I had a good night’s sleep and woke up feeling good.  Beatrice was out already so I had her place to myself.  I made some tea, lit my big blue candle from the Fatima shrine and spent 40 minutes in prayer.

I was present and I was grateful for many things.  My gratitude brought me to tears on more than one occassion.  I prayed that all people competing would give their best speech possible and that the people in the audience would receive the messages they needed accordingly.   I felt such joy when I prayed this!

Beatrice came home literally a minute after I finished my prayer and asked if I could do my speech for her before she had to leave again.  I regaled her and it was wonderful.  She laughed through the entire thing- never missed a beat.  She truly appreciated it.  Her energy was amazing.  She said “Paula, that is a beautiful speech.  It is SO funny but that part about friendship is so true and people need to hear this message.”

The energy she gave me just boosted me even more.

I had a small breakfast- my stomach was already playing the “hey!  it’s contest day!” game.

Got to the venue in plenty of time, and the stage area was already set up.  In a less than optimal fashion.  There was opportunity for it to be set up as a wide stage with less rows but they opted for a narrower stage and more rows which made it harder for people at the back to see and hear, and limited movement for speakers.  The narrow rows also made it impossible for the seats to be placed in theatre style so anyone with a big head in front of them was out of luck.

It was strange that they chose that since the past 3 contests at that venue were the wider way and done quite successfully.

Anyway, I was still comfortable with the stage area and knew I had enough room and I felt it out a little bit.  No worries mate.

I was able to chat with lots of people beforehand and see some old friends.  SUCH a lift knowing that people are there to support you and believe in you!

So we picked numbers for our speaking order, I got the second last spot which I thought pretty much kicked ass since I figured the crowd would be really warmed up by the time I got to them.

Another unusual thing.  They chose to do the humorous speech BEFORE the Table Topics which I found odd as usually the opening act is TT.  But, whatever, you play your hand, right?  That’s all part of the game!

So, the first guy gets up and he is effin FUNNY.  I mean, I really liked him.  He had a stand-up feel about him and his speech was PACKED with funny.  The problem was, the crowd didn’t get the memo.  And the day continued that way.  funny people, funny speeches, not so funny crowd.  It was really unfortunate that the energy was that way because everyone deserved better.  There were 7 humorous speeches and the calibre was high.  I honestly enjoyed them and gave them all of my positive energy.

I felt nervous but ready and happy when I began.  Took my time, looked folks in the eye, FELT it, ENJOYED it.  Relaxed, was even able to change the ending AT the ending.  No panic, total ease.  I had fun giving it.  It was a real drag that the energy didn’t come back to me but I did all I could so I was happy with my performance.  I also was not freaked about winning or not winning.  I was just “whatever God.:)”

So, in the end, I did not win.  In fact, I did not even place and I have to say that I was pretty surprised about that but that’s part of being in a competition where you get judged.  You just never know.  It’s not nice and clear like putting a puck in a net and whoever gets the most goals is the winner.  It’s subjective, no matter what anyone says and anyone can win on any given day.  Geez, I could be here a WHILE.  lol

So I hopped in my car, wondering what I could have done to improve.  I wish we could get evaluations on these, most important of our speeches.

I put countless hours into this speech.  To say I put 100 hours into this process would not be an exaggeration and might be a significant understatement.  I went to the best for help.  I dug deeper.  I cried and laughed, I found new depths in myself.  I created what I think is a really great speech.  In the end, 3 funny stories beat out my funny speech with a message.  I don’t, however,  regret not going with that initial funny story.  I am proud of what I accomplished with much help from people who care about me.   People have prayed for me, given me advice, spent time on the phone, in person and on skype with me.  Others have made offers of a place for me to stay while I’m in town, offers to introduce me to people who can help, offers to speak, offers to help me with The Big Speech, which is the next big project.  People still Believe in me.  That’s good.  I do too.

It’s been a good run.