In 2009, I picked up my life and moved to Mississippi. These are the letters I wrote, documenting my experiences at Hinds Community College.
Speech Class has me Speechless
When the counselor first informed me that I would have to take a speech class, I was almost insulted. I always believed that my public speaking skills we at level where this kind of course was not necessary. After some thought I just kind of figured to be an easy A. After the first week of class the teacher informed us of the first speech we would need to present. It was an introductory speech. All we had to do was get in front of the class and for 5-7 minutes, avid talk about yourself. You would not believe the complication my classmates encountered. People who came to class everyday wouldn’t show up out of fear to complete presenting their speech. You would assume that at a college level people would be able to perform this kind of task without issue. I had classmate within the first 49 seconds of her speech, run out of the class, vomit in the hallway and hide in the bathroom crying. Needless to say, the set of speeches (for everyone else) didn’t go so well.
The second time around was very different. This time we were presenting narrative speeches where we had to get in front of the class and tell a story of a situation that has changed our lives. I decided to discuss my first trip Mississippi when me and some of my church came to help the hurricane Katrina victims. I thought for sure I would have the most interesting speech, but little did I know what the class had in store for me. One of the less talkative members of my class gave a speech that changed my outlook on a lot of things. She was an older lady, named Kim. She was about 5’6, kind of thick with a thin blonde hair. From her outward appearance, she didn’t strike me as one who would stand out in a crowd, or a flock of pigeons for that matter. She approached the podium slowly, as if she was having second thought about the pain was about the revisit. She opened her mouth and it seemed as if before she even spoke, she released a spell over the room that entranced our attention. She began…..
“A day I will never forget, it was a cloudy Wednesday morning, the day I lost my baby.” I had heard in her previous speech that she had two daughters, but today she would speak about her children who didn’t get the chance begin life. As she began to verbally bleed her past into our minds, she used her pain to paint pictures of her life, as a young vivacious 16 year old girl, finding out that she had been given the gift of life, and than having it taken away under false pretenses.
Her story went as such….. She was always laughing at sixteen she had a great life. She was very popular, she was in love, and was very happy with her home life. Her boyfriend of 2 years and her felt that there relationship had reached a new level, so they decided to begin to act as adults do, in the private time. After a couple of practice runs, she was informed she was with child. Her outlook on things began to change. She spent all her time at home thinking about the future and what she was going to do. She wanted to keep her boyfriend, and her baby. Her boyfriend wanted to also start at family, but her parents never gave her the option. They scheduled the appointment to have the seed aborted. On the morning of the sorrowful day, she watched out her window, awaiting her boyfriend to come by and be her knight in shining armor. Tell her the thing that she wanted to hear so badly. “You don’t have to do this.” She waited all morning. He never drove by. Soon she heard the horn of her mother’s friend’s truck outside. It was time. She went downstairs to the truck, climbed in and cleared her mind. She became numb. She could see past the point that she was destroying a life, for the satisfaction of others. As they arrived at the clinic, she almost couldn’t walk. Her mind had numbed her from all emotion and feeling. They walked into the room where the deed would take place and a nurse began to explain the procedure. As the nurse continued to explain the pain in her heart could no longer withstand its barrier and like a levy she broke, and burst into a flood of tears. She ran out of the room, and outside to clinic. As her heart began to settle she was consoled by her mother’s friend. She hugged her and whispered in her ear, I know this is hard, she grabbed her by her shoulders and said, “Think how hard this is going to be on your mother, she is actually taking this a lot harder than you think.” Kim looked up at her puzzled. The lady explained, “Your mother said that if you don’t do this, she will kill herself.” Kim’s heart stopped. She had to make one of the greatest decisions she would ever have to make in her life. Save her mother, or save her child. She chooses her mother, and in that instant she went back inside of the clinic and had her child, and a piece of her soul removed forever.
As she continued on with her story of trying to move on and regain herself and move forward, I scoped over the room to see there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Kim had poured out her heart on the podium and she was proved that even though it was an experience that scared her in more ways than one, she was able to move forward and share this experience in efforts to touch someone else, and make sure that they don’t make the same mistake she did.
Once she finished her speech I asked her, did she ever confront her mother about the allegations made by her friend? She looked down, and shook her head. She solemnly said “Yes, I did.”, she looked to the window, and continued “Finding out that I gave away my sons life, over a lie, is the part that hurt the most.”