Imagine a room. At the front of the room there stands a lectern and a microphone. The lectern looks out onto a wide-eyed congregation of people, politicians and televangelists making up the bulk of the crowd. I slowly make my way to the microphone and begin, “Hi, my name is Nina and I am a hypocrite”.
This week I heard six words I never thought I would ever hear, “you really need to talk more”. Who, me? Have we met?
This was the girl whose mouth barely ever stopped moving, was always ready with anecdotes, stories or opinions (whether you asked for them or not) and who was commonly known as motormouth. Apparently the operative word here is “was”.
I found this incredible. I do recall countless times of being told off for talking in church or being asked to be quiet and let someone else finish a story. I even remember getting funny looks from other spectators during my brothers inter-school netball games as I loudly gave a running commentary and shouted out helpful tips to the players without actually knowing the rules. At one stage I think I may have even had a caution from the umpire (I was very proud of that!). So you can understand my confusion…
It all started at an Australia Day barbecue. It was in a house I had never been to before with a group of people whom I had never met. They could not have been friendlier or more welcoming and after some initial nerves I really did enjoy myself. I had a few laughs, learnt some things and found some common ground, but it wasn’t until later that it was pointed out to me that I actually hardly said anything at all. Now, it must be said that it can be difficult to break into a conversation when you are the newbie but I had to admit, this is happening more and more. OMG I am becoming a wallflower!
It’s not that I have nothing to say or that I am not given the opportunity to say it. One on one you are lucky to get a word in edgeways and on the phone my shrill voice can deafen you. But having hearing in only one ear and very little eyesight can make conversation a struggle. I am often not quite sure who it is that is speaking with me and it’s not uncommon for me to be looking in completely the wrong direction when at last I do answer. I am ashamed to admit that I use this as an excuse not to participate. It is a factor but as with everything it can be overcome and people are generally willing to make allowances. All it takes is the courage to ask for help when you need it and the strength not to be embarrassed to have to ask. Finally I think this lesson has sunk in.
I have two life-long dreams; 1. Become a Paralympic power lifter and win gold for Australia (this is still a fair way off. As I write this I can only lift 8 kg above my head. Even for a racing pencil this is still not good.) and 2. Become a motivational speaker. Perhaps if I can actually manage to speak this could one day be a possibility.