Thursday, October 13, 2016

Humans of Downey - Charlene


"One thing I can do today that I couldn't do a year ago is to get in front of an audience and speak with confidence. The job I had for years required me to get in front of an audience, but I was always uncomfortable with it. I would tell my boss that when I get in front of an audience, I turn crimson. He said, 'Missy, they don't care what color you are. They're listening to what you have to say.' So, he sort of startled me and I had to decide, 'Am I going to be out in the forefront or am I going to stay in the background?' But I was too creative to stay in the background, so he said. So, I did speak in front of others but I was always crimson. I thought I could never get over it. And yet, this class, the Memoir Writing Class facilitated by Bonnie Mansell, has given me that confidence that I needed and crimson doesn't happen anymore. It's because Bonnie makes you feel safe while speaking, while sharing something personal.

"The first story I read in the writing class was about how to master the unicycle. I have an everlasting photograph, which I quoted in the paper. We still have it in our house. I was probably 13 at the time and I did it for my uncle. He had daughters who couldn't ride it and the guys couldn't either. I was determined to do it. It's weird to ride a unicycle, you're holding onto air. My dad got us started in the garage where he had us hold onto a pipe. Then we would let go and crash. But soon, I would go for three feet, then five feet, and pretty soon I went to the end of the driveway. Soon I could ride up and down my street. That was my first story."
~ Charlene

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