Right speech

Today I worked on essays for a special project and had a video interview. The essays and the interviewer asked good questions, and I wrestled with deep inquiry into my beliefs and positions around topics in education.  I felt as though I had bins of colorful rocks I have gathered over the years of beach combing and was now given one day to create a mosaic.  In some ways, I was ready for the challenge and tapped into the flow of creativity that is unrehearsed and unedited.  I also rambled, brain fuzzy with lack of practice.

Speaking to a larger audience than my familiar circle requires an elusive ability to balance.  I was struggling with how to speak the truths of racial injustice as I see them without losing integrity, and yet be strategic in my presentation so that the audience could hear my message without getting defensive.  I don’t know if that is possible, to be honest.  If I am being accountable to the children of color who are being failed in our system, I need to acknowledge the myth of white superiority that our country is founded on.  I need to acknowledge the ways in which our education system perpetuates that delusion.  As a young organizer, however, I alienated friends and family with my fiery demands and I got stuck in good/bad binaries of judgment toward myself and others. I know firsthand the fight, flight or freeze response that can arise when challenged to face the harm of my own racism.  I honor our collective ability to evolve, yet I see how incredibly resistant we can be.

I wondered who was my audience, the committee that will decide the winner.  I needed to provide enough detail to get past the rhetoric and jargon, yet concisely state my point in 500 words or less. In person for the video, I could watch for signs that the interviewer was bored or glazed over or excited and inspired.  Submitting my writing is much harder, like releasing a bottle into the ocean with no expectation for receipt.  So for today, I suspend the need for perfection, for validation. My blog post will be late, my essays will represent my best abilities in this moment. May the words that emerge serve to bring about more love.

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5 thoughts on “Right speech

  1. Sounds like you’re beginning (continuing?) with your end in mind, and that’s a worthy place to start. Approximate and iterate, referring back often to your noble, worthy purposes. I think of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I applaud your effort; I wish you eventual success.

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  2. Many times I think I’ve just “rambled, brain fuzzy with lack of practice” or the sheer exhaustion of life…. or perhaps it is part of aging in my case. In any case, best of luck, may you have great success!

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  3. Your reflective nature is really captured in this slice and you wrestle with what you want to say and how you need to say it to have the greatest impact. Your essays were beautiful and inspiring-thanks for letting me read them!

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