Emojis…

I haven’t written in ages. So long in fact that I got a bit of stage fright.

I’ve had some signs over the last few days that I needed to write and I decided that if I didn’t start I never would. Today I felt moved to write.

Today we watched the emoji movie. Classy stuff! But you know.. it spoke to me (I shouldn’t admit this..). Without wanting to spoil it for you as clearly you’ll be going to watch it..(!), it’s about being true to yourself.. about not confirming to the stereotype.. about speaking out. I know a lot of that will be lost on the majority of viewers (7 year olds?) but if that’s the case then I’m happy to spell it out.

I’ve been a long time supporter of being outspoken. Subtle I’m not. Indeed I often say my filter is broken.. if i think it, I say it. And in a way, at least you know where you stand with me. I can usually be relied upon to say what most people are thinking but have thought better of expressing. Sometimes I wish I didn’t.. but then I’m reminded that on my best days I’m my father’s daughter. Dad had a charm which meant he got away with most things. I’m a classic mix of mum and dad- I might be outspoken, then apologise..

Outspoken is a positive I think. I’m certainly outthinking. I try hard not to offend people.. but yet on my first day in the civil service, my boss suggested I join the union as I’d probably offend people. Really?! He was probably right. I have a low level of tolerance for ignorance, nonsense and bad manners. But maybe I need to keep it to myself..

Anyhow, today’s movie made me think.. I’m passionate about promoting personal development- I think everyone needs to know how to find their own voice, to trust what it says to them and to believe they can be themselves no matter what others say or do. Women in particular are each others most fierce critic. Not to each others faces though.. they’re not that brave.

At every personal development group I coach I talk about your voice. About respecting others voices. About respecting difference. About growth. It’s been well received thankfully. It’s a big gamble delivering something you’ve written and feel passionate about incase it’s not what people want. 99%of the attendees of my groups have been women. More than that actually, as there’s only been 1 man. I make it my business to tell them that my ideal world is somewhere where people can say if they’re not feeling ok without fear of what others will think, or of what they’ll say (to others about them). I know that many people who do not feel ok, keep this to themselves rather than risk the *ridicule/scorn/mockery/amusement (delete as appropriate) of those around them. This is literally a crying shame. I know everyone is different, but in those tough times, it is exactly those around you who get you through. If they know.

I remember at a particularly difficult time for me many years ago, my mum found it very hard as she saw my state of mind as a reflection on her, as in there was something that she’d not done to help. This couldn’t have been further from the truth but it opened my eyes to the fact that this is a very real thing. Friends often find it hard when you say things are tough.. because perhaps they should have seen it coming, could’ve asked how you were before you told them, could’ve done more. They couldn’t. Everyone owns their own feelings. Why is this so hard for people to understand? But yet it is.

If parents were given this wisdom perhaps they’d not see the toddler tantrum in asda as a reflection of their (in)ability to parent, but rather see an overwhelmed child.

If teenagers were given this wisdom perhaps the whole world wouldn’t be against them, and things that happen, just happen.. they’re not DONE TO YOU..

If staff inductions imparted this wisdom perhaps there would be no need for ‘managing difficult conversations’ or ‘conflict resolution’ training. No one enjoys those! But yet, they are 2 of the most common things I’m asked if I deliver. Next to ‘managing children’s challenging behaviour’. Oh boy does that grind my gears. Behaviour is not DONE TO YOU. Or done to annoy you. Behaviour shows you what’s going on in that wee head. Behaviour is communication. So that tantrum in asda..? Hungry, overestimulated by noise or light, bored, lonely…

If we’re honest we all feel like tantrums in Asda. It’s only social norms that hold me back as an adult. But I will freely admit to walking my kids out of the occasional shop if I’m ignored in a queue (stood for 10 min waiting for ice cream whilst the staff talked to each other right in front of me. ‘Am I invisible?’ I asked. Apparently not.. ).

I’m way off topic here.. but if you know me you’ll know I’ve often too many tabs open in my head! Indeed my friend and I were joking this morning that we’d make a great sitcom. A dash cam recording as we have about 8 simultaneous conversations (neither has the attention span to complete one at a time!) would make for hilarious viewing (but might need censored..😂).

Oh.. I’ve typed an emoji! Yes.. that’s my point..! Today we watched the ‘Meh’ emoji struggle to just be ‘meh’. I don’t think I’ve actually ever felt that emotion if I’m honest so I got that. ‘Meh’ felt a whole range of things but had to keep them in in order to be able to sit in the cube waiting to be picked by the guy who owned to phone to insert him in a text.

The movie tracks his journey through ‘just dance’, ‘candy crush’, ‘spotify’ and ‘dropbox’ to get to the cloud where he can be factory reset..

How sad. Why would you want to be ‘Meh’ when there’s so much else? Why would you want to conform if you’re not feeling it. Why not just be yourself?

The princess (👸) emoji explained that when emojis started to be used, girls were just depicted as a princess or a bride (👰) and that made me think too. We’ve come a long way, but this wonder woman thing is a state of mind. We do not have to change the world. It’s OK to save ourselves. That’s a big enough job.