Night of the Notables – Events and reflection

Phew! It’s been a wild ride. I can’t believe that this year is my last year of Eminent- last year of TALONS. It’s hard to describe how I feel thinking about it. I’m relieved that I’m able to settle down and relax until In-Depth, but I’m also sad, because I keep finding myself thinking about what I’m going to do next year, but then remembering that there won’t be one.

My goal for the night was to represent P!nk in a way that maybe some people haven’t seen her: present her weaknesses and how she overcame them. In my speech I wrote of something personal she had to overcome with her daughter, facing adversity because of the way she looked and not how she sounded. I wrote an entire blog post about my speech and the writing process [here]. As I said in that post though, I wanted to talk about how I felt during the day leading up to is as well as actually presenting.

I know that everyone was nervous, even the class’ most talented and performance inclined. I think that there’s a stress associated with the grade 10 Eminent night that you can’t really understand until you feel it. The pressure being a mix of not wanting to mess up your speech in front of a large group of people, while wanting to accurately portray your Eminent person through emotion and acting.

The entire school day leading up to presenting our speeches, I was nervous beyond belief. To be honest, probably the most nervous I’ve ever been for anything in my entire life. I’m generally a calm person and try not to work things up more than they should be; I believe that if someone stresses and frets, the more panic will actually ensue. This philosophy did not work for me that day. My stomach felt twisted, like if someone were to wind a rubber band until it was on the verge of breaking. The tension was incomprehensible. Not only did this affect my mood and how I was feeling the entire day, it affected my physical being. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t relax, and it had taken it’s toll on my sleep the night before. Every time I thought of walking out on stage, my heart beat would increase and I’d start sweating.  Inevitably the time rolled around where we were all huddled backstage, the entire class in a chaotic-neutral panic to try and squeeze in one more run through of their speech before they had to go on. Someone suggested a temperature reading before we were to present. Everyone was rating their moods at an eight, nine, ten. I said four. The worst part for me wasn’t that I had to speak in front of 200 ish people, it was that I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I was expected to accurately portray someone else that I’ve never even met, and failing would not only shift the audience’s perspective of me, but more importantly her’s. It didn’t help that I was going third.

The feeling I got when I walked on stage and presented my speech felt almost like I was in a dream. It’s like I barely remember it, but at the same time like it happened yesterday. For some reason, my clearest memory is walking backstage through the curtains. After that, the rest of the night was incredible. Everyone relaxed and was just happy to get the speech over with. In a way, going third paid off because I held the curtain during the second act. Because of this, I was able to talk to everyone going on/coming off. After our speeches, the learning center part of the night was smooth sailing. The engaging part of my learning center was singing with people, and I was very surprised by the amount of people actually willing to do it. I really enjoyed being able to  unwind and play some guitar between the people coming and going throughout the evening.

A way that I could have improved was through my speech. I was so focused on trying not to screw up what I was saying that I couldn’t concentrate on the actual presentation aspect. I feel as though I wasn’t as convincing as I could have been portraying P!nk and what she’s like on stage. This being said, I couldn’t help my nerves so I suppose that this is just something I have to learn through repetition.

I’m thankful for all my peers who were really extraordinarily supportive and made a large effort to try and calm me down when backstage. It really means the world to me how many people gave me advice on how to calm down or talked to me, even if I haven’t particularly talked to them one-on-one before. I appreciate ya!

Overall this Eminent is definitely something I will remember for years to come. It was pretty scary, but it was really fun. I’m glad it’s over, but I wish it had just begun.

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