It was time to overcome my terror of communicating in front of a large audience, and I decided to participate in a series of public speaking competitions in junior and senior high school. I was unable to explain even to myself exactly why I was placing myself into a situation where in all probability I would be exposing my greatest weakness (my deafness), but I simply had to do it.
My first attempt with a rap speech I composed in grade eight did not bring me the accolades of success in public speaking I had strived for, however it did provide me with a foundation on which to get over my nervousness and to eventually with a “LOEB Rap Contest” in grade nine.
Bemoaning the fact that I was stuck and suffering from writer’s block, I called out to my mother, who was in the next room working on one of her university assignments. “Mum, I’ve got an idea for this speech in my head about being hearing-impaired, but I don’t know how to put it on paper.” My mum came into my room, wanting to hear more. “The topic is “If I Could See Tomorrow.” I can see it, I know it. But it’s difficult to translate it into my voice. It feels like it’s just a mouthful of words. I don’t think anyone’s gonna understand,” I groaned.
After taking my paper and scanning through it, she said, “Hmm. You’ve got some good stuff here, Emily. Since you’re talking about tomorrow, let’s get your thoughts more organized by mentally putting yourself into a different place. Get your headspace into tomorrow.”
Feeling a little more psyched up, I responded, “Yeah, I don’t have to focus on the now.”
“That’s right,” my mother agreed. “You are a woman of the future!”
“Okay. Let’s do it!”
Going on the premise that using a more rhythmic, rhyming pattern in my speech would make it easier for me to articulate the words, the next three hours saw my mother and I working together to convert my speech into a rap piece on a cassette tape.
When we were done, Mom said, “Emily, let me read your rap composition back to you. Listen to the sounds, the rhythm.” My mother read out the work, and I was focused on the sounds and the rhythm, I was amazed at the outcome.
“Wow! Is that what I’m saying? That sounds great!”
Along with the cassette, my written lyrics were submitted before the contest’s closing date. A week later, I was notified that I had been awarded free LOEB pizza for a year! Even though I was not able to consume any cheese or chocolate for four years because of the medication to correct a chemical imbalance in my ears during my puberty era, I was thrilled that my family could at least benefit from having free pizza for dinner on a Friday night once a month! My taste buds were consoled with the fact that in any case, these dinners did not include chocolate cake.
From this ever so humble recognition of my developing writing and verbal talents, I went on speaking on Woman of Vision Global News Calgary in 2013, hosted a program on SHAW TV Calgary in 2014, and co-emceed Momondays Calgary in 2015. When you are inspired by an idea, learn to trust it, and have the courage to run with it.
Short extract from a memoir – A Silent Cheer: Against the Odds
Co-authors: Emily Roback (James) and Faye Roback Jones
This blog post was written by Emily James. Catch Emily at momondays Calgary! Get your advance tickets here: Buy Tickets
Emily James epitomizes energy, integrity, dedication, and creativity in every detail your stage experience. Emily lived in 20 different communities and started her professional speaking habit at the age of fourteen. She continued rising early and has since built a career as a doctor, author, gunfighter, athlete, safety advisor, and show host. She has worked every aspect of the health entertainment industry representing sponsors, coaches, athletes, professionals, and investors, both in residential and commercial market. Emily uses her experience and foresight to proactively address the details of an event before it becomes a reality. Five words you can count on from Emily James: love, commitment, integrity, passion, and fun. For more about Emily, visit https://www.momondays.com/calgary.