I watched the award-winning speech twice, first with my right brain and then with my left.
The first time I viewed the 2022 World Champion of Public Speaking, Cyril Junior Dim, I sat back and enjoyed the story, the humor and the emotional drama. The impactful message resonated with me and inspired to write this article. My creative mind was activated.
During my second observation of the speech entitled “Ndini”, I used my left brain to analyze the structure, word usage, and delivery techniques. Click here to view the speech.
It is with both sides of my brain (with help from my corpus callosum) that I write this article.
The foundational phrase of the winning Toastmasters speech by Mr. Dim was “This is me” which translates to Ndini in the Bantu language Shona. The repetition of this powerful message struck a chord in me and caused me to reflect on my own family and identity.
Cyril Dim wove a powerful story around self-acceptance, family and tradition as he reflected on his middle name which came from this father’s language. He boldly asked the audience, “Have you ever hated or been ashamed about some aspect of yourself?” I wasn’t proud of my answer to that question but knew that this was an important topic and worthy of further contemplation.
I suppose that before I can proclaim “This is me!”, I need to ask “Who am I?”.
More than a result of the human reproductive process of my mother and father, I am a Heinz 57 blend of genes and traits from my ancestors from numerous countries across Europe (UK, France, Germany and Italy). I am also a US citizen who represents the values and ethics of my family and friends. My parents and home environment growing up surely shaped me and made me into the woman I am today.
I love and respect my parents and wish they hadn’t left the earth so soon.
Who I am is strong and solid thanks to the love, support and encourage of my parents, my siblings and extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins.
My foundation is a resilient and durable patchwork quilt of genetics, experiences, traditions, and values.
I lived at home with my parents until I graduated from college and received a US Army commission. In retrospect, I should have spent more time with my parents and thanked them more for all that they sacrificed for me but, like most adolescents
I didn’t appreciate what I had. During my teenaged years, I wasn’t as proud of my Mom as I should have been and was often embarrassed by her hearing impairment and her simple words. It pains me to think of how badly I treated her when she couldn’t understand me. My impatience and rudeness were horrible, and I am embarrassed by my immature and selfish behavior. It wasn’t until I moved out on my own and was married that I fully appreciated who my parents were.
Like Cyril Dim, I came to embrace and be proud of my family name and my parents’ values. I know that they are responsible for my strong foundation, my work ethic, and my patriotic spirit.
The words below were read to me recently by my Yoga Therapy coach, Nancy Martch, and truly hit the mark on idea of Ndini- This is Me.
I am steady, resilient, direct and complete.
by Danna Faulds
Here is my past—
what I’ve been proud of,
and what I’ve pushed away.
Today I see how each piece
was needed, not a single
step wasted on the way.
Like a stone wall,
Every rock resting
On what came before—
No stone can be
Suspended in mid-air.
Foundation laid by every
act and omission,
each decision, even
those the mind would
label “big mistake.”
The things I thought
were sins, these are as
necessary as successes,
each one resting on the
surface of the last, stone
upon stone, the fit
the rough, uneven
face of these rocks
in the sunlight.