On Myself

Today, at the tournament I judged, someone who wasn’t even there for the entire round pitched a fit because his daughter lost. He was rude and aggressive towards the females in the room, talking over us. He called me unqualified and cut me off. It was enough to make one of the other judges uncomfortable and upset. The other judges were furious, of course.

I was the only calm one, but only because my anger is a slow thing. I worked in retail. Like I’ve had time to develop this trait. I was curious as well of course, to be spoken to that way, but I tend to focus on resolving immediate issues first before expressing it. That’s just how my anger works.

This incident was reported and later, the parent apologized to me. Since he was sincere, I told him no that was not OK, accepted his apology, and encouraged him to take a step back and let her make her own mistakes. He apologized to the student who won already and since he knew what he did wrong, hopefully there wouldn’t be a repeat performance (and him not doing that to his daughter anymore). Hopefully, parent and child will make up and work things out. I truly hope both of these bright and talented students will continue in this activity. It’d be a pity if they didn’t since both are so talented. Anyways, since the students were my main concern, I had no other problems or issues with this. As far as I’m concerned, this is ancient history. I’ve processed it and let it go already.

The only reason I’m even bringing this up is because this was a valuable experience for me. I won’t think about it unless someone or something brings it up. This blog helps me process and articulate the things I’ve learned so that’s why it’s on here. This incident wasn’t put up here to embarrass or demean or guilt trip anybody.

I learned more about myself from this incident:

First, I am coolheaded enough that even when furious, I prioritize what needs to be done first before truly expressing my anger.  However, my adrenaline does keep me from thinking as clearly as I’d like so it’s something I want to somehow work on.  I am aware that that sounds ridiculous and perfectionist considering how level-headed I already am. That I’m aware of this is evidence of my own growth.

Second, my self-esteem was high enough for me to not even consider the personal attacks hurled at me. Beyond my concern towards the students involved, my first though was “I don’t need to justify my decision to someone who is clearly trying to argue with me rather than understand why I made it. I made my decision and I’m not changing just because you speak more loudly than me.” Props to me.

Third, I’m considerate of others. The only reason I didn’t rip into him was because both students were watching. Especially in front of his daughter (who I thought was just his student at the time). I didn’t want her to see someone rip into an authority figure in her life or put her on the spot anymore than she already had been.

Fourth, I have a tendency to seek compromise with others. Part of me wondered if this is because society socializes women into avoiding conflict, but considering that I stood up and said that his attitude towards that student was unacceptable when he started being rude to her, I’m not lacking in that. It is most likely because I believe compromise and forming a genuine connection is important in life.

I did learn more, but these lessons were from other situations, when I started speaking to other people.

First, while I should probably speak more loudly and/or assertively to some people more than others, that’s less because I’m lacking in that area so much as needing to be more flexible when dealing with different types of people.

In general, when others start shouting at me, I don’t speak more loudly in reply. I keep my “calm, even tone” as one past co-worker put it. It makes them look worse in comparison anyway.

Unless I’m trying to project my voice so others can better hear me, I tend to speak more quietly. I dislike raising my voice. I do that when irritated and I don’t like it. I’d like to remain calm and reasonable no matter what. Raising my voice sounds unreasonable. My experiences have also given me an aversion to raising my voice.

Second, I’m a good listener. I tend to worry in conversations that I’m just monopolizing it, but I realize that I’m good at listening to people. Me speaking up helps keep the conversation going. That’s fine. People try to shut me up in general and I really shouldn’t (and will not) let them because I’ve got good things to say.

Third, I am not a social butterfly and this is perfectly fine. I don’t really go out of my way to speak to others, but if I want to I can. If I don’t want to then I won’t. There is nothing wrong with this. I’ve always grown up think there was because my society’s culture rewards and encourages a more extraverted or social personality, but you know what?

I do good work and that speaks for itself when given the opportunity. I’m good at building connections with others when I try. People still like me. If anything, they might like me more because I listen to what they say. I’m perfectly fine being this way and not forcing myself to be someone I’m not.

From this whole judging experience, I have better learned these topics and to trust my own good judgement more. I’ve also learned things about myself. All of our experiences can be used to make ourselves stronger. This overall experience was just another reminder of that.

Take the weapons others use against you and use it to increase your own strength. Maybe one day, I’ll go into more detail on that. It’s a topic I’m familiar with.

Today is not that day. I’m going to take a break. There’s some more things for me to fully process.