I applied to do a TED Talk in September. October I got the call, that among hundreds of applicants I had been selected to be one of the ten speakers. I was ecstatic. The first time we all met, crew and speakers, I was visibly nervous. I was sure everyone could see my heart beating through my shirt as I stood on the TED red dot for the first time and tried to express what my speech was going to be about. My voice made sounds that I didn't know it could as I stumbled through this impromptu presentation. I teach public speaking and speak in front of 150 students every week, why couldn't I get a grip?
Each of these women was talking about something that I could relate to on a cellular level. Each one of their topics touched on an experience that I had lived, or helped a friend manage or was literally thinking about in terms of my future plans. Every word they spoke resonated with me and I think it was the same for each of us. We saw bits of ourselves in one another and seeing that and watching these fortresses of women take the stage and say, "I don't care what you think but you will give me your undivided attention for the next few minutes while I show you my true self," you can't help but feel empowered.
I feel like by meeting them and participating in this event I fell in love with each of the speakers because they showed me what we are all able to overcome, and all the bridges we cross simply for being women but that our resilience is unmatchable, unwavering. It doesn't harden us but makes us kind and compassionate and empathetic.
TED made me not only open my eyes to the amazing people that spoke but also those that dedicated their selves selflessly to make the event seamless and who saw something in each of our applications and brought us together, it also made me fall in love with myself. My mantra for the past four weeks has been, "little black girls like you rarely get to speak to this many people, so say everything that you want to say," and that has elevated me, not only for TED but in the rest of my life as well.
Once again I took alot of words to say, thank you.