Sep 08

Free Speech, Free Will, Freedom

I was asked once how I felt about speeches. If I enjoyed doing them, for one thing, and if I liked writing them, for another. I replied, simply, with, "Do I like to write them, or am I good at writing them?" That is the question. For a while afterward, she sat down and began to ponder this notion, blinking heavenward and lost in deep thought. At that moment, I swallowed hard, clenched my fingers together, and watched her. And, somewhere in-between the minutes of watching her, I forgot about our conversation altogether. I forgot about her altogether. And I began to think about more than just 'speeches' and 'likes' and 'dislikes'. I began to think about myself, and the things that I enjoy. I began to think about everything. 

No. I don't like doing speeches. They're absolutely terrifying. Especially if they're garnered toward one person, or if that one person is the only one in the room. Makes the whole thing too damn personable, really. 

Yes, I like writing them. It's somewhat cathartic pretending to be confident, I will admit. 

No, I'm not 'good' at writing them. I'm objectively terrible at it, actually. 

My mother and father told me while I was writing my presidential speech that the best-received speeches are the ones that come from the heart, and also those that don't sound like they're purely written on paper, words manipulated into their places by a twitch of my fingers. No, I must gather myself, speak from the bottom of my heart, and say these things. Not recite them. 

I know a lot about my heart. The bruises and cuts and bumps I've retained from years of maltreatment. I don't know a lot about the bottom of it. I do, however, know about the top. The top of my heart houses the most important parts of my life. My mom's voice, full of compassion; dad's laugh, loud and kind; my brothers smile, brightly edged against the light from the sun, grinning his victory; my best friends and their faces; his eyes. The way that my dog cuddles with me when he's starting to fall asleep. 

I'm chock-full of bullshit and emotion and compassion. And I like to use pretty words to describe it all. So no. I'm not good at speeches. I'm not good at writing them, or 'reading' them. But honestly? I wouldn't want to be. Not with all the things I've got in my corner, holding me there, emotions tied like strings around my ribs, curling against my heart, strung through my stomach, fluttering against my lungs. 

I'm not very good at writing speeches. But I'm damn good at writing. And I'll stick with that, I think. 
About the Author: infinitelyinfinite3
Brown person, LGBTQIA+ member, overthinker, and book and music lover. I am not afraid of the Oxford comma, and you shouldn't be, either. ;)