As a drama queen I believe that the world is my stage, so as I walked into the debate room for the very first time, I held my head high and mighty with great expectations for what was to come. I expected there to be an epic battle of combatant words, and I of course expected myself to emerge victorious. However, that day there was to be no harsh exchange of words between future friends, for the assignment assigned to us that day by our future mentor was neither strange nor foreign, for she simply requested of us that we speak from our hearts. I hold dear to my heart the notion that passion speaks truth, so I chose to speak upon the tragedy of Darfur. As I waited somewhat impatiently for my turn to speak I began to think of all the different points I would bring up to enhance the impact that my speech would bring about.
Remembering that day that jump started my passion in life, and looking past the inherent truth that the first impromptu speech I ever gave was far from well done, I clearly remember believing, if just not for an instant, that words made an impact, that words mattered. I remember believing that the upcoming speech I was about to give would have to change someone, simply because of the magnitude of the subject.
As I walked up to the front of the classroom, I knew nothing of structure, I did not have three main points, nor a definite conclusions, yet still in my heart the subject of Darfur pulled on the tightest of cords. I remember believing that my introduction was simply dynamic, and through all my other blunders and mistakes, I knew my purpose was pure. I remember standing up before my teacher after the speech had concluded breathing heavily and not really sure of what I had said, yet still I stood there proud, and believing that someone must have been touched by arguments made against the travesty, but out of all the memories I keep with me of this day, I will never forget the reaction of the teacher to my speech, for the tone and the words uttered by her are stricken within me forever. She said, “So what, I already knew what. So what?” I could have easily answered this now, but at that time the shear impact of the words had rendered me speechless and unable to respond. She had spoken as if what I had said was common knowledge, but if genocide is common knowledge then there should be no genocide. I remember believing for a second that I could change the world with my voice, that if I could make her understand, that perhaps something or someone would change.
I believe in a world where words inspire. I am not so optimistic in my thoughts to believe that with words I alone can change a world, but I am not so pessimistic in my thoughts, as well, to believe that I alone can not leave a footprint. I believe simply that words incite action and its action that leads to real change.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.