Snippets of conversation overheard followed by derisive snorts and unflattering comments. Do I speak up now? Do I shield the ears of the nearby children from those harmful words, no matter at whom they’re directed? Or do I not rock the boat and remain silent?
The question – who do I want to be in a given situation – has come up with increasing frequency. It is the main reason I started this small slice of my website. I don’t want to be silent. I do want to be:
There weren’t a lot of “difficult conversations” around the dinner table when my sister and I were kids. We didn’t talk about current events. We didn’t learn about how to have differing opinions, how to have conversations about them. If there was an argument, I shut down as a childhood coping mechanism. I am learning to hone these conversational skills as an adult and learning new coping mechanisms.
It’s hard. As the recent U.S. election showed, I, like many, live in a cozy bubble with like-minded individuals. I’m not often having deep, meaningful interactions with people on the opposite end of the political spectrum.
When I encounter racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, sizeism, etc. face-to-face within my extended circles it forces me to confront the who do I want to be question.
I have a plan. I will be the person children can come to when they need an adult to speak with safely if / when they have questions. (Adults, you are most welcome to bend my ear too.) They will know this because I will tell them. I will challenge the status quo my way, speaking up – quietly, firmly – when I hear something that makes me uncomfortable. I will challenge my own preconceived notions and biases.
I will be someone I can be proud of.
2 thoughts on “Reflection: Who do I want to be?”
Well said Kate. Good for you! With everything that is going on today, it’s more important than ever that more people stand up. Tactfully.
Thanks, Scot. The tactful part is tough and I’m working on it. One of the great things about hitting 40, tact means something a little different than it did when I was 30. I have so much more to say these days.