On February 26th, I will be performing at the Broad Stage to raise money for charities including CHIME Charter School, for which I’m on the board of directors. For this performance, I adapted a piece I had done at a spoken-word show two years ago to make it more dramatic. Comedy is my strong suit. Writing a piece that was more on the dramatic side was a challenge because I’m a smartass. I snuck in comedy. The most challenging part is going over the piece for pronunciation. With a speech disorder, not everyone can understand me as easily. I’ve spent the past three weeks on the phone with my speech therapist for forty-five minutes going over a fifteen minute piece. When I started practicing, my speech therapist noticed that I was straining my voice. My confidence in speaking came from overusing my vocal cords by bashing them together. For the first week, I got off the phone and had to only speak at a whisper. I had to relearn how to speak, focusing more on moving my mouth properly then tensing my voice. There were days where I just wanted to crawl into bed after practicing because I felt so drained. Realizing that I had been speaking incorrectly for so many years and trying to reprogram my brain was frustrating, especially when I wanted to yell at my three barking dogs. The thing that got me through it was knowing that what I had to say was important. My speech therapist, friends, and family were all very supportive. Throughout moments of frustration, I reminded myself how much I’m an attention whore. The stage feels like home to me. If performing came naturally to me, I wouldn’t like it as much. I like coming off stage and feeling like my work has paid off.
February 16, 2011