This blog post was written as a third installment in a series of posts chronicling Dr. Ginde’s TEDx speaking experience. The other posts can be found on the TEDx blog, and you can watch the video here:
My relationship with my memory might be my most dubious. As much as I cherish it, I also use it to recall harrowing events about who I once was or how I once felt. Sometimes, we forget our memories and then remember them all at once. Often, when sharing my story, I never know if the fright or excitement that surrounds storytelling will make me feel too emotional to deliver my story that way it should be told.
I walked into TEDx feeling sound. I have told my story countless times in front of numerous people. The night prior, I gathered around friends and neighbors, from which my family and I fled, and told my story one last time before taking the stage.
As showtime approached, I was worried that my commingled feelings of excitement and fright might make me too emotional to give the rock-solid performance that the audience deserved. My story is powerful but filled with painful memories that at times trigger a swell of emotions. Often, I can tell my story without a wince, but occasionally I find myself moved to tears – forced to re-live those powerful memories. I never quite know what to expect but I will never stifle the emotion.
On top of all this, I did not know how the audience, or the world would respond to my story. Would they hear my plea for dialogue and discussion? Extremists had done such a good job hijacking my narrative. But now I’m emboldened by sharing the truth. I knew that I could not let anyone but myself share my story or my memories.
When it was time, I was nervous but ready to share my story with the world. As I re-lived the experience on stage, I felt emotional but grounded. I could feel the energy from the audience in front of me and since that moment, have felt continued support from friends and acquaintances alike. What I have enjoyed most about my TEDx experience and writing my book, The Real Cost of Fake News, has been understanding that when storytelling and truth fall in line it becomes a cathartic experience. I am excited and hopeful for what is to come. I believe hard conversations will be had and our communities will come together and engage in these difficult dialogues. Because when we open ourselves up to difficult conversations, we tend to find a piece of common ground and shared human experiences.