I gave a talk at a local high school girls about beauty, self-esteem and body image.
I got to the school early, while the students were still in their last hour. The Administrative Office didn’t know where I was supposed to go, my two contacts weren’t answering their phones. Now, I went to a lot of different schools K-12 and so being lost in a school is not new to me, so I started wandering around. Finally got a call from my contact who said that I needed to find "The Gold Room". That was great, except all I saw were rooms with numbers. Out of nowhere I hear someone yell "WHERE"S YOUR PASS?".
That was when I discovered that you just never get over being scared of hearing that in a hallway. I panicked – "Oh crap, where IS my pass? I’m in the hall without a pass!" Of course that was all going on in my head as the teacher rapidly approached. As he got within a couple of feet of me I suddenly realized that he probably just meant an administrative pass (after all, I’m 32 years old, I was wearing business attire and carrying a briefcase). I smiled and said "I’m sorry, I don’t have a pass, do I need to go back to the office and get one". He said, in his best stern teacher voice "You know very well, you get it from your TEACHER". Barely avoiding doing a butt-shaking "I got mistaken for a high school student" dance, I explained who I was and what I was doing and he took me to the room.
The group was very interesting, girls who had made the choice to join a program for the express purpose of expanding their frame of reference. They knew each other, were comfortable with each other, and were very engaged. I was upfront and honest, like I always am, telling them my story. Then I moved to the meat of my talk, I wanted the take-away to be the fact that teasing never does any good and that the best thing that you can do is remove yourself from the situation. The girls were really responsive, and we came up with a lot of things to say to a would-be teaser.
Some of the ones that I have used in the past are:
"Thanks for sharing your judgments with me"
"Thanks for taking the time to give me your opinion, I’ll give that all the consideration it’s due"
"I appreciate you taking the time to share that with me"
I had a wonderful time, the girls really liked me and are going to be sending me some testimonials, and it all went well. I’m so excited about doing more of this.