“Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.” – Friedric Nietzche
I must be fair and state again, perhaps more clearly, her words were not bad. Her words were not attacking even if they made me sad.
As those have read it have told me, they were incredible and honest. I should be (and I am) thankful she is so open and sharing with me. That I am. As Margie indicated, her email was the best expression of the complexity and fragmentation of adoptee experience that I have ever seen.
Sure she threw some daggers at me, but I believe she had to in order to make her point. Things like “you are not my mother”, “your sons are not my brothers and it makes me sad when you refer to them as such” startled me but when taken in context of her full email, it is understandable.
My sadness and confusion is not ultimately rooted in what she said to me but in me, in my reaction, in my expectations, or something. It is about me. That is what I am struggling with.
The only thing that I have come up with – to date – and it could be totally off is that there is nothing actionable. She shared her very valid thoughts and feelings and I am left feeling “Okay, what next? What does this mean? What do I do with this?” .
I simply don’t know.
Maybe I do nothing.
Let me explain in a different way.
In my professional life I am paid very well to turn executive speak into words the common worker can understand.
For example when an executive gives me something like this
“After extensive analysis of the economic factors facing our industry, we have concluded that a restructuring is essential to maintaining competitive position. A task force has been assembled…”
“This is just the kind of synergistic, customer-centric, upsell-driven, out-of-the-box, customizable, strategically tactical, best-of-breed thought leadership that will help our clients track to true north. Let’s fly this up the flagpole and see where the pushback is.”
My first reaction is to ask him what the hell does that mean? What exactly do you want people to do with that statement? What are you hiding in all those big stupid words? Can we avoid jargon and obscurity and just speak in plain English? What are you really trying to say? Sum it up to me in one sentence. He or she does and I turn the first example into this:
“Our profits are down and we will need to lay off a few staff members”
“This is a great idea. Lets discuss further and see if it is something we can implement”
I found myself feeling confused in reading and re-reading her email. While wonderfully written and honest and raw, I don’t know what I am supposed to take from it. I don’t know what she is asking me, if anything.
What does it really mean? Is there an actionable item here? Is she asking me something? Am I supposed to do something with this?
I just don’t know.
And I don’t like not knowing.