Granted it's a bit late for it, but I thought you would appreciate to hear how the Lions Youth event went. (I'm going to presume that you've already read the speech.)
During the day of the speeches, each of the participants had to sit an interview with the judges. I awaited my interview in the cream-washed parlour of the funeral home (ironically enough), with an ice cold waterbottle dripping condensation on my knee. When I went in, I was greated by three interesting characters. One sported bright purple hair, one a button nose, and the last an uncanny resemblance to Seachange's Kevin.
If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it's an idiot, said Einstein, to which my dad added, you're a fish in a marathon and you will get gravel rubbed into your scales. To which I responded wow, you are incredibly encouraging. I was very aware that I wasn't going to get into the next round. It was the wrong thing, the wrong crowd, the wrong person. It was very political, very current affairs based... I don't actually even know who my local council member is. I'm not sure why I decided I would go for it, but knowing that I had absolutely nothing to lose, I was able to relax and enjoy the lack of pressure that ignorance allowed me. In fact, we ended up having quite a nice discussion on books.
Now the speeches and impromptu questions were held at the local community centre, which turned out to be absolutely tiny inside even though from the outside it looked like a warehouse. It was beside the train line, so even at seven at night, whoever was talking would be rudely interrupted by a half-hourly passing train.
The impromptu questions came first, and we all had to stand outside and go in one by one, so as not to get an unfair advantage by hearing the questions beforehand. While we waited, we joked about the hopelessness of our interviews, and laughed that our answer, should the question mercifully be "who is the greatest leader in history?", shall be "Boudicca, Ancient Romano-British warrior princess".
No such luck however. The question were, "Is the print newspaper still relevant in today's society?" and "If you could change one thing about Australia, what would it be?" To which I answered in that order, "yes" and "reopen the bookshops". It was almost painfully obvious that I was quite a gravelly fish, but yet a proudly quaint one.
I know that my speech went well. I cried, but I was able to talk and carry on and allow the emotion to unlock a connection. I had no notes. I used no lecturn. Through glistening eyes my dad and my brother smiled and shook their heads. The George R.R. Martin quote, central to the speech, was given me by a dear friend, and to thank him, I locked eyes with him as I spoke it. He looked down, and I felt so disappointed that he did, but I was told as soon as I finished, that he had been crying too. That moment of realising was so perfect.
I felt like that speech should be a snapshot of what I want my life to be always. My ability to be authentic, to connect with people, to learn through books and live with empathy. I wish everyone I know could have even a clue that it took place, because now only a handful of people know what I really think. For me, it taught me that I'm growing, that I can engage people, that I can say something that others can connect with on their own deep level. A number of other people's aunts and grandmothers, and next door neighbours came to me afterwards and told me "I felt what you were saying. Thankyou."
No, thankyou. I don't care so much that the judges critised me for using too much drama. Shove my tears up your ass if you thought that what I did was drama. Every person I talked to afterwards knew, and felt themselves, the sincerity.