We spent most of Boo’s second year of life encouraging her to use her words. She would become frustrated about something and would get all stompy and arm-swingy. “Use your words; tell me what’s going on and I can help you fix it.”
Of course now that she’s got the vocabulary of a 45 year old truck driver, we spend a lot of time telling her to hush. I digress.
Using your words is powerful, because it means that you’re able to identify and articulate what’s going on in your head. I know that when I don’t have a forum–like a blog, or even a group of real life people (fancy that!)–I tend to lose focus. There’s nothing being said, so there’s nothing to be done. I’ve always sought outlets for expressing what’s on my mind. In the immortal words of Hedley Lamarr, “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” Ditto, Hedy (“That’s Hedley“).
The flip side to this coin is when I have something to say about something important, but nobody is listening. It’s a given that not everybody is going to care what someone thinks all the time, but there are instances in which it’s necessary to pay attention to what the stakeholders are thinking. That really bothers me about my job–nobody ever asked me what I thought about it, or gave me a say in the matter. It just happened. It was just decided that henceforth, I would be over there, doing that other thing. My skillset, my background, my plans, my goals, none of that mattered. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year devising responses to the questions and conversation that I feel should have included me.
Not having a say really pissed me off. I spent a lot of time and energy being pissed off, too. I cared a lot about them not caring. I was like that crazy chick in Fatal Attraction (YIKES SCARY ALEX) and I was all “well I’m not going to be ignored!” and that’s quite possibly the least productive approach I could have taken.
Turns out, I was going to be ignored. I’m likely still going to be ignored for as long as I’m there. It’s probably to my benefit if they do, as they tend to manage like seagulls. If they’re ignoring me, at least they’re not screwing my stuff up even more.
Which leads me back to my topic of using my words. My voice is powerful. I’m funny as hell (ask anyone). When I am at my best, I have a way of bringing the people around me to their best as well. I am one hell of a counselor because I know how to lead a conversation toward a solution without being all bossy and Lucy Van Pelt about it (five cents, please).
Why is this relevant to organizing? Because organization is a solution. It’s not the singular end-all, be-all solution to every problem, but sometimes just clearing a path through the chaos helps. And I can help with that. Clearing that path is like finding your own voice amid all the static.