I was the kid at school always told to stop talking.
I was the kid who in fact, loved to talk back to the teachers.
I was the one asking questions.
I was the ‘smart mouth’ that was quick to shut down folks if they were ‘having a go’.
I was the kid who was in the plays at school and loved it.
I was the kid who loved the debate team.
I loved giving presentations in front of the class.
In grade 8, when everyone else was really self conscious, I was doing stand up comedy routines.
In grade 9, when no one wanted to stand in front of the class, I was lead in the play.
I liked to use my voice.
But I still wanted to stay small.
I didn’t want to stand out too much.
I didn’t want too much attention.
Grade 10, in math class, my math teacher pulled me aside after class one day and said, “Jenny, you would be really great at maths if you just stopped talking”. And she was right. I did do pretty good at math when I focussed. But I had to push at it. Work at it. It certainly wasn’t effortless.
When I moved from a small country town to the big smoke of the Gold Coast, I transitioned easily.
When the grade 7 bully wanted to ‘meet me on the basketball courts’ to ‘talk’, I went without a bit of hesitation.
My voice seemed to get me in an around any challenge.
As a child, I stood in my room, hairbrush to mouth and gave various speeches. I just liked to talk.
The kids at school, after watching a play I was performing in, would say things like, “That is the best live play I have seen” and “One day we will see you up on the big stage”.
In high school I got A plus after A plus in speech and drama. It was easy. Effortless.
In university I loved giving presentations. One particular day, after I had shown a group presentation video we had prepared, one of the mature age students said, “Far out Jen, you have missed your calling”.
Performing. Using my voice have always been a natural thing for me. Effortless it is to get up and speak in front of a group (most of the time).
Recently I have had the opportunity to see where I am ‘good’ at things. I’ve been doing an inventory on where I am competent and capable and where I am effortless.
Acting was never an option for me, as much as I loved it. Or so I believed when I was young.
I wanted to have a ‘stable’ job. I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone for support. I wanted to be independent.
And truth be told I never thought I was good enough. I know I had glimpses though….
I could I suppose, feel a deep sense of regret that I didn’t choose that route. That I ‘missed’ out. That I have ‘wasted’ my life.
But I don’t. And I do.
I just feel so grateful that it comes easily to me to use my voice. One on one, in groups settings, in larger groups.
I am however, aware that much of my life I have been pushing in ‘math class’. Trying to focus on stuff that I “can” be good at. And for the most part, I am pretty good at a bunch of stuff.
This year, I had the opportunity to know what it feels like to be really afraid that I might not be able to do the stuff I love. And it was a shake up. A different kind of wake up. A walk the talk (pardon the pun) kinda deal.
I’m a great communicator (mostly..hubby would beg to differ).
Those folks who over my life have called me ‘opinionated’ and ‘outspoken’ and ‘bossy’ and ‘just can’t keep her mouth shut’…to them I say thank you.
You are right. I am all those things and they are not a bad thing.
They mean that I wont be suppressed.
I write about lots of stuff. I write about a lot of personal stuff. And a lot of stuff I don’t.
Mostly because I can.
I want to share my life experiences. Not just because it might help someone else navigate their way, but because I can.
And because I can, I will. In fact….I must.
It is me in this incarnation. The one who speaks up. The one one has their say. The one who supports others to have theirs too.
So, here is to using our voices…and in the mission of Simone De Haas, “changing the world one conversation at a time”.
Here is to us sharing our stories.
Here is to us being imperfect. And busted off pedestals. And being brave enough to be ourselves. Even if people throw fruit from the bleachers.
And maybe we change nothing. Not a thing.
But you know, the price is just too high for me not to do what comes effortless to me.
What I love to do.
And I want to use my voice more. Not to fill the air with soul-less words, but meaningful speak.
Frankly I am done sitting in math class pushing at something that in no way interests me. I’m too old and too tired for that.
Effortless is where I am headed….
Next challenge begins soon. And I am ready!