Friday, November 21, 2008

My Mother, My Self

My mother is 72 and both a mentor for me and an occasional pain in my side, but she has taught me everything I know and she is still busy trying to teach me everything she knows. She is now retired and is throwing herself into whatever activities interest her. She is currently involved in an educational program for the elderly run through a small division of the state university. She called me the other day to ask about e-newsletters and how it might help this program promote their classes. She has been agitating for the school to make some changes and to update themselves. She let out a big sigh...... "I think I am just a loudmouth."

I could hear myself sigh. I had just been contemplating the possibility that I might be a loudmouth.... then I hear her admitting to a streak of loudmouthness. I am sure this must be genetic. Right when I had just gotten over the hurdle of looking like my mother, now I have to deal with behaving like her too?

This self reflection on loudmouthedness started about 3 weeks ago when I attended a board retreat for a non-profit I volunteer with. I feel I spoke up more than might be seemly... especially for a little old art major in a sea of lawyers and bankers. And this is my own twisted view of the world, but there was only one other woman on the board who spoke up with any kind of consistency and in a challenging way. I know the other women who serve are bright but they seem to lose their voice in these situations.

Sometimes I think I speak up not just to make a point but to get a seat at the table. If you don't speak up you are relegated to the role of do-er or assistant. Doing is a good and important thing.... someone has to get the work done, but I want to be part of the policy making. And I definitely see this as a gender based difference. A difference that I am not immune to..... so I struggle to behave like that woman I imagine myself to be.

Does this make me a pushy bitch loudmouth?


Michelle said...

I have so much to say about this, give me a while to get the right words!

Michelle said...

Lets try this again. Do I think you are a loudmouth? no.
Do I think you are opinionated and a tad pushy...hellyes. SMC, you come from a family of loud, opinionated strong, smart people. Large family. Had to be heard.
Do I think it is because you are a woman and have to fight to be heard? Thats not my experiance of the world. It might be yours.
(see, not so mean)