As a follow-up to this post, I’d like to let you know that I’ve advanced from writing PRACTICE SHUTTING UP to writing:
Note To Self: Try not to intimidate anyone with your breathing today.
Let me explain.
Sometimes I don’t hear well. It has something to do with standing beneath running jet engines all those years ago. Anyway, when a classmate seated diagonally from me was speaking the other day, I turned to face him so I could be sure to hear what he was saying. I was trying to show that I was paying attention to what he was saying and broke my own rule: Do Not Make Eye Contact.
Anyway, my fellow student interpreted my body language (or my facial expression or my rate of respiration) to mean that I was in opposition to what he was saying and no kidding, put out his hand in a gesture meaning ‘hold on there a minute little woman’ and said, “Wait, hear me out on this.” To which I replied, “I’m just looking at you.” To which the instructor said to my fellow student, “Now you know how I feel when I’m speaking and happen to look over in that direction.” Pointing to me.
Dude, what the hell? I was just breathing. Hence the above note to self the next day.
Don’t get me wrong here. I laughed. The entire class laughed. It was funny. I still thought it was hilarious the following day. Here I am in a group setting, which in and of itself energizes me, and I am struggling, not to censor my comments but to not comment at all.
And not being successful, by the way.
Here’s the deal:
I am a woman. I was born and raised in Alabama. So, I self-actualized inferiority a long time ago. Society made sure of it. The result? I became highly motivated to beat the odds and I think that constantly busting through stereotypes like a bull in a china shop made me the person I am today. To explain how this happened, consider this:
A Foray Into Communication: Are YOU talkin’ to ME?
Sender – The Universe
Receiver – Me
Message – Thrive in a toxic environment or die trying.
Response – Game On!
Then, I received some special high intensity training, or S.H.I.T., early in my career which can be distilled into these few nuggets.
- Shit rolls downhill
- If you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut
- When you’re tired of the shit, climb out of the pigeon-hole you’ve been put in
- Eventually you reach higher ground and you don’t give a shit what others say
As much as I believe that I have reached that higher ground, the fact remains that there will always be times when I need to rely on others to accomplish a goal, and so, I press on, laughing at myself, laughing at the reactions I get from others, laughing because no matter how much I try, I cannot escape being who I am.
That’s what passes for progress.