Radvent day 1: Knowing
December 1, 2012
Once in a while I get contacted for an interview, and I LOVE that. I’ve always loved talking about myself–I’m not even going to pretend that’s not the case. (I mean, I’m a blogger.) A few weeks ago I did one for a new online magazine, and it’ll be published in February which seems so far away. But it’s been on my mind and I can’t wait for it to be printed, because I feel like I gave such an honest, transparent picture of the state I’m in today. The questions were really personal and it took me back through this whole year of internal change I went though change and existential crap and it felt so freeing cleansing to talk about things as they are.Â It’s one thing to know something is true for you, and another thing to speak it out loud, make it real to everyone else by physically putting it out there into the world. To clear out all the smoke and take down all the mirrors. Be honest. What do you know? And what don’t you know?
One quality I’ve always liked in a person is when someone is willing to say that they don’t know the answer. Saying you need more time to decide. Saying “I’ll get back to you on that one.” Admitting that you don’t know something shows more wisdom than firing off a bullshit answer, even though I’ve done a lot of BS-ing in my time to get people to take me seriously (which is really a disservice to my true accomplishments and identity). In general I think it’s a mistake to be really, really sure about anything because the only thing you can know for sure is that things change. However, just because things change doesn’t mean you can’t live according to a set of beliefs. Even without knowing things for sure, holding on to our own truth is enough to bring clarity to navigate a world full of change.
Here are five things I know.
1. Having an opinion is not optional.
But speaking is optional. (I’m working on this one.) I’ve had some super-rude moments in the last year that I don’t really know how to reconcile. Whenever I speak my mind, I never regret it, but I know that doesn’t mean it’s always tactful to do. A few months ago, I was at a business lunch and the leader of the group mistook me for “just a wife,” in his words. “Oh, I thought you were just a wife here.” No, I’m one of the founders here today. I was invited here. By you. This week I saw him again because I was speaking to his class at a local college. I introduced myself and he didn’t remember me, and I said “Yes, I went to that startup lunch and you said you thought I was ‘Just someone’s wife.’” He said “Oh yes, now I remember” and didn’t make eye contact with me for the rest of the night. Megan. Why do you do this.
2. To get to know someone ask, “Tell me what you’re excited about right now.”
I’ve always had trouble with small talk. I’m not one who can fake genuine interest and I’m always really self-conscious that people can tell that I don’t feel like chatting. But it’s easy for me to start by asking questions. The more I give others the chance to talk about themselves, the more we open up to each other and find things in common. Caring is a talent to keep cultivating.
3. You’re never anonymous.
Even if no one ever knows it was you. Call it superstition, call it latent Catholicism, I do believe that what you put into the world comes back to you. If you wouldn’t do it when people are watching, don’t do it when people aren’t. It gives the actions you DO take when people are watching more meaning and weight.
4. Being afraid to do something wrong has a lot to do with being afraid to learn.
This year I feel like I failed at many things–CAMP, blogging, growing Princess Lasertron, and I know I’m still in a transition of deciding what to do about it all. The truth is that nobody is keeping score except me and I’m realizing that these “failures” aren’t so much a function of my own error as a sign of my priorities changing. You’ve all watched it play out on this blog, through my Twitter account, and however else you keep tabs on my life online, because one thing that hasn’t changed is my tendency to overshare every detail of my life. As I move forward writing on this blog, finishing my book for release in 2014, and growing Hello Holiday, it’s awesome to feel like I’m moving on from my past to greater challenges.
5. Don’t have heroes you’ve never met.
And if you do get the chance to meet people you admire, appreciate them for their humanity. Holding them to any higher standard than that is unfair to them and a sure way to be disappointed.
“Do what you know and perception is converted into character.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today, think about what you know for sure.
Make a list of things you’d like your daughter or son, or a good friend to know.
Ask the person closest to you to meet for coffee and share your favorite thing you know about them.
The more I learn about new subjects that interest me like feminism and best practices and retail and equality issues around the world, the more I ask other people about what they know passionately, and the more I share what I know (and you’ve got an earful of that if you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure), the more confident I feel and the more the smoke and mirrors come down. More more more. How many times can I say “more”? It’s nice to feelÂ more.
Writing your own Radvent response? Share the link in the comment section below!