Well reader, I was right. Those chills and body aches I mentioned in the earlier post was me starting to get sick :((( I’m starting to feel better though!
But all this resting has given my time to write! And I can finally update you on my talk 🙂
Before I wrote My Dilemma which provided a foreshadow into my talk, I had this pain in my chest. Why was my mother so against me speaking?
“I need a hug” I sent “Prince Player”. I tell him I’m anxious.
“Is it about school?” he asks. Mmmm kind of. I just say yes. He doesn’t respond. It’s okay. He doesn’t like me being sad (my second time saying this 🙂 )
I have a dinner with one of my friends and I’m late because I’m going back and forth with my mom on the phone. I apologize to my friend and tell her the situation.
“Sorry boo that’s rough. Could you alter the story to make it more comfortable for your mom?”
That’s not a bad idea. I know I’m grown woman, and this topic is important, but I wouldn’t feel right getting up on stage without my cheerleader’s support.
That night. I go to the gym and exercise. I listen to songs like “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. It helps the knot in my chest go away. My other friend messages me when I’m done, telling me to look on Facebook.
There are a bunch of “Me, too” statuses.
“Could this not be happening at a better time?? This is a sign YOU should speak!”
I’m puzzled. With the many I read. The sad, devastating, stories. I tell my mother. She feels the same way. But is still not comfortable with my talk.
Two nights before the show, I’ve absolutely had it. I can’t stand this distance between me and my mom. I sit down with her over the phone, read her my entire talk, and cross out the parts she wants me to. She actually has solid advice. My original sounded very uncomfortable to even me, and the edited one sounds more comfortable for me to read. When I’m done she says, “now I have something to tell you”.
I roll my eyes. What now?? I’ve done everything she asked me to!
“It happened to me too”.
“What?” I asked in disbelief.
She begins with “When I was 9 years old…”. I feel dead inside I can’t even write what happened.
And then she says, “When I was 17…”. I don’t believe it. This is even worse than the first one.
“Twice?” I asked her.
TWICE? HOW COULD ANYONE DO THIS TO HER?
“So I’m proud of you for talking about this” she says. I’m dumbfounded. I feel sick. Okay, finally, she has said she is proud of me, but, what? I am still in disbelief over the two events she shared with me. How would you feel, if a woman you love, has given you everything you have- tells you this?
I was devastated. I wake up the next morning- sad, upset, angry, hurt. I felt like I was being punished for the conversation I had with my mother 10 years ago when it happened to me. Now I felt what it’s like to hear about it happening to someone you love. All my life, it was about me. Now, it was about my mother too.
I get myself a nice breakfast. And I only have one bite. My appetite, was gone. Do you know how it feels, to spend money on food, only for you not to eat it? It’s an upsetting feeling.
But I feel sick.
Every. woman. in. my. family.
I drag myself through the day, and finally, it’s the day of the show. I breathe. I do what I do first in the morning, I log onto Facebook. Where my brother’s future fiancee has shared a “Me, too” story. I am stunned. Now, not only my family, but my future family. I tell my mother, “Her too, Ma”.
“All of us, Shaz” she says.
I stay silent.
“You are the voice we need. You got this. You will do so well. And if you cry during your talk, it is okay”.
I smile. Finally, the words I needed to hear.
I get myself pumped up.
I play Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry”.
“Now payback is a bad bitch and baby I’m the baddest. You’re fucking with a savage” I sing into the mirror.
A few hours later, it’s showtime. I see my name in big letters. AV asking me if the lighting is fine, if the microphone is fine, if I need food/water- I hold my notes and say I’m fine.
My nemesis finds me. Oh lord, not now. “So, what will you be talking about?” she asks looking me up and down.
“I’ll be talking about sexual assault” I say.
“OH!” she exclaims.
Yea, now get out of my face. The show begins, and the host introduces me on stage. I hear lots of “woo’s!” Well that’s nice, I have a fan club 🙂
I thank everyone for coming and pose a content warning. Saying I’m usually a funny girl, but this a sensitive talk and can make some uncomfortable.
Everyone’s still in their seats, I have not lost anyone yet. Yes!
So I begin. Everyone looks so engaged. I do so well. Hitting every point as I practiced. Then during a sensitive part, I get anxious. I hold my palms together. It’s all I have for comfort! And it helps 🙂 I carry on. I look into the audience. I see my row of friends (yes there was a row that came out to see me!) crying. Oh my.
I talk about how it has inspired the extensive research I have been doing in grad school around this topic and how it is almost done.
And then I give my last words of my talk.
“I hope this world is a better place by the time my daughter is born. Thank you” I say.
The crowd erupts in applause.
“Okay…I think it is time for intermission now!” the host says.
Many people from the audience and my friends come up to hug me. I’m blessed.
I drink lots of coke and relax until the end of the show. When it ends, I am told…that the Dean wants to meet me!!! Ah!!! My friends come up and give me beautiful roses. And we go out for a Mojito and emapanadas 🙂
What a great night.
I’m glad I spoke.