what I see in myself as I sit here alone

well, I’m halfway through my first week of ILP!!!!1 already I’m reflective; I’ve also started to wince at the sound of the word ‘transboundary’. you gain some, you lose some.

1) when I concluded my speech last night the first thing El asked me was ‘did you enjoy being up there?’ I knew it would be the first thing she’d spot about me once she asked Jean, three lines into her speech,  to open her shoulders and not be embarrassed about who she was. I don’t know how to spot these things in other people, but I’m not so lacking in awareness that I don’t know that I broadcast hesitancy and lack of confidence in waves.

I just realised how embarrassingly apologetic I am all the time. El told us to talk a bit about what we wanted to work on or that we’d like her to watch out for before we started our speeches and all my flaws just flooded into my mind- my speed, my stammering, my tendency to ramble, my constant use of fillers, the way I smile when I think I’ve screwed up. but maybe that’s not a good example of what I mean, since those are legitimately things for me to work on. But- what I mean is. ILP is assignment after assignment, deadline after deadline, one day after another. why do i proffer all my work ready to fall to my knees? the tutors must know it’ll be flawed; that the research is incomplete and the language unpolished. so why is my first instinct to reveal all even before they call me on it? to try and lower their expectations? to elicit pity? but why should they appreciate work that I can’t even pretend to be confident of?

2) her ultimate advice for me was not to put on a ‘mooting role’ and just to be natural. I don’t entirely know what that means. I guess I’ve always treated public speaking as inherently different from talking in just about any other context: I conceive it that way. I need to prepare for a speech. I need to know the structure of what I’m saying, to have practiced the cadences prior. My voice sounds different. I don’t know if she said it as a kind of shorthand for like- relax, don’t be so stilted, moderate your speed- or if she meant something more transformative. something like, public speaking is just another form of communication. you don’t need to script what you’re saying beforehand. you can let the words come off the cuff, and trust in yourself that you got this and that you can explain what you think without something disastrous happening.

3) so I was listening to Mallory talk about transactional relationships today and I guess I’ve always been guilty about that with you. but I think that maybe that’s what inevitably happens when you feel like you’re getting less than what you’re giving in a relationship- you start making totals, thinking twice before giving what you would otherwise give freely. here’s the problem, right- everything that ever happens between us? happens on your terms. It’s not like I didn’t know that, honestly. you said as much yourself. so really, who’s the dumb one here? every single conclusion i’ve ever come to about our relationship has been ‘end it’. but still here we are.

anyway, in some strange metaphor for helplessness, i can’t move my arms without trembling after tonight’s yoga class. i need so much more strengthening, everywhere.


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