My first piece I ever performed was about teachers.
It may have been a cheap shot in hindsight, one that appealed to the sensibilities of lay judges and sympathies of overworked and underplayed coaches, but it meant so much to me. It reminded me of who I was, a young girl in a new city with nothing to immerse herself in other than lectures.
It is often said that art imitates life, and I would argue that forensics, too, has imitated my life. In transforming me into the woman I am, my story has manifested in my prose and poetry throughout the years.
Sophomore year brought a funny story about mental illness, something I struggled with as my life began to change. Personal circumstances created a dark atmosphere in every sphere, but i found illumination in humor. The jokes I told filled me with joy, but the laughter of judges made me aspire to bring humor to every aspect of my life.
In junior year, I took the comical nature of speech in stride, reciting a piece about negative body image in a southern accent and riddled with jokes. I won my first tournament. My life became better and in turn, so did my performances. I discovered that allowing myself to confront my insecurities allowed me to become embrace them, a message I displayed in my speech.
Now I’m a senior, and my piece was a mess. It was sloppy and funny and quirky and sometimes too much, but so am I. The beauty of the prose enchanted me, the discussion of the future something I consider in my everyday life. I know that even though my life and decisions may seem as discombobulated and incoherent as my prose, I will come out on the other side with hope and dignity, the same kind that follows after each round, breaks and the awards stage.
I’m not sure if speech will be a part of my life as I continue on my journey through life. I don’t know what i’m going to have for breakfast or where i’m going to spend the next four years. But one thing I am sure of is that speech taught me about my life as much as any educator. It has made me a better sister, friend, scholar, speaker and person. I am proud to know that no matter where my paths lead, my journey with 4 different pieces in a small, dilapidated black binder tells a history of its own- a history of me, a true imitation of my life.