Me & My Muse – Day 301: Just Shy

The countdown begins.  Just two hours remain before I am whisked away to work in a County Connection bus.

With the time remaining, I want it to count.  Search for new opportunities that are available.  Optimism is something that I want to try more and more, as doing the opposite achieves nothing.  “Try hard-er” has become my motto.  My mantra.  My credo.  Every day has its teachable moments and this past weekend was full of them.


On Saturday at the Toastmasters District 62 Spring Conference.   “Find three people that you don’t know and connect with them”.   This was said by Lori Lococo, Toastmasters International Director for Region VI (six districts).  Taking this to heart, I actually managed to exceed this goal.  While these people that I connected with were names I already knew, they were only names.  But the names became people as I got to know them more.

Teresa Childers, during dinner time, in the midst of the loud music blaring from the wedding next door.

Gregory C.N. Smith, at the District Governor’s Reception, where I shared from the depths of my heart how much I cared about Toastmasters and why it means everything to me.  How it’s an escape from the crappy job environment that I have to deal with.  We’ve all been there with our first job, but for me, I feel like there’s no escape.  While I merely introduced him in the morning, I really got to know who he was and was able to “flip my own iceberg” right in front of him.

Paul Artele, at the District Governor’s Reception.  I asked him about the semi-finals at the Toastmasters International Convention.  He shared with me how unimportant the other heats were.  The only one that mattered was the one that he was in.  Again, I have seen him speak a few times, but this is where I got to know him.

Aaron Templeton, at the District Governor’s Reception, where the conversation was focused on what the next steps would be for planning the District Conference in Midland.  While I knew him as an acquaintance, I saw this as a learning opportunity and an opportunity to connect with him even more.

Lorrie Ito,  at the District Governor’s Reception.  I shared the progress of each of the clubs that I was in, including one that wasn’t doing so well.  I have known Lorrie through conversations at numerous District functions.  But in following Lori Lococo’s advice, I wanted to connect.  With connections, you have more than just a name.  For some, you find a mentor, a friend or both.


Next life lesson from this weekend.  Every role in Toastmasters is important – Especially Club President.  This hit home when I was hearing the newly installed Amy Moored appointing her new District Committee.  The Amy that I heard roast Carol about being a Spartan and a Buckeye and having a strict diet of Cheerios.  I heard the names of the new Area Governors, one by one.  Then came the moment of truth.  Area 15.  “Area 15….Michelle Mertes”.  Wait!  They didn’t say “Kyle Walker”.  Maybe there was a mistake?  In looking back on this moment, there was a mistake.  But it wasn’t made by them. The nomination committee knew what they were doing.  It was made by me.  I had every credential imaginable for that role – except Club President.  Club President.  Now I know what I have to do when I get back to my home club.  Also, I was not the only one who lost that night.  Teresa Childers ran for E Division Governor and lost.  After hearing the new Area 15 Governor’s name, I checked out.  A mixture of anger and frustration filled my mind.  Why are these people celebrating?  That night, DTM became all the more impossible to obtain.  Every one was happy, thinking of positive “A” words to describe Amy. In the wrong mind that night, I didn’t have any good ones.  But Amy was “amazing”.  It was me that was the “awful” one.  I let one thing ruin my mood for the remainder of the night.  I wanted to run to the bathroom and cry, despite being a man.  With it being the Kentucky Derby theme, I was “thrown off my horse”.  But like any situation like that, you have to get back on.  I did, and I managed to hide my mood for the rest of the night.


Ah, life lessons.  I think that two from that weekend are enough for now.  But to understand why I got so upset, you need to understand me as a person.  If you have attended Greg C.N. Smith’s session over the weekend,  I am “flipping my iceberg”.

I work a less than adequate job at Little Caesars.  I am stuck in “First job syndrome”, because it’s not my first job at all.  I have had others.  I only get 13-19 hours a week.  This greatly increases my worry, as I would not be able to take care of myself, should something happen to my parents.  With that, Toastmasters is everything to me.  It is my springboard to get that full-time job, not improve it.  Everyone else goes through that program to improve their job.  To be honest, some of you are there because your boss told you so.  I am there to get a job.  Period.  A job that can put a roof over my head and food in my mouth.  This is what I long for and this is what I hope for, with each stride that I make in the program.  And it allows me to network with a higher culture of people, as opposed to my workplace, where you get a different cross-section of the economy.

But fair is fair.  I respect the decisions that were made this past weekend and I will run for Club President.  My goal?  Complete all 10 goals in the Distinguished Club Program.

Now what am I doing to change the situation?  A lot of people complain about their problems yet do nothing to change them.  As far as what I’m doing, I’m making the hard sell as a freelance writer.  My former college instructor should have some opportunities for me.  This what I’m hoping for.  If there aren’t any, I will just “try hard-er”, because trying hard is not hard enough.  Trying hard-er makes you go the extra mile, every time. Like this post.  I am at over 1000 words now.  Not bad, huh?


Hello?  Usually my Muse would say something about now, but she’s nowhere to be found.  Everyone.  Get out your imaginations and brace yourself.  We are about to enter the Realm of Imagination.

*teleports to the Realm of Imagination, appearing next to the Muse’s house*

There’s her house.  Let’s see what’s bothering her.  Knowing that she’s shy, I might have to deal with this issue for a while….

*tries turning knob*

Locked.  Good thing I have a key….

*unlocks door and enters house*

Wow.  Very colorful.  There are oranges, blues, pinks, yellows and greens all over the place.  Stress balls and organized book shelves.  Everything is in order and spotless.

But she is nowhere to be found!  If I were to guess, she is probably in her room….

*walks down hallway and enters bedroom*

Oh.  She’s sleeping.  Shh!

There my Muse lay, on her bed, sleeping peacefully.  Wrapped around her arms was a stuffed rabbit.  Stuffed rabbit?  Somebody’s insecure….

“Hello!” I said in a loud whisper.

My Muse woke up.

“What are you doing here?” she cried.  “I almost wet myself!  Why didn’t I lock it?  I forgot!”

Her face reddened.  “Go away!” she shouted.

“I’m not here to make fun of you,” I told her.  “I only want to help.”

“You’re not here to help!” she shouted, her face beginning to sweat.  “You’re going to make fun of me….G-g-go!”

And just like that, my Muse made herself invisible.  And now she’s….

“LEAVE!” she cried.


In a blinding flash, I was back outside my head again.

This is going to be a major problem.  She clearly wants to be alone, so I should respect that for a while.

The high today is going to be 54 degrees and the silver lining is the sun shining today.

To those of you who have ever dealt with insecure people before, I hope that you all have a fantastic day.


Muse:  Why can’t I talk to him?  I want to, but I’m too afraid.  I need more confidence, then….nevermind.  Forget it!

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