This is an edit on a speech I gave for the Toastmasters International Speech contest early in 2012. I came in second for the Area contest.
Growing up can be a painful event in the world we live in. We deal with so many expectations that are thrust upon us as children. “Don’t do this.” “Don’t say that.” “Be what we want you to be.”
I have to say I struggled for so many years because many of the things expected of me did not jive with how my mind processed the world. It was torture sometimes, both literally and figuratively. Especially when I was young. Now, years later I’ve been looking backwards to every growing pain I experienced with a sense of pride that I’ve overcame them, but something still seemed amiss. And it took my eldest son’s personality to show me what I almost lost. Something that I should provide him the opportunity to preserve at all costs.
With these not-so-subtle cues that what I was doing didn’t fit in, I lost my confidence. Oh, I continued to be silly, but my peers seemed to sense that it was half-hearted and they pounced upon me like a cat on a young bird that fell out it’s nest. My perception of the world was strained. So, in a need for self-preservation I broke my world in two. Silliness was meant for the stage, but off of the stage I became withdrawn and quiet. This continued for many years until I found new inspiration.
Society seems to be on a direct, unyielding, careening path, with a conformed set of rules and leaders guiding us there. I’ve thought about it a lot and that path doesn’t always feel right. So, perhaps what we need is less leaders and more jesters to steer us down a more adventurous and exciting road of enlightenment. Certainly my son would be amongst those to help keep the world laughing, bright multi-hued coloured socks acting like a beacon in the darkness. And where will I be, you ask? Well, I may not have the flashy colours…yet…but give me time and I’ll find my way back to the royal court to entertain and delight all with silliness.