Tag Archives: Communication

Today has been a collosally bad day.

I mean, this whole week, really.

The past three months, if I stop and think about it.

This whole year has been rough, of course, but it’s like it intensified the second I got back home.

Or maybe I just became less able to cope with it all. I don’t know.

It has just sucked. Royally.

And I just internalize, you know? I don’t have much time to process these days – and certainly no energy to get it all out. Sometimes I pray about the things that are bothering me, and sometimes I keep them to myself. Sometimes I tuck things away like I think a good girl should, and react passive aggressively instead. (SUPER healthy, I know.)

But you don’t always know it to look at me: I am having a collosally bad time right now.

What happened today was my fault. Really. Aforementioned passive aggressive behavior led someone to get royally pissed off at me and say some things I didn’t deserve.

I. Lost. It.

I didn’t even know I was capable of losing it this much, y’all. I don’t even know exactly what I said, except there was a general laying of it all out there on my part, and a hefty amount of sarcasm from this other person.

I got lots of hugs and sympathy afterwards, but I don’t feel great. (Nor do I think I should.)

All I can think is, “I don’t lose my temper like this.”

But I just did.

I did because I don’t say what’s really going on when what’s going on isn’t good. I have this compulsion to make everything graceful and nice for everyone else, when I’m still feeling the clumsiness and ugliness. I don’t know how to articulate bad things, hard things; I always feel like I have to spin it.

So I spun this thing for the past few months, and today it spiraled right out of control.

Because I wasn’t honest and direct. Because I dealt with things as I always do: passively.

I regret that. (And I regret it because it gave the judge justification for his injustice. And that’s on me.)

But. I don’t regret articulating some of my frustrations, even if this person wasn’t able to hear them, because of their own frustrations with me. I regret not doing it sooner, and I regret how I chose to articulate these things, but I’m glad I said them.

It’s a recurring theme, this lack of communication from me. You might not know it reading this blog, but I think the trouble is that I’ve been communicating from my mind, and I need to communicate from my heart.

Hm. Yeah.

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The Art of Biting My Tongue

It’s not really an act of self-control for me, although I wish I could say it is; it’s more of an act of self-preservation.  I learned that speaking what I think and how I feel runs with it a risk of losing people, so I say about as much as I think I can get away with.  I’m usually pretty accurate.

This mode of (not) speaking is not without it’s negative consequences.  It means I hold a lot of things back, a lot of true, right things even.  Things people need to hear.  And it weighs heavily on my conscience, it comes up in my dreams, it manifests itself in passive-aggressive speech and behavior.

All because I refuse to speak hard-to-hear things.  I have to pad them, make them easier to swallow.

I realize this isn’t fair.  This isn’t fair to the handful of people who have heard my thoughts and feelings (even the wrong ones) and haven’t run away or frozen me out.  People who have endured with me and stood by me in real, honest moments.

My perception has been skewed towards what I’ve lost.

I can’t do this anymore.  People have an awful tendency to take advantage of the silence, or the gentle speech when it’s given.  I don’t like the yelling-at-people-in-dreams version of me, and I don’t like giving my true opinion in the most cutting way possible while still appearing nice.  This is not who I want to be.  I don’t want to be a mean person: someone who resorts to ignoble, scraping measures in order to be heard.  And that’s who I’m becoming lately.

I’m still not going to be saying every little thing that pops into my head, but I am going to be better about speaking truth in love.  I know it’s going to offend some people,  and I may lose relationships with them as a result.  I’m okay with that: I’m not going to be a coward, and I’m not going to be passive-aggressive.  I will still endeavor  to be gracious and compassionate and life-giving, but I will be truthful, and painfully so if necessary.

And you, those of you who have filled my silence with your words, who have become far too comfortable when my words have been gentle, you are just going to have to deal with it.   Your coldness toward me will not deter me;  I am too old not to know that this freezing is a manipulation tactic on your part.  It might have worked in the past (scratch that, it HAS worked in the past), but I am no longer a bower and scraper.  (Thanks to said people who have not made me bow and scrape, even when I’ve been wrong).

It’s a new chapter in how I relate to people, and I realize not everyone can or will make the transition with me, although I hope many will.  I’ve just realized I need to make a change.

 

 

 

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Lessons I Learned

Lessons I Learned Writing and Directing a Play for Eleven Months

Whether you know this or not, some eleven months ago I was approached about writing a play for my church’s Christmas program. (That’s right, the one that just took place last Saturday night).  We began bouncing around themes and ideas in February and decided on “Emmanuel: God With Us” in March. We wrote the script and I was asked to direct in July.  Finally, we performed the play on Saturday night.  This play has pretty much characterized my year, and many of the lessons I’ve learned this year have centered around its production.

  • Lesson #1: I learned not to over-commit.  If I could go back and do it all over again, when approached about writing in January, I would say, “I’m sorry, that’s eleven months out still, and I just can’t commit that far in advance.” In eleven months’ time, a lot can come up, and it did for me.
  • Lesson #2: I learned about long-term commitment. This is the other side of the over-commitment coin. While there were times I definitely had way too much on my plate, times when nothing was going the way I thought I should, times when it would have been much easier to walk away, I stuck with it.  As many fun times as there were, as nice as the finished product was, there were many, many times in the course of the production where I genuinely wanted to save myself some grief and take myself out. I didn’t, but I wanted to.
  • Lesson #3: I learned how to communicate with guys in a ministry context.  Oh brother, guys just don’t communicate, do they?  And it’s just so darn frustrating, especially when I need an answer, like, now.  Towards the beginning of this process, I sent out long, detailed emails about what I was thinking and visualizing for the play, and the guy on the creative team wouldn’t read them or respond.   I learned this wasn’t going to be effective if I wanted his input (and I did), so I learned to communicate succinctly via email for his benefit. I noticed measurably different responses from all of the guys I worked with, not just in the play.
  • Lesson #4: I learned to let someone else lead. Confession: I’ve been facilitating Christmas programs and the like since I was thirteen years old, and I was involved in a small-time production group during middle school before that.  I went to college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film, and have been producing and directing independently since that time.  I have become attached to a certain way of doing things, namely, the way that is most effective for me. While I was the writer/director, I was NOT the coordinator/facilitator of this production, a role I am accustomed to filling, a role I have a LOT of experience in.  You see, I like being to control all of the factors, but somebody else had that control in this production, and that was hard.  Towards the beginning, I would express if I thought things were not going the way I thought they should to our coordinator, mainly because she was younger and less experienced than I am in these things, and I wanted to share the benefit of my expertise with her. (Haha).  Then, one day as I spent time with God, I realized I was striving for what I wanted, and not giving our coordinator the opportunity to grow as a leader through her decisions and yes, even mistakes.  I’m not going to lie, she still did things that made me cringe at times (and she usually heard about it in the form of “This is your decision, but…”), however, the power struggle was over on my end. It was no longer worth it to me to strive and be in constant turmoil fighting for control.
  • Lesson #5: I learned to trust people to do things I wasn’t able to do myself.  Last Saturday, I was scheduled to work until the program began.  I work half an hour a way from my church, so that meant I was going to arrive late, but it also meant I would not be at our final rehearsal.  I had to trust all of my kids to remember their roles and blocking, and I had to trust someone to direct in my stead.  I also had to trust someone to do facilitate scene changes, because I had other work to do during the play itself.  (Nobody disappointed me, by the way! They all did a tremendous job!)
  • Lesson #6: I learned to communicate my needs and assert myself. It’s hard to put myself in a vulnerable position, but in the past month, that is exactly what I had to do with some people I was working with.  They had communicated to me in such a manner that the end result was discouragement. (Like, crying for an hour discouragement, thinking about what was said and trying to honestly assess whether or not it was true,…).  I could have let it go and never brought it to this person’s attention, but I chose to deal with it instead, and let them know honestly they had discouraged me. I didn’t want to because these things are generally not well-received and can go horribly wrong, but I chose vulnerability, and I was able to put it away from me once I had communicated my discouragement.  I didn’t deal with any desire to walk away from the production after that point. (Which, granted, was only two weeks ago).
  • Lesson #7: I learned to ask for support. This program has been prayed over by A LOT of people, but my role in it has been brought before God’s throne of grace by so many more.  I am thankful for my faithful praying Facebook friends from every church I’ve ever been involved in covering me in prayer.  I am thankful for my sweet friends who came out to the program Saturday night, not just to see the play, but to remind me to breathe before, and to say good job at the end.  I am thankful for my little brother who came to two rehearsals to hold my hand and keep me from going crazy.  I need a support system – not in a needy, clingy way, but sometimes I just need to clearly see and know those who are standing with me, and y’all have shown me that. (THANK YOU!!!)
  • Lesson #8: I have learned that God is with me.  The theme.  I have spent more time meditating on this theme – Emmanuel: God With Us – than I have any other theme in my life.  This passage sums it up:  “I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you” (Psalm 139: 7b-12 NLT). This Christmas, and all year long, I’ve been thankful for the gift of God’s presence, which became available to as many as receive Him in the person of Jesus Christ.

“One of Jesus’ many names is Emmanuel, which means, ‘God with us.’ During His life and earthly ministry, Jesus walked with humans, changing their lives with His presence.  He healed the sick, spent time with social rejects, and even made sure His own mother was taken care of as He was dying.  More than that, Jesus took the punishment for our sin on the cross and defeated death by rising again.  Although our sin had separated us from the Holy God, through Jesus, God set up a plan for humans to enjoy His presence forever.  If you accept Jesus’ work for you, He can and will save you from your sins and change your life through a relationship with Him.” ~Emmanuel: God With Us, by Joselyn Varghese and Lydia Thomas

Other posts about the 2013 Christmas Play:

 

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My Stupid Phone

Most of my friends have smart phones. I do not.  I used to wonder, “If there phones are smart, and my phone is not like theirs, what does that make my phone?” Stupid. It makes my phone stupid. Because stupid is the antonym of smart.

I don’t say this because I have negative feelings toward my phone; on the contrary, I love my stupid phone and wouldn’t trade it for all the smart phones in the world. (Well, maybe I will once my contract is up. Do I even have a contract? I don’t know, this is my parents’ plan).

Apparently, it is not okay to call a phone stupid, though.  It is mean and derogatory. The other day, my older sister used the word “simple” to describe phones like mine, which is I guess the more politically correct term to use when talking about cell phones.

I think this is ridiculous. I mean I can understand if you’re talking with someone about someone else (gossiping) and you don’t want to say outright that that someone else is not very smart (stupid), so you say something that deadens the bluntness of your point (lie). But why do we feel the need to do this with our phones? They don’t have feelings.

Psh.

Just a note on another thing, that actually is irritating me.  I keep getting followed by money-maker bloggers.  Some of them will unfollow, then refollow, seemingly to get my attention.  I have to say, I am NOT BLOGGING TO MAKE MONEY, NOT BLOGGING TO BE READ. I am blogging because I need to write.  Eat that for breakfast.

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The Many Hats of a Producer

In my search for jobs, I will often apply for administrative positions. This is because I know I can perform these jobs, and dare I say, excel in them. However, most employers take one look at my education (a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film) and refuse to look any further. They tell me my qualifications are not what they are looking for in these positions. Never mind that I have actual administrative experience, the fact that I have producing experience seems to disqualify me from these roles like nothing else.

In honor of more rejections to the administrative field than I care to recount, here is why being a producer should increase my value in administrative positions, not decrease it.

Most administrative positions require three things: a high level of organization and efficiency, the ability to communicate effectively with others, and quick-on-your-feet thinking to solve any issues that arise. For the next few minutes, I want you to forget about my two years administrative experience during which I was responsible for file management and beating deadlines.  I want you to forget about my four years retail experience and five years customer service experience during which I established great relationships with clients and co-workers, and listened to and effectively dealt with customer service complaints so they would keep coming back.  And I want you to forget that in all of these jobs, I’ve been flexible. When something goes wrong, I’m the one who says, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do.” Have you forgotten all that? I thought so: you’re still stuck on the whole production experience thing.

First, you should know I’m only ever interested in jobs that utilize my skillset: administration, communication, creative solutions. I chose Radio, Television, and Film because production uses all of these skills that I’d had for years, developed in those positions I’ve asked you to forget about. So when I apply to an administrative position it’s not just because I know I can do it, but that I will also enjoy doing it, and will be able to do it well.

Exactly how does my production experience translate to an administrative position? I am glad you asked. As an independent producer, I wear many hats: administrator, chief communicator, and problem-solver.

  • Administration, requires high levels of organization and efficiency. Let’s talk about production planning for a minute here, because all you see is the five-minute video, or the thirty-minute program. In the course of a production, I oversee (and am often directly-involved in) budgeting, script-writing, casting, location scouting and logistics (power sources, lighting, acoustics,..), equipment and facility rentals, and scheduling rehearsals and shoots. It is my job to anticipate the needs of my cast and crew and to plan accordingly. All of this is done months in advance to make sure production time is spent on, well, the production itself.
  • Communication, requires the ability to effectively communicate with others. Let’s talk about the people I work with for a minute, because you only see the polished performances by actors in the five-minute video, or the thirty-minute program. Many different types of people work on any given production; on some level, all of them are artists. Much as I love artists and what we bring to the table, they can be among the most difficult people to work with because we are so individualistic. (Yes, that’s my nice way of saying we’re divas). When I head up a production, it is my job to learn about and incorporate their unique visions as part of the whole. It is my job to inspire them to procure their best work for the production, to help them understand their value. I listen to complaints and resolve them on a daily basis.
  • Creative Solutions, require quick-thinking and analytical problem-solving skills. It doesn’t matter how much planning goes into it, or how inspired the cast and crew are to do their best, something will inevitably go wrong on production day. Someone will be late to the set with a vital piece of equipment, someone gets offended about something and walks off five minutes before we’re scheduled to shoot,… You get the picture. It’s my job to make sure we pull off a successful production anyway, and I always do. It might involve rigging up a temporary lighting instrument, or going after the offended party and begging on my knees for them to get back in the game, or just doing what they were going to do myself, but it gets done, and it gets done well.

So, tell me again how my production experience doesn’t qualify me to work in an administrative position? I know, you’ve just been picturing me as this artsy type who spends all of her time behind a camera, and is just desperate to get any paying job. Besides the fact that camera work is one of my least favorite aspects of production, I’m not desperate. I do have a paying job, and I do my production on the side (but you’re right, I’m not paid for that…yet), but really I’m just looking for something that is going to use and develop what I am most strongly skilled in.

In case you’ve forgotten, that’s administration, communication, and creative solutions.

Sincerely,

Jaded Job-Hunter

 

 

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