In a room surrounded by a group of well suited up professional men, I kept trying to speak but words for sure just weren’t coming out. It’s as if nothing passed my lips, because no one was responding. Before long, I realized I had really been speaking all along, but yet my voice wasn’t being heard.
I said something (rather intelligent I might add). I repeated that rather intelligent remark again a moment later, and still nothing. In my head, I thought, “Is this seriously happening right now? Am I really being ignored?” Out of persistence (because well, let’s face it, that’s just who I am) I kept speaking. I got louder in my head, or so I thought. “Louder”, I said to myself, and louder I got, until I finally said, in my head, “What are you all, ignorant”? I, in my oh so normal self, went to let out the exasperated sigh when I looked up and saw all eyes were on me!
Queue OH CRAP music!
Yea, so it turns out that last remark was not in my head after all, but the point here is that I said something that was finally heard.
Now, my “old self” typically speaking, would have had a jaw-dropping moment where I apologized all over myself, cowered away with my tail between my legs, and feared what’s to come, BUT my “new self” which is fully empowered, stronger than ever, and a bit fearless, I’ll add, moved forward with ease!
Here is what happened…..
After finally getting everyone’s attention, I repeated my oh so intelligent remark again, which was abruptly followed by the typical five-year-old response, “why” followed by, “why does that matter”? Before I could provide justification, I was quickly dismissed and talked over.
Wow, what on Earth was this? Honestly, I thought I was in the twilight zone. My mind raced around trying to assess what was going on, and look, I pride myself on being pretty balanced and nondiscriminatory (except for with my diet and food), and maybe I am a bit naive as a result, but there was some serious bias happening!
Seriously, what the flip?!
After moments like this, I like to sit back and reflect on what just happened. My mind was racing at a million thoughts a second, but at the end of the day, when I stacked against everyone else in the room, I was probably one of most highly educated people, and quite frankly held more senior roles in my history than any of the others in the room. So what was it? Was it my hair color, my outfit, my skin tone, or was it the presence of boobs and a vagina? Who knows, perhaps I had a booger on my face that no one wanted to look at, or maybe everyone else was participating in a game to silence me for the day. Either way, I wasn’t clued in, and whichever the reason, I could not quite derive an excuse.
Situations like this are very real, and yes although we’re in the 21st century, ignorance remains. Although some may look at this as a relatively minor instance, for me, although a small example, it is one of a multitude that I have personally experienced throughout my life and professional career. The sad truth is, it can’t in “today’s world” be avoided. So if you can’t avoid it, what do you do?
Well, here is what I suggest…
- Realize and understand you just can’t fix STUPID (unless of course, it’s you, in which case, get busy and work on you!!)
- Believe that YOU individually can influence a change and demonstrate the change you’d like to see.
- Break the norm by calling out the ignorance AND
- Be relentless without compromising who YOU are!
What if you’re the one not listening?
- Scan your surroundings to identify who is there.
- Make a point to acknowledge or make eye contact with everyone at least once!
- Don’t discount inputs received publicly
- Put on your listening ears (truly listen)!
- Know that your actions or even limited actions MATTER!
At the end of the day, change needed in society is larger than you or I, and quite frankly it’s even larger than a body of people banding together, but change must have a starting point to occur. Despite gender, culture, religious affiliations, or even looks, we don’t have a leg to stand on and complain if we’re not willing to raise our hand, open our mouth, and start challenging the ignorance!
You’ve likely heard at some point the phrases “bad apple” or “rotten to the core” to describe another person as it’s been quoted and even sang about by some of the best including the likes of Phyllis Diller, Karl Marx, Van Halen, and the Nine Inch Nails. Not to sound too cliche, but if society is potentially “rotten to the core”, I’d suggest we not spend our energies on digging into a rotten core, but rather plant seeds of change to establish a new core which becomes our future. Say what?
I’m a bit of a realist, and although there have been strides in history on such topics, I won’t pretend to believe there will be a change in society which shows this toxicity flushed out in my lifetime. Heck, maybe not even in my children’s or grand children’s lifetime. Point is, rather than focus on those things of the past, look to the younger generations that you can influence to drive the needed movement and truly establish the resistance needed to combat multi-century old issues like this. Maybe we won’t be around to see it come to fruition and maybe we will, but at least we know that we’ve taken a proactive measure to pave a new pathway for the future of our society.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Socrates
If you halfway enjoyed this read, I’d appreciate a like and a share, but would also love to hear from you! It is through the sharing of experience that we as individuals can grow ourselves and would be excited to hear your story!