Writer's Workshop: The Medea Experience

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Mama’s Losin’ It

Public speaking? These days I avoid it like the plague. The most public speaking engagement I do is when I post my status on Facebook  to tell my circle of friends what I'm up to. And because it's mostly one-liners, I'm not sure that even counts.

I was subjected to public speaking most during my formative years. I don't remember much about my elementary school days, but there is definitely one experience that comes to mind when I think of "speaking" and "the public".

I remembered when I was in high school, I was chosen to represent my class in a declamation contest. I was a loud child, and our teacher probably thought it suitable to put my voice to good use.

Initially I was excited. I found a declamation piece, learnt all the lines and gave a passable version of it in class. I've narrated in front of the class many times before (when I was in grade school and couldn't care less if my classmates understood me or not), and this declamation thing was really not much different.

D-day finally came and I was really chuffed; I was a contestant at a declamation contest! I knew I had all the lines etched in my brains. And no amount of shaking was gonna make me forget them. Nothing should go wrong now. Of course, the minute I thought those words, Murphy's Law kicked in and I started feeling all nervous and sweaty. 

You see, I realised after watching a couple of the other contestants do their pieces, that it was not just a memorizing blitz of words, this declamation thing. On top of knowing what to say, you had to deliver the whole act convincingly. Now how do I act like I'm not declaiming when I am, in fact, declaiming?

And it was my turn. This is it! I swallowed a big gulp of saliva as I walked to the front, thinking "I just gotta make sure I don't faint".

I started the brain dump with my singsong voice as clear as day. I chose to do "Medea", which was a story about a mad woman who killed someone because she loved him. As I was nearing the end of my piece, my palms started sweating profusely, my eyes watered, and I started shaking (probably from the anxiety). I even gave off a nervous laugh at the very end.

And then, that was that. Results came in and the winner was...me?. Go figure.

The judges thought that my tense demeanor was all part of the act of being bonkers.

I don't remember any of the words to that declamation piece anymore. Not a single one. I just knew I was quite mad and that my name was Medea.

After a long period of absence, I'm breaking my rut and joining Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop today for prompt #3 - Public Speaking.

1 caring thoughts:

  1. Mama Kat said...:

    Well it sounds like you're the type to shine when you're under pressure even when you think you're doing a bad job! I avoid public speaking too, just not worth the anxiety!