It all started on September 24th when I received my Competent Communicator in Toastmasters, which is the first achievement award after completing the first ten speeches in the program. I am so fortunate for many reasons this month. But the first reason is that I had the club and two mentors who helped me along the way because they believed that I could do it.
It didn’t stop there. On my birthday, October 2nd, I was so pumped up to start the second manual that I proceeded and decided to do my first speech that day. Tori and I also made Halloween cupcakes the night before to bring to the meeting. It was a very celebratory day. It was a way for me to not only celebrate my birthday, but celebrate my recent accomplishment in becoming a CC (Competent Communicator). It made me feel so good that not only my family and friends were supportive of me, but in this case another whole community had my back, just like my Oakpark family did when some of them came to my birthday party the following weekend. I was very happy that most of my family and friends, Oakpark included, were able to celebrate my birthday with me. Having people around me that want to celebrate me for me and no other reason makes me feel wonderful. Having other people in different communities come together to support me makes me feel so good. Knowing that I can not only rely on my parents, but other people to have my back as well makes me feel that I can do anything. I have learned in order to feel successful I don’t always need to have my parents there to help and that for me is so empowering.
Let me give you another example. Cleo and I, who is one of my mentors and very close friends, spent a whole evening trying to figure out how I can successfully read a speech on my own because even though I have a lot of my speeches memorized, some of them I still read. I wanted to figure out a way for me to read it on my own without anyone having to physically stand there and flip the pages. By the end of the evening, we had figured out a way for me to do so. Yes, it was only temporary, but knowing that I had figured out a way with the help of my friend to do something with out my mom made me smile. I’m not saying that my mom is not helpful or anything like that. Growing up, I always felt that she and my dad were the ones with all of the answers when no one else knew what to do. But knowing that I don’t have to rely on them to do the things I want to do opens up a whole new window of opportunities for me.
The fun did not stop after my birthday party. Several weeks later, my friend Hannah who was not able to attend my birthday party, surprised me at her apartment with most of her place decorated for my birthday. I was very touched by this. Especially since she was still feeling under the weather at the time. Aside from having the place decorated, she also surprised me with a cake and awesome presents. It makes me feel so good to be the one that other people do things for because growing up I had to initiate a lot of my friendships. I think that’s why I love surprises so much.
Finally, this weekend I am going to Speak Up Speak Out once again, the self advocacy conference that my brother and I go to. Here, he sells his environmental products and I speak to self advocates to help them learn about the IAMC (Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives). I hope to be one of the key notes speakers at the 2013 Speak Up Speak Out Conference with Cleo. To top it all off, I will get to see Paula at this conference and dress up as a butterfly. I hope she dresses up as well. So as you can see, this month has been a spooktacular month for me on many levels.
Love to all,