Being asked to describe my skills, I nearly wrote down “communicating.” After all, that is the role I’ve assumed in my work – info and comms – while my partner focuses on training and development. False distinctions, both: we roll up our sleeves and do everything between us based on what’s happening, what’s needed and who’s on hand. But the world likes labels, and job titles, and so we accommodate. We’ve got enough to explain without adding “why don’t you have job titles?” to the list of questions.
Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t claim communication as a skill, because really, to be honest, I’m not always that good at it. I can use my voice – yes indeed, at long last. Persistent and determined practice over the past few years has taught me to say what I want to say, and to consciously disregard that constant nagging whisper of self-doubt and self-criticism that has crippled me with so much worry and regret throughout my life, so much concession to what others might think of me. But using one’s voice isn’t the same as communicating. Communicating involves understanding. Communicating involves amending, compromising, reaching out and above all, connecting.
Communicating also involves an exchange of power, to some degree. Setting the parameters for what may or may not be said, for what determines polite/acceptable/unthreatening discourse or impolite/offensive/dangerous discourse: that’s about power. Mild reprobation rests at one end of the spectrum, censorship at the other.
So what should I do? There I am, lost in the full flowing freedom of my smartass train of thought, enjoying my own brand of humour, throwing out wee wind-ups and making earnest arguments or sarcastic asides or weird little quips of self-referential irony. That’s me. That’s what I sound like to myself. What’s the problem?
Just this: it’s not the first time I’ve hit the send button and received a startled apology on the back of it, a bewildered misreading of where I’m coming from. Communication breakdown! Emergency service call, repair crew to the rescue!!! A rewiring of words to restore enlightenment.
Maybe the Brits just don’t do sass. Maybe that’s what it is…. in fact…. yeah, actually, that probably is very much what it is. Either that or I’m just an unnecessarily rude bitch.
Oh well. There’s nothing else for it. I dance around in the dark by myself, occasionally cackling and just enough out of step that no witch bottle may contain me. Miss Communication, that’s me.