Alright, so the official process began today and it wasn’t as horrific as it could have been.  I don’t feel suicidal or even like CRYING so that’s good!  I must be toughening up.

I’m pleased to say that I got an obscene amount of sleep last night due to sheer exhaustion and woke up near TENNISH today.  THAT is obscene.  Think we got any homeschooling done today?  Uh uh.  But I felt a hundred times better than the previous few days.   I’d actually been feeling kind of dizzy for a couple of days, particularly felt it when I was drilling since I was so focused on my mental state.  Anyway, I knew it meant I had pushed myself too far and I need to be smarter about this.

Got to the club an hour early since I’m the President too and the room needed to be set up, food put out, etc.  I was able to do the speech once in the room on my own before anyone got there and it felt GOOD that time.  I always like to be able to do that if possible.  I have to say though, in general, I did NOT feel as confident as I would have liked to about how well I knew my speech.

I vacillated about whether I should give The Speech I’ve been losing sleep over or some other speech so I wouldn’t blow the time since I was the only competitor in the International.  You can’t go over 7:30 or you’re out.  A bunch of people came to see me though so I really felt I owed it to them and I really wanted to give the speech a test drive.  I felt I need to get an audience performance out of the way.

Now about 15 minutes beforehand, I discovered that there is a woman in our club ( who has just re-joined us after a 6 month hiatus) who will be competing in the Area contest representing the Advanced club that she belongs to.  So I also was thinking that I’m giving my competition a pretty good look at what she’s competing against.  That also was a major consideration because this woman has been to District finals in the past.  She’s no slouch.  In the end I figure, if I can’t win on my own steam, I don’t deserve to go anyway so WHATEVER.

I went in the Evaluation Contest too- mainly to give the person who I thought is such a good evaluator that he had a decent shot at District, some competition.  I’m embarrassed to say that I was poorly prepared for this contest and did not respect it as I should have.  I hadn’t even read the score sheet about the Eval contest in probably 2 years so it wasn’t even fresh in my mind.

We had a good crowd.  We had over 20 people there so it was excellent to have a real room to perform to.

Our contest chair forgot to say the name of my speech so I had to remind her to say it before I came up.  Ya gotta love club contests eh?

So, I went up,  not feeling as grounded as I would have liked AND I didn’t get to POWER POSE beforehand to get my testosterone pumping.  Boooooo!!!!!!  I was really looking forward to using that technique but alas, it will have to wait until Area.

THIS is a power pose - can't you just FEEL the testosterone????

THIS is a power pose – can’t you just FEEL the testosterone????

And guess what I did right off the bat?  No, I didn’t fart.  WORSE!!!!!  I flubbed the VERY FIRST LINE!!!!  The one I know better than ANY other line in the ever-lovin’ speech!!!  The one that sets the tone for the entire speech!!!!! DUH!!!!!!!!

I was able to recover outwardly but my brain was so busy telling me how stupid I was, it took me a while to BE again.

Got some good laughs, made somebody cry too.  Saw some nodding of heads throughout so there was a definite connection with the material.  Now personally, I didn’t feel I connected with the audience until over half way through and that just breaks my heart because I wanted better for them.  I really wanted to give myself over to them but couldn’t pull it off right away.  I promise to do better next time.

I decided that I’m not that crazy about the ending and the call back I THOUGHT I had ended up being weak- could have just been my poor delivery though.  I was much too quiet which is just ODD for me.

All in all, I was glad to get it over with.  I won the Eval contest too.  A surprise to me.

After the contest was very interesting.  We had a ton of food and coffee so people stayed a long time and it was good to get feedback.  One lady who used to be in our club pulled me aside and told me what a different speaker I’ve become.  She actually cried and thanked me for having the courage to share myself so openly.  It might have been my favourite part of the night.  Another guy who has been a Toastmaster for close to a hundred years kept trying to tell me what was wrong with the speech but I couldn’t quite figure out what he was trying to say even though he drew me a flow chart and everything.  Unfortunately, he didn’t give me too much insight on how to correct it either except according to his taste.  Which is legit.  Hey, everyone’s got an opinion right?  Just like…. well, you know.

Lots of people were talking about the subject matter afterwards and yes, it appears that this is one that many people deal with and it hits home.  Several people shared quite personal stories with me afterwards and I felt really honoured that they would do so.   Opening yourself up makes people feel they can trust you I think.

I watched the video when I got home and while it sucks pretty hard, it’s not unredeemable.  It’s a start.

Also wondering if I should go to Toastmasters All-Pros Dragon’s Den meeting for kamikaze round robin speech evaluations.  My first instinct was to do it but I don’t want everyone hearing my speech right now.  I want to hold my cards closer to my chest.  Won’t stop me from going to watch THEM though!  lol  Some of the top speakers in the District will be there.  My instinct is to send my speech out to trusted people via youtube and get feedback that way.

But now, I’m very much looking forward to watching the speech with Rich for his feedback.

So, that’s that for now.  Tomorrow I am taking my daughter hiking on the Skookumchuk Trail in her beloved home village.  She is happy.  I hope the sun shines.