I Get It.

I woke up this morning and had one of those moments where you examine things really quickly (almost like a recap for a television show) and come away more informed. It was definitely not something I do often, or even planned, but the thing that came out of it is a nugget of truth I will carry with me.

People want to speak and be heard-not just listened to.

I reflected on the various interactions I have and am privy to seeing/ hearing. I mean, I can tell you that one of the things which makes me upset the quickest is being asked a question to which the answer isn’t going to be paid attention. It’ll happen subtly at first and then all of a sudden the questions are robotic and I understand that I’ve been ignored. That’s what I mean by hearing vs. listening. I can listen  to music-but until I understand the lyrics, the deeper meaning, I’m not actually hearing it. Active listening, I’ve heard it called.

People want to be heard and believed.

Here’s another little piece which plays off of the first truth. We all have that one thing we wish we could tell other people without fear of judgment (or worse). Maybe it’s something like you ate the last donut. Maybe it’s more like you have a mental health condition. Maybe you were the victim of a crime. Or maybe you just feel too stressed, too hurt, too tired to carry on. No one speaks up about their story because they don’t feel like anyone will believe them. And it very rarely matters what exactly their story is-it’s that they don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable with their audience.

Do you know why?

Think with me, if you will, about a child who won’t eat what is on their plate. Do you know a pretty typical response form the parent? “There are starving kids in Africa who would love to have what you don’t want. You’re being wasteful.” And the thing is, it is that mindset that carries into adult life. We trivialize the suffering and experiences of others for the sake of making it seem “not that bad”.  Struggling with depression? “You just need to pick yourself up-it could always be worse.” Struggling with trauma? “You’re exaggerating. It’s not like you were X.”

Can you blame anyone for not speaking up? How many of us have felt more than a little dejected because someone just didn’t get it?

I talked about feeling the need to keep talking, but the thing is, I think what I needed to know more than just “keep making a statement” was that I feel it so strongly because these fundamental needs aren’t being met.

When I talk about my troubles, my passions, my thoughts, I am frequently met by vacant stares and “Mmm.” Or head bobs. I want to speak and see change in people’s hearts and minds. I don’t want to know about how lucky I am-because I already know. I don’t want to hear about how I’m overzealous or over-emotional or “in excess” in someway. You are trivializing my experiences.

So what do we do?

We change.

We hear.

We believe.

We accept.

We love.

De los dos…

Today is a special day: a DOUBLE BLOG DAY!

Anyway, this morning I wrote about literacy and that has stuck with me the entire day. Then, as I was listening to a playlist I have, I realized most of my songs were in Spanish. It’s a great honor that I can be part of this musical culture, but I want to talk about it a little more than that.

I am American, as is rather obvious from the lack of “u” in words like “favor” and the way I spell “yogurt” and “theater”. But I am also Russian and Irish and English because of my heritage. I do, however, have one tiny portion of my family from Panama. 

I took 4 years of Spanish in high school, with a woman whom I can only describe as Spanish, made of American parts. She loved teaching and speaking the language and wanted to retire to Spain. It was her passion that really drew me into the language. In college I took a couple more classes and my playlists got longer.

I haven’t gotten to practice it in a while, mostly I brush up by going to Walmart and listening to whatever conversations there are (but don’t tell anyone!). But I think there’s something exceptionally emotional about the words of Spanish music. For blogging purposes, I’m only going to use two songs, but trust me when I say that I have PLENTY more examples. Also, in the interest of fairness, I’m going to try to use songs from the same time period (hopefully year), so that there isn’t a weird pop culture difference (other than language). I know this will be biased regardless, but here goes.

Song: Sexy and I Know It, LMFAO

“When I walk on by, girls be looking like damn he fly

I pimp to the beat,

Walking on the street with in my new lafreak, yeah

This is how I roll, animal print, pants out control,

This is red foo with the big afro

It’s like Bruce Lee rock at the club.”
Song: Llovera, Mia Maestro

“Llovera, gotas mínimas (It will rain, tiny drops)

Lloverá, de mi boca, (It will rain from my mouth)

Saldrá el mar (The sea will pour out.)

No, no, Romeo, no,
No, no, me dejes (ver)  (No, no, don’t let me see)

Tu vida fue gestada ya… (Your life has already been gestated (lived))

Lloverá, caudales de agua, (It will rain, flows of water)

Agua lisa, (Smooth water)

Lloverá, desde mis ojos.” (It will rain, from my eyes.)
These are both from 2011, the year I graduated from high school. Of course, I picked two extremes, and I have loads of songs from that year that I hold dear (in English). But I do think that just the way life themes are expressed (like love and death and life) are put more emotionally and eloquently in Spanish.

With that being said, Dimelo by Enrique Iglesias and Nina Bonita by Chino y Nacho are probably my favorite songs, but we’ll hold that for another day. The whole point was: I REALLY enjoy being able to look into another culture and enjoy it fully, without reservation because I can understand the language. Language is the key.