Being Open

Last night a friend of mine and I had a pretty interesting conversation.

I think that everyone has one or two events or situations in their lives that if, as an outsider, you can fully understand, then you can come very close to understanding that individual. For me, it was my last relationship. And as I spoke with this friend, about a third friend (who doesn't know anything about my last relationship) it became clear to me that a lot of what this friend thinks to be true about me would change if she understood what I went through in that last relationship.

We also talked about our relationships with our mother as it relates to sex. That is, neither one of us is comfortable talking to our mothers about sex. This is the norm for many people, I think, but for me, it goes past just sex. My mother doesn't know a whole lot about my personal life. We are both very defensive with each other. She's afraid to ask, and I'm afraid to tell because I don't like being judged and my decisions critiqued without being asked (there are FEW people who can critique stuff I do, specifically and especially as it related to my personal life, that I can accept). In turn, as I just alluded to, I don't open up very well to people. This was an ironic conclusion I came to, not too long ago. I'd always felt that I was the type of person to tell you anything. I don't volunteer information, I thought, but if you ask, I'll answer.

Yeah -- I answer -- but I don't always answer concisely or completely. Why? Cause I don't want to be judged or critiqued. When parents are open with their kids, they provide a safe space. My mother, not wanting me to fall into the same potholes she did, always pointed out everything I did wrong in a situation. Some people take well to that, I did not. In turn, anything I could hide from her I did. I also never became comfortable with criticism. Critcism is unavoidable so I break my back to avoid it. We have yearly performance reviews coming up and I'm dreading them.We can always work on ourselves -- there are always things we can and should do better, and knowing that has helped me to grasp that it's important for me to take well-intended criticism as well as I can.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I care what people think about me. I don't care anymore than the average person does, but I do care what those around me think of me and I have a problem with personal decisions being criticized and critiqued. I don't blame my mother but I do think that our relationship and lack of communication has contributed heavily to why I am that way.


I have finally found a mentor. I don't think he knows he's my newly-elected mentor, but he is.

In finding him, and confirming it, I also realize why having mentors is important.

I like this man. I like how he thinks, I like the way he operates. But what I really appreciate about him is a little harder to explain, but I'll try:

He is a VERY influential man, but if I put his name here (which I won't) you wouldn't have any idea who he is. You would google him (as I just did to make sure I wasn't sticking my foot in the mouth) and find a lot of hits, but only a handful (if that) would be about the guy I'm talking about. In the influential world that I work in, his name can get you reservations and make people pay attention to you. People CARE what this man has to say and if they have the good sense God gave them, they listen and they heed.

He isn't God, he isn't the second-coming, he's just smart. He understands how to talk to people, he understands relationships are the most important things you ever get to influence and make and he makes the most of those. He has a boss and his boss respects his opinion above everyone else. His quiet influence is where I'm trying to be. I don't need groupies, people who follow just because of what they think I have. I want people who listen to me BECAUSE they know I know what I'm talking about. But first, I gotta know what I'm talking about.

Everyday I work with this guy I'm more aware of who I want to be as a leader. I'm more aware of the type of leader I want to be. I can honestly say I don't know anyone who leads like he does... except me. I LOVE it!



I'm confused.

I could pretty much end my post right there, but then what would be the point?

Problem 1:
It has been my plan for almost a year now, to attend grad school in the Fall of '09 to get my Master's degree in School Counseling. The plan was to get my life together and get re-amped to be in school (I so needed a break from class). I also needed to work -- cause a sista got school loans. Since I was little I've wanted to be a Senator. This was always my goal. Then I got older, learned more about myself and our political system and realized that I wouldn't make a good politician. I speak my mind too much -- I think there is right and wrong and rarely middle ground on that. The political world is ALL about the gray areas. I'm not good with the gray areas. We need to talk yes or not, black and white, 1 or 2. I decided to take a job offer in a Senator's office to finally decide if the political scene was really not for me. In the last month, I had begun to wonder if I didn't enjoy the legislative end of politics and if I couldn't stay on the job a little longer than another year.
Then I asked my mom, who I was most afraid of disappointing by not going to grad school next fall what she would say if I told her I was considering staying in politics. Her response? "I always knew you would..." Nobody knows me (as much as I HATE to admit this) as well as my mom. And for her to tell me she felt all along I'd end up in politics has only made me think harder about something I had been trying not to consider.
If I want to go anywhere in politics, have any real future and make any real connections, I need to stay. And though I wouldn't start grad school classes for another year and wouldn't have to quit my job for another two years, these are decisions I can't make until the first quarter of 2009, and by then any hopes I would have to get an application in in time to get in to a school for the Fall '09 will be shot. So I have to decide now...

Problem 2:
Ok... I don't actually think I'm even ready to talk about my other problem. But I guess I can boil it down to one question...
Is it always the better choice to speak your mind? Even when not asked what your thoughts are?