Apr 28, 2013

Finding your words

People say that the biggest changes in your life come slowly and you don't even notice when suddenly you're a completely different person. The big things are so big you can't see them until you get some distance. This has become surprisingly evident the last couple of days. 

Let's flash back twenty years; I'm an eight year old girl who loves school is good at it but never wants to say anything in class, horrified by the thought of everybody looking at her. We move up a couple of years; I'm now in eight grade and I write a story for my Swedish class that is about a girl dealing with grief. My teacher takes me to the side after class and tells me that there's an author hidden in me, that I have a way with words. I go home floating on clouds after that and it makes me speak up at school - I feel like I have something to say. We head up another couple of years; We're having a class in high school where we're supposed to talk for five minutes each about three things that has formed us in our lives. After the class the teacher writes a note to each of us, mine says; "you have a way with words, people listen when you talk - make use of this gift, it's rare!"

During my last couple of years of high school and start of university I slowly became more and more active during class, I figured out that asking and answering questions actually makes you better at the subject and nobody else knows better than you anyway. It became natural and I forgot that I wasn't always that way.

This week we had an exercise where we had to choose a leader of the class - and I was chosen, which in it's self was a surprise. Me - as a leader? Are you kidding me? The exercise was leading the rest of the group in finding a rope outside on the ground and then make it to a perfect square with all the participants inside - while everybody, including the leader, are blindfolded. It was quite hard and we were outside for an hour and a half! I was a bit embarrassed when we came back inside, partly for taking so long, for shushing people and at one point even yelling obscenities to the rope, but then something really interesting happened... I got really good feedback. Sure there were things I could do better - plan ahead, delegate and keep a distance as a leader as not to loose the overview, things I know I suck at. Most surprisingly though was the fact that people thought I had an innate authority, I was assertive and people felt safe with me. I was a leader - an inexperienced leader for sure, but still, a leader. 

As a little girl I always imagined talking loudly, speaking out, daring to, but nobody ever thought I could so I believed them. I was the quiet girl with her head in a book. It wasn't until I became aware of the fact that words isn't something that is only given to me from a book but something I can create myself - writing or speaking, that I can put something out there, and some of it might not even be half bad, some things might even be worth listening to.

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