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My Definition of Success

April 30, 2010

Well I managed to keep it together at Toastmasters today.  And by keeping it together I mean I didn’t stutter all over myself or feel the intense need to flee from the room before I broke out in tears.  To me that equals a successful Toastmasters meeting although at some point I may need to re-evaluate my definition of the word “success.”

There was some mix-up in the agenda and despite signing up 2 weeks ago to be the ballot counter, someone else ended up doing the job.  That meant that I’d more than likely be chosen for Table Topics, and I was.  Table Topics scares me more than Maya’s germ-infested lunch box but since I need to learn to speak properly I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Table Topics is going to be a part of my life whether I like it or not.  Trying to come up with a 1-2 minute speech at the drop of a hat is not exactly my forte but I’m happy to report that I managed to pull something coherent together today.  Not fantastic but coherent.  Baby steps, right? 

My question was fairly easy this time – “What happy memory from your childhood home do you recall with fondness?”  Now that I think about it I wish I’d talked about how my dad would wake my brother up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to kill the backyard weeds with a giant container of toxic chemicals while my brother muttered the F-word every few seconds.  Or how my sister stole all the money I’d saved up to buy a Walkman and told me I could have it back only if I could find it.  But I’m not really sure if memories of my dysfunctional siblings would qualify as “fond” so instead I talked for exactly 58 seconds about how great my birthdays were when I was younger. 

I mentioned how my mom would cook up a storm for our extended family and a few friends, we’d have cake and Thrifty ice cream, and my dad would distribute loot bags.  (This last part is a total lie but I didn’t think I could mention that instead of giving out candy my dad was yelling at us kids “To keep it down before I come over there with a stick.”)

People seemed to relate to how nice birthdays were in the good old days.  They nodded appropriately and laughed at times, and nobody threw anything at me.  Success?  I’d say so, even though I didn’t win Best Table Topics speech.  I prefer to believe that was because I was 2 seconds short of the minute I was required to talk for, instead of the possibility that someone had a better answer than me.   Sometimes even a realist can revel in ignorance for a little while. 

I am reveling in the aforementioned ignorance right now, as a matter of fact, as I blissfully ignore the “no’s” and the “you better (fill in the blank) right now’s” that are coming from Maya’s shower.  La la la la la….

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2010 8:08 pm

    i’m so glad nobody threw anything at you! can you imagine?!?!

  2. April 30, 2010 9:35 pm

    good for you for continuing with toastmasters. baby steps for sure.
    i find it funny how us moms become experts at blocking out certain things. have a great weekend Ameena 🙂

  3. May 1, 2010 2:42 am

    I’m so proud of you for continuing toastmasters! Sounds like you did a great job!! 🙂

  4. May 1, 2010 2:44 am

    I give you MAJOR props and admiration for toastmasters. I would probably pass out then and there – I can’t deal with public speaking, especially when it’s about personal things rather than “known facts”! Great job!!

  5. May 1, 2010 2:53 am

    Toastmasters would be such a challenge for me…it sounds like you’re doing a really fantastic job though! Love the part of the story about your dad and the candy! 🙂

  6. May 1, 2010 3:27 am

    It sounds like you’re really mastering the art of public speech!! Good work!

  7. May 1, 2010 3:41 am

    I think this is so great that you joined Toastmasters! I would have a hard time with it.

    It sounds like you did a great job!!

  8. May 1, 2010 4:16 am

    before you know it you will be a public speaking pro! props 🙂

  9. May 1, 2010 4:18 am

    Good job! Yeah, public speaking – I guess you get used to it hey? I was at a rare meeting for that yesterday…I hid behind eating cake…and more cake…and more cake…oye. I should have been speaking!

  10. tra permalink
    May 1, 2010 5:24 am

    YAY for it going well! whew i would die i f i had to public speak! it’s not fun!

  11. May 1, 2010 5:41 am

    Brave of you to stand up to the topic – I think you are almost a master!

  12. May 1, 2010 6:01 am

    I’ve always flirted with the idea of going to Toastmasters, but never actually saw it through. So I admire your sticking through it!

  13. May 1, 2010 6:57 am

    Congrats! I would call that a success! I’d call it a success if I just didn’t break out in hives having to come up with a speech on the spot. I will always admire you for signing yourself up for that class.. go you!

  14. Danielle permalink
    May 1, 2010 7:17 am

    I’d say that’s a success 😀 Public speaking is not easy (for most people)!

    Birthdays are pretty nice when you’re younger. “Keep it down” <– I heard that a lot

  15. May 1, 2010 7:21 am

    good job for continuing and sticking with it! all th epower to you sista! ❤ xoxo

  16. May 1, 2010 9:06 am

    Great job at Toastmasters! My little sister is in Kids Toastmasters (I don’t think that’s the official name). I used to be on the debate team in high school and college (for 1.5 years) and I actually love speaking in public! It’s really weird because I’m super shy and quiet…but it’s something I really like doing.

  17. May 1, 2010 12:39 pm

    i give you such props for even joining toastmasters!

    wow, has anyone ever thrown something at anyone in the past?!?!!?

  18. whydeprive permalink
    May 1, 2010 2:05 pm

    Ameena I just love your posts so much! I think the keep it down line would have gone over well – I nearly peed when I read that (because I was laughing so hard, not because I have bladder problems).

  19. highonhealthy permalink
    May 1, 2010 3:52 pm

    Way to go! Now next time you just need to beat this by 2 seconds and you’ll be winning the best speech for sure. 😉

  20. May 1, 2010 7:00 pm

    Yeah! You rocked it!

    Haha, I remember my birthday parties. Most were really small–just a few friends. But my dad would always take me out to a super fancy restaurant.

  21. May 1, 2010 8:33 pm

    Looks like you’re making good progress. Keep it up!!!

  22. May 2, 2010 6:08 am

    Hey, 58 seconds of a bday memory speech is success. Congrats!

  23. May 2, 2010 11:44 am

    I really don’t know why they don’t ask about the dysfunctional memories we have from childhood – talk about fodder. Maybe they really do want to limit you to 1-2 minutes and know that unleashing such psychological angst could be problematic…
    I definitely like personal definitions of success – so much better than trying to see if I meet society’s yardstick!

  24. May 2, 2010 8:43 pm

    you are my hero for doing toastmasters!! i am actually trying to sign up for a speech class (as in giving speeches, not like speech therapy for a lisp or something lol) for summer school because it’s a prereq for nursing, and i am TERRIFIED!!

  25. nadia permalink
    May 2, 2010 9:16 pm

    meena, too classic! my fav part is always hearing about the crazy things your dad made you and your sibs do as kids;) really cracks me up today, i couldn’t imagine your sweet dad being so hard on you guys. great job on the 58 seconds, would have loved to have been in the room!
    XOXOXO

  26. May 3, 2010 4:51 am

    I would love to do something like that! I hope all the questions are about me, I love talking abt myself. hehehe

  27. May 3, 2010 5:00 am

    I didn’t know you had a sister. Why doesn’t she get the love the brother gets on here? Is she just not as good of a gift-giver? 🙂

    Congrats on making it through Toast Masters without getting booed off the podium. That, to me, is a success!

  28. May 3, 2010 5:32 am

    It sounds like you are doing an amazing job! Public speaking is so scary, I give you huge props for making yourself do it!!

  29. May 3, 2010 7:54 am

    I joined toastmasters 3 weeks ago… and will have go give my ice breaker in two weeks… yikes!

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