Six students from LREI’s Fierce and Fabulous: Feminist Women Writers, Artists, and Activists class presented at the TEDxYouth Day at the Hewitt School yesterday, along with many other extremely skilled and talented people.  It was amazing to hear the things these other speakers had accomplished and the ways they went about doing them.

Presenting at TEDxYouth at Hewitt was nerve-racking.  I’m not sure whether it was the blinding bright lights focused on stage, the camera that might not have actually been turned on, or the starting waiting to hear what you have to say, but all combined it was a teeth chattering, hand shaking, heart pounding, anxiety provoking experience . . . not to say those are bad things. Supposedly, there are more people afraid of public speaking than of death.  What exactly it is that is so scary is hard to name. The people in the audience probably weren’t people you would be afraid of talking to.  True, the lights and the stage are scary too, but it’s something about the sea of face that may or may not be judging your every move, that is truly frightening.

Furthermore, knowing that once you get on stage, your mind may go blank, and all you will be able to see is light, and the words that came so easily behind stage rehearsing are now so far out of reach that you may never get them back and in the order they once were. An image of what a cartoon of me on stage would look like me holding a mic in my shaking hand, while the other hand simultaneously blinds my eyes from the light and grabs the eloquent, well worded, genius phrases that are visibly flying from my brain and out the door.  I am really thankful that Ileana Jiménez, my teacher, was able to meet with me and help me solidify what I wanted to say because otherwise I’m sure I would have really made a fool out of myself.

All that said, speaking at TEDxYouth, although at first terrifying, was actually rewarding and rejuvenating. It felt great to be a part of a group dedicated to changing the world and helping millions of people. In complete sincerity, I though the other performers were amazing.  I was especially moved by the incredible spoken word poets Lauren “Lo” Anderson and Mokgethi “Mega” Thinane.  The poems they both created were astonishing and incredibly beautiful.  Their writing stuck with me all day and theirs was the most moving performance poetry I have ever heard. Also, Elizabeth Bloodworth was a great emcee, as she was always quick on her feet and incredibly witty.

Over all, the TEDxYouth conference was truly inspiring and it was incredibly refreshing to see so many other people who believed in fighting for the causes around them.  I know that all the speakers are going to continue to fight for the causes they so strongly stand behind and create a better world for the people their campaigns touch.  Already, just by going and listening to them speak, I feel a desire to do more and to speak out about the things I really care about.

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