For several reasons that you would likely not find very interesting, I have moved around a lot in the past few years. I am happy to report that I now have some stability and am making my new town feel more like home. I should have been more involved in my previous communities, but I treated my timetables as a barrier. Looking back, I wish I had a different outlook. But alas, I am involved now…or at least I’m working on it.
This probably comes as no shock to any of you, but my political views are left leaning. I can respect the life events and circumstances that brought you to your own unique set of beliefs, so I hope that you can return the sentiment. Instead of being the person who complains about the world as it is, I am really working to being a catalyst for change. It is recited to a point that makes it cliché to say, but I feel really moved by Gandhi’s call to be the change we want to see in the world.
So, I decided to attend a meeting of a local political group. I was nerdily (new word but completely appropriate & don’t even worry about it) excited. Let me say the most important part first: I truly believe this group is a well-intentioned, intelligent, kindhearted collection of local leaders. As long as committed to social justice, I will proudly be an active member of their organization.
That being said, I had a notable moment. As I was meeting and talking with different members of the group, one of the more prominent members approached me to make an introduction. (I’m all about disclaimers, so let me stress that he seems like a wonderful person before I tell this slightly unfortunate story.) He asked what I was hoping to gain from my participation. I was a little caught-off guard, but I thought I explained my nature and desires in an articulate manner for a new member. (See that “new member” disclaimer that I casually worked into my thought? Expert.) I essentially explained that I have always been a team player, and as a new member, I’m particularly interested in finding the gaps and helping with those deficits first and foremost. He politely responded by vaguely noting a few areas that I might be particularly helpful. And then he stopped talking, and everyone felt great about the situation and went on with life. Unfortunately, that is not true.
He politely responded by vaguely noting a few areas that I might be particularly helpful. AND THEN, he said, “Don’t be bashful.”
I thought it was an odd comment. I have been called a lot of things…A LOT OF THINGS (I’m good at disclaimers and emphasis). I have never in my life been described as “bashful” or “shy.” For the moment, I wrote it off as a strange encounter but not much more than that. He was a seemingly kind, charismatic person, so I didn’t investigate anymore. ON MY COMMUTE HOME, well, that was a different conversation that I had with myself. Do you think he would have said that to a male colleague? Do you think he would have said that to an older colleague?
I could be reading too much into this situation. And again, this is in no way anonymous character assassination. I truly believe this individual would never intentionally speak to me in this manner, and I am not discouraged from pursuing a role in this organization or a relationship as this gentleman’s peers. Even though we have come a long way in how we treat other people and I am so pumped about that, we still have societal biases that override our conscious decisions to treat others as equals.
Regardless, forward progress nonetheless!