pacing back and forth backstage trying to rehearse my lines. I kept on going to the bathroom more times than I needed and the guys kept on looking at me strangely. They told me to relax and that I would be fine. I was sweating so much, but managed to calm down before they called my name.
Here is my monologue:
By the end of the night, many people came and told me what a heart-felt performance I gave. And to be honest, it really was from the heart. I told them a story of myself that I didn’t know people could relate to or cared to hear. I surprised myself and even my friends who showed up to support me. For that night, I wasn’t that socially awkward person or that person who was scared of speaking in public. Somehow I felt confident for having the strength for telling the audience a person story of myself. I felt proud and smiled the rest of the night.
My family doesn’t know that I gave this monologue and perhaps now is the time to tell them.