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speaking

Pre~Confessing: How NOT to Hide Your Secrets

img_4463.jpgEvery time I try to hide something from the people I love, I get caught. Every. Single time.

It’s not that I’m trying to do something evil and malicious as much as I’m trying to set goals for myself and am embarrassed, so I like ~ sneak…

In the end, I always pre-confess.  That’s what you do when you think you’re probably going to get caught anyway. I pre-confess on a regular basis.  Because seriously, it’s just less embarrassing that way…

Need an example? How about my joining Toastmasters. I hid it because it’s not something I want to do, it’s something I feel like I need to do.  Reason being that I dern near swallowed my tongue when I spoke last January for a whopping 50 minutes at The Women Of Faith Seminar.  No jiving ~ my entire soul… wrapped in anguish. What if I choke? What if I faint?! I can’t tell you how my innards leapt for joy when I discovered it had snowed…surely that would mean my talk would be postponed for like, oh I don’t know, maybe 7 years?  Certainly I’d be ready to speak in front of others by then, right?

It wasn’t postponed and despite the snow, it had a decent turn out…which meant people were like…there – you know, listening?

So basically, I slithered by that day. But I don’t want to nearly slither by in this world, I truly want to be able to master this beast, encourage others to be the best they can be with my speaking. Without telling a soul (not even the dog) I sneaked out and went to my first Toastmasters meeting.

On the way there, my fella calls me.

MY FELLA: “Hey baby – Whatcha doing? Wanta go to lunch?”

MOI: “No. Nope. No thanks, Sweet Pants.” I nervously choke out.

MY FELLA: “Why?”

MOI: I ummmmm. You know………. Am VERY busy so…………..Ummmm…….. Nope. But thanks, Sweet Pants!

Now when you’ve been dating for a while, you kinda get to know each other’s schedules sure Sweet Pants knows I’m starving like a T. Rex at 12:00, so this doesn’t jive with my man.

MY FELLA: “U aren’t gonna eat lunch?”

MOI: “No, no. Not today. I’m at home working on my writing and I’m not planning on leaving the house whatsoever.”

MY FELLA: “Is that so?  Because I’m behind you on Walton Way.  Sissie, what’s going on……”

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  You can see where this whole scenario is going …..

I do NOT pre~ confess, I make an excuse, hang up quickly, leaving my Sweet Pants a lil irritated and thinking I’m sneaking around with another fella.

I dart into the brick building and quietly ask a stranger where the Toastmaster meetings are held.

He points to a set of double doors. I walk in and am instantly taken aback when I see about 200 white plastic seats……. like, completely filled up with people. The room is packed!! Everybody is dressed in formal attire; some of some them are even wearing a tux. Two women are in white wedding dresses and might I add, I can’t help but to notice that I am the only Caucasian  person in the room…..I kinda stick out.  I could tell my sneaking days are now over.

Wow! These people must really get into their Toastmaster meetings. Are they dressed up to make like…wedding Toasts? Ugg.  I don’t like this.  My throat starts getting tight.  Are they like gonna make me dress up too? Cause I can tell you right now, I’m NOT putting on that stinking wedding dress and then make a speech. Besides that, what’s up with all the camera flashes?!!!!! This is insane, these Toastmaster people are taking this way too far!!!!!!

I pull out my phone and shoot a text to my friend who was supposed to come with me but bagged.

I text her one word: Crap.

My friend texts back: “Uh oh.  Why crap?”

I answer: “They make you dress up in wedding dresses and they take your picture.”

Her response? “Abort.”

In the meantime, Sweet Pants is sending text after text about honestly and relationships and the fact that I really need to wash my car.

I’m dangling on the edge of my white plastic chair, when out of nowhere, three men charge towards me with their huge cameras. The men start clicking and flashing away. These were like… serious cameras too, you know, with umbrellas and everything? One guy came running up to me and started click, click, clicking in my face and I stuck my hand up and said “Look here, now! I’m nervous enough as it is about this whole Toastmaster thing!! I will just go ahead and tell you right now – There’s no way I’m putting on that wedding dress. And you are absolutely not gonna take my picture!!!”

“Mam,” the man with enormous flash confides, “this is not Toastmasters. This is a mock African-American wedding that we are shooting for an ad. Now if you don’t want to be in the shoot, I suggest you not sit here because we are just about to start!”

Ummmmm….

I have never bolted so fast in my life…..

Disheveled but determined, I once again quietly ask around to find my Toastmaster meeting.

And finally, I found her.

Unfortunately, I also find my little brothers friend as well as somebody from my church.

“Hi ya Sissie!” My brothers friend calls out.

I gulp.

“Missed you last Sunday at church!” The other dude announces as he pats my back.

I sink down in my seat thinking to myself: What in the world have I done?! This is so completely stupid. I totally don’t want to speak in front of my little brothers friend. Then, my secret will be OUT! What are they going to do, hang out for drinks; where his friend leans in close; cackling as he sips his bourbon and coke; “You shoulda seen ole Sissie last week…. Make sure she’s ok, will ya? She took quite the tumble when she tripped and fell off our Toastmaster stage….”

Or maybe the skunk will be my friend at church? I picture him making our Sunday morning announcements “Good to run into Sissie Dale at our local Toastmaster meeting, let’s keep Sissie in our prayers and if you actually heard her make a speech, you’d know why!”

As if this misery is not intense enough, my daughter texts me: “Momma, 911! Please bring me my lunch, I’m starving and I forgot it.” I grimace and sink further down in my seat. “NOPE.” I text back.

The next text is from my brother: “I’m stuck half way across town, can you meet the roofer for me?” My response: “NOPE.”

FYI: the thought did occur to me ~ if you weren’t sneaking around and actually told everybody what exactly you were doing, you might save yourself some unwarranted anger / frustration.

I made it through that hour of misery, no one making me speak, thus making me faint and I went to my car where I pre-confessed everything…. to everybody.

Their response? CHEERS! We are proud of you!

My advice? Be bold. Quit sneaking and start speaking!

CHEERS!