As I wrote about how it is going to school for a shy girl, I mentioned my moment of insanity when I signed up and took a speech class when I was in eleventh grade. Along with a friend of mine, we decided to take speech together and promised to support one another. I had always dreamed of being an airline stewardess and fly to Paris. When I got tired of flying around the world, I would fall back on my fashion design. It was a good plan, don’t you think? Along with my speech class, I also took a French class. Parlez-vous français?
The first day of the speech class was very intimidating. It was a full classroom, every seat was filled. Who knew so many kids wanted to learn public speaking. The teacher was the drama teacher of the school. I remember thinking he was a bit different than what I was used to. He didn’t seem that thrilled with the class. I don’t remember any smiles at all, just a lot of rules. He proceeded to tell us that we needed to have a speech ready by each Tuesday. We also got the list of things we couldn’t speak on, which mainly was anything that had to do with religion or our faith. Bummer, that left most of my interests out right off the bat. I don’t remember a lot of actual teaching on the proper way to give a speech or hints on how to be better. He mainly sat behind his podium and told stories. He ridiculed Christianity each chance he got.
Tuesday mornings were the worst for me. I usually would be sick at my stomach due to the fact that I may be called on to get up and give a speech. We weren’t allowed to use paper or notes. We had to just talk. If you knew me then, you would know that I was way in over my head!
One morning, I got to class and my friend wasn’t there. When I saw her later that day, she told me that she couldn’t do the class anymore and went to the school counselor and they got her out of the class. I thought. “Woah, we can do that?” Guess where I went? I went to see the counselor. I explained my situation and she just looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, but you have passed the deadline to switch classes.” I said “oh.” When I was getting up to leave, she then asked me what my plans were for life. I told her my dreams of being an airline stewardess and fashion designer. I explained that maybe college first? She then said, “Beverly, I really don’t think you are college material.” I said, “oh.” I then thought that B’s and C’s were not acceptable for college. If you remember in my writing yesterday that I didn’t like school and so much was going on in my world, studying was not at the top of my list.
So, back to speech class feeling like a total failure with my grades and not being college material, whatever that meant, I had to get back to coming up with speeches.
The next type of speech we had to give was a demonstration speech. I came up with the idea of baking a cake that my grandmother always made that I had fond memories of and then explaining how I baked it while serving the class a piece of cake. Brilliant, right? Through my nervousness and with the teacher sitting in the desk right in front of me, I thought I was doing pretty good. At the end of the class the teacher asked me if I put buttermilk in the cake. I said “oh, yes, I forgot to mention that.” He must of known this recipe. After serving the class the last piece of cake, I then sat down and listened to more speeches. Although, I didn’t hear anything because all I could think of was, “What an idiot, I forgot to mention an ingredient to my cake, double failure!”
At the end of the class, the teacher would sit behind his podium again and call out each speech giver name with their grade. I heard A’s, B’s and then I heard, “Beverly Fisher, C-!” I was horrified. I gave and did my best and that was the grade I got. The boy that sat in front of me did a demonstration on how to make your own moonshine and drew a steel on the board. He received an A, I think.
We had a test the next day and I answered everything as it should be but I gave my opinion underneath all of my answers. By this time he had shared many stories about making fun of heaven and people that believed that. I proceeded to share my thoughts. I wish I had that paper to see what I actually wrote. Whatever I wrote, I remember the big F on my paper when it was returned to me.
I was done with the class. I decided I would no longer torture myself and work for bad grades. When my name was called for the next few speeches I said I wasn’t ready. I had shut down. I was done and I didn’t care. Needless to say, I failed the class. I didn’t care either. Although I did care when graduation came and I was struggling for more credits. Bad move all the way around. I sure wasn’t going to the counselor for help, I already felt like a loser.
So, that’s my terrible, no good horrible 8 weeks of a speech class as a shy girl.
Whenever you hear that writing is good therapy for us, I believe it, because in writing this story out, I have realized something about myself. That was about 41 years ago and I still have a habit of quitting things when I feel like something is a waste of my time or when I feel like I’m being mistreated and or used. I’m done and over it. No looking back. I’ve done that a few times over the years with some people and organizations. Yes, even a church where there was so much drama going on all the time and people always talking about others. If there is a clique going on, I walk the other way. It’s a waste of my time to try to serve and belong to a place when you can’t trust the ones that you work side by side with. I guess that is part of my story. I’ve been mistreated before and I refuse to keep on letting it happen. I have learned to stand up for myself because I learned most people won’t stand up for you. I heard a preacher say once when I was a teen that if someone doesn’t lift you up, mark them and avoid them. I took it literally and it has become a habit with me.
The crazy things that have happened to us and that we have gone through in our past can always be used to better ourselves.
Okay, what is even crazier is as time has gone on I have spoken at a few women’s retreats and conferences as well as some workshops. The first time I did this, I depended on God to get my feet to actually walk up to the platform. He still gives me every ounce of strength I need to give a speech or talk publicly and I even enjoy it. I love sharing when I can to a group of ladies who love to learn, laugh and share the mighty things of God. I’m thankful for those ladies who have encouraged and taught me how to speak publicly. I’m very grateful for those that have given me much grace as I have learned and did my absolute best and even bombed a few times. But, put me in front of a group of sour ladies, eye rollers and backbiters and I’m out of there. Whew, that’s a scary place to be. Someone else can have that group. This has happened a couple of times. You could feel tension in the air due to a lack of people that didn’t have any intention of letting the Holy Spirit do His work.
Speaking publicly is important. YOU have something to say and share. Make it the best you can and let God open the doors and give you the strength that you need. Your voice could make a difference in someones life. And for those that don’t want to listen, you can’t change that. You just do what God has called you to do at the moment! We are just the vessel/tool. God does the rest.