Monday, March 2, 2009

Canadian politics and public speaking? Oh, nice to meet you. I'm Rachel.

Well, that was humiliating. We had to present on a prime minister in front of our Canadian politics class this evening, detailing their life accomplishments and analyzing the successes/failures of what they did. I had Louis St. Laurent, which was fine...

Unfortunately, there are several rather brilliant and well-spoken politically minded folk in our class who know a hell of a lot more about Canadian history and politics than me, and I get finicky enough about speaking in front of large crowds. My mouth goes into overdrive, my brain ceases to function, and the feeble overtones of sarcastic humour worm their way into every other word. I breathe an internal sigh of relief if this ever elicits laughter.

So I end up saying really stupid things like, "Yeah, and that whole, uh,*insert name of really big historical issue here* thing....yeah, that was....bad. And, um, yeah. My nickname was Uncle Louis. And children loved me. The book says so." And make it sound as if I haven't put any effort whatsoever into the assignment, when I actually have.

I get similarly worked up when I'm talking to new people that intimidate me with their intelligence (whether or not they mean to be intimidating)....and end up saying things that, while I've fully thought them through, come out like complete mindlessness. And then I instantly regret saying them and wind up backpedaling my way through the conversation, then forward again to make it seem like I know what I'm talking about, then back up some more, until I just fall off the conversational unicycle.

I'm also terrified of ever sounding arrogant, so it's a rare moment when I will solidly back an opinion. This is also because I can usually see the side of a good counter-argument. So sometimes I tend to think that I have no opinions--but that's just stupid and untrue because, really, who in life is opinionless? I just can't argue what I think for crap.

I'd do so much better in life if I could just write everything down. I'm better at saying what I mean that way.

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