I've realized that I am a person who says some unpopular things.
I haven't always been this person. Growing up, I always took this "don't rock the boat" kind of attitude. I think it's been a natural progression in growing up for me though. My brother used to tease me about being contrary, but really, I think I am just way more of a radical than I thought.
What's also important to note about me is that I am an INFJ, emphasis on the I. I'm an introvert. You people exhaust me. Yet somehow I live for people. Funny how we work that way.
So as an introvert, I've had a few experiences over the past couple of weeks that have been naturally very difficult for me. First was the experience at the Endangered Species Summit. That was super hard for me to do. I received an overwhelming response, which was great, but I know not everyone in that room was a fan of what I said.
Secondly, I ran a workshop this past Monday at NYU Silver's common day for second year students. Common day is supposed to be a chance for students to learn things about social justice they wouldn't necessarily have the chance to in the classroom. I did a presentation on fat bias, titled "Fat is a Social Work Issue." I thought it went well.
I also received an overwhelming response. Several people came up to me and talked to me about how excited they were someone was talking about this issue, that throughout their entire graduate school experience the topic was never brought up. But I have heard from one of my mentors that some students were not happy with what I said. In fact, they are quite angry with what I said. But no one said anything at the presentation. No one spoke up. I wasn't given the chance to start a real dialogue.
And I know not everyone is willing to be that person who says unpopular things. And speaking out against my presentation would have probably been unpopular in that room. But me, being me, would have loved it. I would have welcomed it. I feel like that is where real work gets done, right in the nitty gritty of disagreeing. Maybe it's the contrarian in me.
I'm just sort of bummed about it. My mentor encouraged them to contact me, but so far no one has, and I can't blame them. I also can't blame myself. The presentation wasn't perfect, but it's my first time, and hell, I'm a first year social work student.
Anyway. I think I am just experiencing some burn out. And to some degree, I do feel a little bit alone in my endeavor. Fortunately, I met some fellow social work students who feel passionately about this cause, and I plan to reach out to them. Sometimes being a leader means you are the only one, but one is the loneliest number, right?