THE “SPEECH”

Every introvert has embarrassing moments. In what seems to be an extrovert’s world where we are placed in situations in which we are forced to “come out of our shells” it’s bound to happen. Well, there’s one moment for me that really stands out. It was so mortifying for me, although now I can look back at it and chuckle. I even tell the story from time to time just to get a laugh or two. Here goes…

My freshman year of college I had enrolled in a communications course. A speech class to be exact. Yep. Like “get up in front of the class” speeches. Me being the bright-eyed freshman, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I enrolled in the class. I didn’t even know what communications meant! I just knew that it was a class that was mandatory, so I had my academic advisor put it on my schedule and I didn’t look back. Well, I wish I had.

My first, day of class I learned that throughout the course of the semester we would be giving about four or five speeches. The moment I learned that, I wanted to die. My professor had reassured the class that there was nothing to worry about though. She said that everyone is just as nervous as you and that you could count on her to always be impartial and for her face to be a blank slate when speeches were given revealing no judgment whether good or bad. This made me feel a bit better.

Our first speeches were given pretty early on in the course. I believe it was on the first or second day of classes. It was a short and sweet ice breaker type of thing and I did so good. I was patting myself on the back. I was so proud! And it definitely took the edge off for the next speech. In retrospect, maybe it took the edge off a little too much because I ended up procrastinating. HARD. What I mean to say by that is that I waited until oh say two MAYBE three days until our presentations before I even began to think about a topic which is a big no-no in the world of speeches. Anyone who’s ever given a speech knows that preparation is key. It’s mandatory. We couldn’t just read our speeches from our paper. We had to familiarize ourselves with the speech so well that we had it mostly memorized maybe glancing at notes here and there. How was I supposed to do this when I hadn’t even chosen a topic yet?

So, long story short, I ended up half assing my speech. I rushed and threw some literal crap together and called it a day. When speech day came, I was a nervous wreck. I knew I wasn’t prepared, but that I was going to have to give the speech anyway. When it came my turn to walk up to the podium and deliver my speech to the class I felt like I was about to walk the plank. Not only was I an introverted and socially awkward person, but to make matters worse I hadn’t prepared! That made things 10 times harder.

I walked up to the podium with my notes and I didn’t even know where to start. I stuttered and paused a bunch as I tried to bullshit my way to a passing grade which had always been easy for me to do on paper, but an oral presentation was a completely different ball game! Finally, I had accepted defeat. I just wasn’t prepared enough. Giving a speech was simply impossible. I looked around and my classmates were either snickering or grimacing from second hand embarrassment. And then that’s when it happened. I looked at my professor. The one who had promised “impartialness”. The one who had been teaching speech for years and said she never even so much as flinches during speeches and she was CRINGING. Involuntarily though. I don’t even think she knew she was doing it. That’s when my eyes teared up. I wrapped up my “speech” and went back to my seat. The class carried on and other speeches were given, but my head was spinning the whole time replaying what had just happened over and over again.

The next class, I debated even going. I was still so embarrassed. Against my better judgement, I decided to suck it up and go. I put on a baseball cap to “hide” my identity and I went to class. We received our grades back, but I was too afraid to look. It wasn’t until months after I had dropped the class (I just couldn’t mentally recover from that shit show) that I decided to take a look at my score sheet. SHE HAD GIVEN ME SO MANY PITY POINTS! She must have felt really bad about cringing at me and ultimately bringing me to the point of tears because she had given me like a B. There was NO WAY that my speech was worth a B. Somehow that made me feel even worse. Anyway…

Do you have an embarrassing story? I told you mine, tell me yours!

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