Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Step Up, Step Back

"Be aware of how much 'space' you are taking up in a conversation and when you need to let others have space to voice their opinion".

Yup, I'm in trouble.  One hour away from facilitating a table on helping university students at a "Consultation Fair" and I realize my deficiency in one key area.   My whole life has been about "stepping up" and "being up",  compensating for being too short, too plain, or any other perceived inadequacy that I felt the need to account for by being loud and proud.   This is new territory for me- academic group dynamics. I was just getting used to my white, male, cis, privilege  when all of a sudden I remembered what a loud mouth I am.  In the "real" world outside the leafy campuses and tweedy professors of collegiate life, shouting to be heard is the norm.  Reservation leads to solitude and lack of participation leads to cobwebs and people forgetting your name.  This ain't real though.  Mouthy not mousy, I have to be on my best behaviour   It's not that I don't respect the opinions of others, I just love the sound of my own voice.  I really have to get over it.  There are a lot of people who genuinely make me laugh - so hard in fact, it becomes embarrassing when the brilliance of another's wit leaves you smirking on the Metro, the last bastion of the mad person with a bus pass. Ok, I'm ready - these kids have a lot to say.  They make my job a joy every day, full of ambition and ideas and little fear of failure.  I can't understand why   some staff feel the need to be rude to students.  Is there not a "hubris of youth"?  Was it not so long ago that they obsessed over the right music and the right politics and the right art and the right sex?  I guess amnesia is an antidote for some. I can't forget that I've had it pretty good - no divorces, children to support that don't live under my roof, good health, and a youthful spirit that makes me want to fill the space with my own ambition and ideas.  STEP UP, STEP BACK!!!

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