Last year I decided to go back to school. It was an idea I had kicked around from time to time, but was never able to settle on a subject long enough to justify the time and expense of college.
It was last summer when I realized that studying Nutrition was what I wanted to do. I love making, eating, sharing and learning about food and the impact it has on our mental and physical well being. So after ten years of being out in the world working full time in retail or as an office receptionist, I’m working part time and in school full time.
Here in California, one of the general education requirements is to take a speech class. Being an introvert, the prospect of getting up in front of people to give a speech was terrifying. While public speaking is not something I would just do for fun, taking this class has been a little bit life changing. Not in a big momentous way, but in a slow-growing way. My teacher was amazing. She pushed us outside of our comfort zones without pushing too far. She encouraged us to keep trying. She was firm, but always gave a second chance if we were having an off day. The class I was the most scared of became the class that I most looked forward to and feel like I learned the most from.
One of the speeches that was required in the class was a performance speech. Of all the speeches I gave, it was my favorite. In spite of having my performance memorized more than a week in advance, I still stumbled a few times, and forgot a few words. This performance isn’t perfect, but it was my proudest moment.
For this speech I chose to adapt the Florence and the Machine song, “Shake it Off” for spoken word. It is one of my favorite songs.
In closing, here is the statement I wrote for my teacher to go along with the performance:
This song holds a great deal of meaning for me. I see myself in the first verse, “I like to keep some things to myself, I like to keep my issues drawn.” One of my biggest struggles is being able to express my emotions, especially feelings of anger, frustration or pain. The “devil on my back” represents my struggle with guilt. It is an ongoing process, but slowly, I am learning to let go of the things that I can’t change and to say the things that I need to say. Music is an important part of that journey, helping me to say the words that refuse to come out unless they are pushed out with a melody. Every day, I come closer to finding my voice and learning to dance.