Take Up Space

My sister just shared this video on Facebook and I immediately was sucked in. It reminded me of fast poetry and the likes of something I would watch and be interested in – in college, especially during my feminist stage. Regardless it is the message that is so important. “Take Up Space.” Yes, do it. I finally did.

After so many years (and something I have often blogged about) where my dad was so keen on reminding us that children were to be seen and not heard, it took me to my junior and senior years of college to realize I was NOT taking up any space. Being seen and not heard was so ingrained in who I was, that I did not know what it was like to say what I thought. I was on the quieter side. Eventually through my women’s study classes, and learning more about “voice” I realized how much I really had to say.

In order to truly speak up and talk I needed to take up space. A novel idea to someone who for so many years was basically told to be invisible. I know I was/am like so many women that struggle with taking up space. Instead of hiding or being quiet — instead say what you need to say. Say it again. Take up some space.

x

Thank you for sharing, sis.

What if you became invisible?

I am not going to lie, I shed a tear. Well a few throughout this video. It hits your emotional core. It makes you think what if that were me? Well at least that is what I thought. See I remember a time as a kid when we almost became homeless. My mom was sick and did not have a job, our house was foreclosed on, and we did not know what would happen next. In the end we never lived on the streets, or in a homeless shelter. My sister stayed with a family friend, my mom went into a nursing home, and I stayed with my grandma. So we were split up, but we had a place to live. I am saying all this because I should have compassion for the homeless, and yet I walk on by like many do.

Which maybe is why this video had such an emotional twist for me. It is a video I found on Fast Company about how we usually walk by the homeless. I have to admit with the magnitude of homeless individuals we have in Portland it is easy to walk by without noticing. Maybe it is because you never know if you can trust whether or not the panhandling is legitimate or not. This video, however, makes you look at it in a different way.

First, a bit of context. The New York City Recuse Mission set out to show folks the invisibility of homeless in New York. They approached a few individuals to pose as homeless people and then had them on the street as their family walked down that same street. Their family each walked by without recognizing them. It was all caught on video, and the family was later shown how they walk right past their loved ones. It is all part of their campaign: “Have the Homeless Become Invisible?” I love the idea. I could use my own waking up on interacting with the homeless in Portland.

What did you think? Any change of thought? A bit of a mind shift? What if that was you?

Conversations Matter…

Every day, every interaction is a story. Often the stories that unfold in front of our eyes, are not fun. There can be events and actions from others that transpire and make our story turn into a drama. Other days the story is a comedy and we laugh and have fun throughout the process. Regardless of the genre of our story, the key to it all is that we have control over how we act and react to the stories that fill our days.

I just finished reading the book: “Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian, and Al Switzler. It is such a great book both for work and personal life. I took copious notes of ideas that I could use in a professional setting and at home. I am the first to admit that I am not always on my best behavior each and every day. Sometimes an individual’s comment spark the wrong bone in your body, and a reaction occurs. Another individual can make you feel angry, frustrated, hurt, even invisible. There could be a multitude of emotions. What I loved about this book is it helps you to take control of your emotions, be upfront, and not hide behind difficult conversations.

“If we take control of our stories, they won’t control us. People who excel at dialogue are able to influence their emotions during crucial conversations. They recognize that while it’s true that at first we are in control of the stories we tell—after all, we do make them up of our own accord—once they’re told, the stories control us. They first control how we feel and then how we act. Any as a result, they control the results we get from our crucial conversations.” Page 111

Where I sometimes struggle the most is how the story controls us. At times, the story of the day agonize us. We lose sleep, we go on and on about the drama to friends, family, or our spouse so they can feel our pain. Other times we might discuss the issue and talk it out as a resolution so that tomorrow we can rewrite our story. How then can we keep the conversation in our control? How can we ensure that the conversation (especially the bad ones) do not control us, make us unhappy, and mean that we lose sleep? We are all writers for our stories. We decide what will bug us, or get under our skin. We decide what controls us.

What will you decide about the stories you create today?