In Kelly’s Words – I did a TEDx Talk!
I have done a lot of public speaking since we started the KBF. It started with ski racing groups (ski academies, USSA, conferences, etc.). Then we started doing more events, Boston, Vermont, Denver, San Francisco. I am usually talking about my experience with having a spinal cord injury, the Kelly Brush Foundation, or active lifestyles generally and why that is important. The more I do this, the easier it seems. And especially when I’m talking about the same things often, I kind of have down what I say.
A couple month ago I was asked if I wanted to give a TEDx talk at Middlebury College, my alma mater. At first I said “sure” without thinking about it much. Then I began to realize what it meant to give a TEDx talk, and I started to get really nervous about what I was going to say and whether I was going to be any good at delivering this kind of talk. TEDx (and TED) talks have a few rules. First, it needs to be no longer than 18 minutes, but should be right around that time too. Second, you cannot read or use notecards or any kind of aid when giving your talk, it should be completely memorized. And finally, at each TEDx event there are multiple speakers who are all given the same theme and you create your talk around that theme.
The theme for my TEDx talk was “(Un)Hinged”. There was a long description of what this meant, but the part that I focused on was this: “(Un)hinged tests the boundaries of our ties to ourselves, each other, and our collective identities; much of our daily lives are shaped through interactions with each other and the world around us.” When giving this talk I knew I wanted to focus on my experience as someone who uses a wheelchair and with this topic I decided to focus on perceptions that people often have about wheelchair users. I didn’t want to shame people or get up on a soap box and preach about what everyone should be doing. But I did want people think about themselves and what perceptions they may have, and hopefully have them challenge themselves to rethink those. Who knows if I got this across, but that was my hope!
At the end of the day, I spent a really long time working on exactly what I wanted to say and then memorizing it and getting used to delivering the talk in a somewhat engaging way. I did a lot more preparation for the delivery of this talk than what I do typically when I give a speech and I think that was really helpful. My hope is to translate this to make the talks I give in the future more engaging. We’ll see!
Dylan and Baby #2 Update:
Dylan is skiing! We’ve been getting her out of skis every couple of weeks for a few runs and she has been getting more and more comfortable with it. Because I’m not skiing this winter because I’m pregnant (side note: everything is smooth sailing with the pregnancy right now!), Zeke has been doing all of the skiing with her. This make me a little sad but I’ve also been able to watch from the bottom a few times and seen videos so I’ve felt involved to some extent. I also know that next year will be a much bigger learning year for her and I’ll be able to be more a part of that. She mostly has been skiing between Zeke’s legs but last weekend she did some of her first “turns” on her own without being held by Zeke. She skied down to my mom who was standing at the bottom and she did great controlling her speed and stopping on her own. It was awesome! (I saw the video.) She says she loves to ski but she definitely loves the hot chocolate that is promised after every day of skiing! We’re not above that bribe!