Thursday 9 November 2017

Me and my big mouth

Oh man it's been one of those days. Early on I realised I'd put my foot in it with someone and spent the rest of the day feeling really stupid and useless. Then in the evening I was at a meeting where I spoke up about inclusion and again felt really out of step with the feeling in the room. As a result I'm now thinking of ways to avoid seeing or talking to anyone for the forseeable future. This space is - of course - exempt from that.

Talking is what I do. I always have. For 4 years I travelled around the country doing public speaking to Rotary, schools, churches and any other group that would turn up to listen to me. I've trained people and hosted meetings and conferences and I produce and present a radio show. It's fair to say that my voice gets used a lot. However, I don't always think before I pipe up my deepest thoughts and on occasion this has led to me feeling daft and seeing a people look baffled by what I've said. At one point I started to do stand up and when audiences actually laughed I was so embarrassed I'd talk over the laugh so they would miss what I was saying. I wasn't a natural.

Speaking has been my job, it's been my hobby and now it's pretty much all I do. Admittedly the sentences I use are shorter and more commands than conversational, but as the boys grow older I can see that our interactions are becoming less one-sided. I hope that at some point we can even talk to each other like human beings rather than me repeating, "get your book bag," "I said put your shoes on," "Where are your socks ?"

A fair amount of my professional life has been spent in campaigning roles. I have made the case for supporting charities, for equality and diversity and worked to improve the lives of children in institutions overseas. This has made my tone expressive and at times confrontational. The only problem is that when I make a stand I get all wobbly inside and after I've spoken I feel sick and embarrassed for speaking up. It always worries me that I've said too much or made a mistake. I undermine my own efforts by feeling bad for making a stand about something. Others will say, "you were spot on," but all I can think is, "But, did I sound like a screeching harpie ?"

Today I've been called out for expressing how I feel and I've challenged a situation that really is not right. In both cases I am left feeling sick inside. This is why I am not cut out for a career in politics. I just wouldn't be able to face the criticism (real or imagined) and I'd struggle to hold back when something really bothered me. I would appear to be trivialising serious issues when I make light of things - as is my habit. Every now and again I make a decision to pipe down and not to draw attention to myself. This is one of those times.

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