The Voice and Brown-Eyed Women
Whilst I await the finishing of my washing so that I can go to bed and sleep for around five or six hours I got thinking, as I often do, about language. Rather than looking at communication as a whole, what about fixating on the spoken word.
I have heard that language, as in the human language, that you learn can affect the way in which you view the world. I think you can go deeper than that. Not just surroundings, but I reckon if you have wonky teeth, or you have some kind of jaw pain, or tooth pain, I think it can affect how you express yourself, which affects how you are interpreted and how you interpret yourself.
Then you have nerves. I am a nervous person. I’m not used to the sound of my own voice and I don’t know why but I’m hugely self-conscious. I wish I wasn’t because it must be irritating for others. “Would you mind awfully if I eat the last piece of bread?” Constantly apologising in case I’ve offended someone and constantly feeling like I’m in the way or in some way an imposition to others. Where does that come from? It’s not how I was brought up. I recall as a child feeling upset if I won at a game. Adults to me then, I recall, were a bit like kids that you needed to keep happy, but that was all in my head. Like a cute innocent puppy would be to upset, I felt that way about humans. Family at least. Connections with other people are different.
Looking at some youtube video online, I see strong people. Inspiring people. People who get things done. You can’t be like that and worry constantly about what people think. But you also need to retain who you are. I recall saying to one of my managers when I was working in Taunton that I thought it must be difficult to become a manager and keep who you are. I often think that must be difficult. To have to impose rules handed down to you that you don’t necessarily care about. Do you tell the person that it’s been handed down to you or do you pretend that it’s part of your belief system? This is nothing to do with language so let’s claw that back. Sense of self. Honestly, who are we? Really? Do you have a sense of self that’s always there or does action take over? I’m particularly thinking about situations where we are in front of lots of people.
Put me on a stage to talk to a thousand people and I won’t perform very well. I’ll think about the institute that got us there. The amazing sight of all those people all fixated on one thing at once, even before I get to the idea of it being me. I would care what those people thought of me and I wouldn’t. I have a strong sense of style which I’ve never exercised. I like loud, colourful clothes. I like hats. But on me? I’m not someone who decorates himself. Apart from piercings. And of those I have eleven. All in my head. And more because I was hungover and curious as a teenager. I don’t wear most of them these days, partly because I was never in love with how they look, but I am also concerned about looking like the pretentious teen I once was. Quiet, certainly, and damn everyone who criticised me without knowing me. That’s the fear. The fear of looking pretentious, and people can smell that like old people can smell cigarette smoke.
So how do people feel when they speak in public? How do people who are good at it feel? What sets them apart from me? The people that do it apparently confidently? Confidence is there. They already know they can do what they’re doing otherwise they wouldn’t put themselves forward for doing such things. That’s more confidence than I have. There is, I would assume, less confidence there during the actual talk than is apparent, and that’s a big part of being able to do what they’re doing. Of course they get nervous, but they hide it well. It is apparent, quite often, when people are talking and are nervous, but it’s endearing and doesn’t ruin the entire talk.
Knowledge. Confidence in knowledge is also important. Something I lack I would say. I have the knowledge to teach programming in a college, which would be essential, but not the confidence. I think I’m weak. Once you get to my age, is self-consciousness just being too weak to have the courage of your convictions? Going back to my teens I had a lot of hair. It didn’t suit me and I had issues with other kids mocking my hair during most of that time, and into college. I kept it on principle. But I still have a sense of what I like cosmetically. Colours and that kind of thing. I think I’ve just got to an age now where I’m too fat to think it looks nice, but that’s also vanity.
What about other environments? Meeting someone in the street? Someone you know. I am never the first one to say hello and if someone does say hello I feel pleased if they heard me say hello back to them so I can often probably come across as rude. I don’t want to be like that. So a step is to be the first one to say hello. People who overcompensate for their nerves annoy me though. People who shout “HELLO” in a way that makes them look simple as if they have no concept of volume. I recall doing that after getting hammered at a Christmas do and then returning to work pretty embarrassed. It was my way of asking if they now hate me.
How do other people do it though? Is it desensitisation? Are people desensitised enough to not care? It helps, I think, if you know how to look in the street. If you know what to do with your face and hair. That’s an issue, I am very aware of my body. Face. Hair. If you are too aware, everything feels carefully placed regardless of how it looks and you don’t touch it. These days I occasionally shave it as I’ve lost some of it, but I’m growing it at the moment. It gets bigger and bigger and people in the street have no issues mocking me for it.
Instilling rules in the workplace or telling someone they should have done something differently is a tough one. I had one manager mention to me once, after her manager had told me to do something, “You do what I tell you to, okay?” That’s no way to manage. I do what I want and you can influence me heavily by asking. Politely. I will always comply because I don’t really care what I do as long as I get paid so I can keep my house and buy the occasional computer game. So how do you manage people without being hated? How would I do it?
First of all I’d show full respect. I believe, until they turn out to be vicious, that the people you are managing are to be treated like kittens until you get to know them. Not necessarily the them that you knew before you became their manager either. The them with you as their manager. With kittens or cats that don’t know you, they will run very quickly if you even start to approach them. You have to be so gentle in your movements. To move a small amount, then to crouch to their level, to look at them in the eyes, half-closing them to speak their language and in time that cat will sit on your lap and feel confident with you. People are the same. You have to show them that you are no threat to them and I imagine managing is the same. Of course there are different styles, but that’s how I would go about it. I recall when one woman became my manager within minutes she said to me “What I’m going to get you to do…” That annoyed me. The fact that she was my manager annoyed me too because at that point I really didn’t need one, I’d got along perfectly well for years without one and I didn’t need someone getting me to do something.
Tasks. Known tasks. People need to know what they need to do. That’s all. I’m digressing. I’m allowed, it’s now six in the morning.
Siblings. Siblings mock siblings. I think that’s had an impact on my voice. I keep quiet because it’s safer than being mocked. I blame my brain for that more than any sibling because I’m oversensitive, so yes in a way anything is an issue and you could blame someone for it, but they don’t know how sensitive you are.
Anyway. My point is that I think sometimes you have to find your voice. To feel nothing when it flies out of your mouth and to say what you need to. I sometimes ask myself who I am when I do that. Am I imitating someone? What am I saying that’s wrong? What am I saying that has that weird tone to it? What’s my own voice like? Do I look and sound like all the things I subconsciously find annoying in other people even though it’s not their fault? Like labels. Labels on shirts. That is a sin. If you have a label sticking out of your shirt, I won’t say anything, oh no, but I am feeling sick. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know but it has that effect on me. I’ve always preferred rags to clothes anyway. Well customised rags. Perhaps Peter Pan style rags and God knows I’ve not grown up.
I think we all need to find it, that’s all. To find it, to master it and to not care who mocks it. It’ll slow you down. The voice.
I want to write about prejudice as well. I’m not sure if I’m about to end this or if my fingers and mind will do it now.
People can be irritating without you disliking them as people, right? People with labels sticking out, for instance. Why that annoys me I don’t know and I see two sides. One, fuck off me, you’ve no right to judge people for a split second negatively or feel irritated by the sight of a label sticking out. The other side is, I can’t help it. I wouldn’t choose to be irritated by anything. It’s a needless imperfection and my brain hates it.
Whilst I’m on the case brown eyes. Brown-eyed females in the workplace. They are the only people who have ever caused me issues. If I started a new job and was greeted with a brown-eyed female who I couldn’t quite make psychological eye-contact with, I’d be thinking “Aye, aye…here we go” But I know that it’s purely coincidental. I cannot be the only one who has these things and just never admits them. Of course I don’t have anything against anyone male or female with or without eyes and regardless of their eye colour. But my subconscious goes by experience and still expresses these things to me. Personally, I think it’s very human. And it’s a sad piece of humanity. If all the people who’d ever wronged you were of a certain origin, it’s natural to draw circles on the wall, right? It’s extremely wrong but people do. I think they do anyway. If you were American and you were only ever used to the English being nice to you, you’d think they were all like that, right? Some part of you would, I bet.
Maybe this is a part of the issue we have in this country. Whilst I’ve been lucky enough to not come across racism in this country, I do know the media often don’t do ethnic minorities any favours and people are prone to drawing circles around anything that’s different. It’s such a shame. I’d love it if it were programmed into us that we always remained impartial to all judgements about anybody. I wonder if a war could be lost with that mentality? That’s an issue too, wars breed racism because the circles are drawn for you. It’s disgusting. I always feel a little disgusted when I see the minutes silences held in order for people to remember the war. I know I’ve no right. But I can’t help it. It’s the flags, it’s forcing something down my throat — and maybe it should be. I obviously don’t appreciate the hell that war was. Maybe I do a bit now. Well I don’t, how can I. It certainly isn’t because I felt it was a waste of time, to remember. I suppose I don’t like the show of it. The wheeling out of someone who’s now in a wheelchair. Maybe it’s good for them. Maybe they need that. The flags though. Are they really necessary? We all know which country we’re in and we are in no way better than the country that was fought. I don’t know. I just hate anything that remotely resembles patriotism because I want all humans to get on, not point out differences with flags. Flags sicken me.
The world’s mad as well because we’re taught logic, but then asked to pray in school. Pray! You can’t pray unless you’ve been brought up that way. That communicates something to kids. When you get older you wonder just how crazy the adults were. Was it essential to have prayer? Who were we praying to? Who is this God of which you speak? I never understood it. We had to say amen at the end. What a load of old bollocks.
Okay. I think I’ve written enough.