Being a person who has always been in the world of academia, Ego and I have come face-to-face on many occasions. At the university I went to, you’d need a lifeboat in order to survive the ocean of arrogance. Thankfully I grew up with 2 parents who struggled to get out of poverty and who did so by being connected to their community. Neither parent ever claimed to do it alone. They often celebrated the people who made success possible, who advocated for them. Humility was a recurring theme in the stories.
The temptation to be boastful has crossed my path many times, due greatly in part to others feeling as if I should be because of my skills. If I allowed myself to be boastful though, I’d immediately render myself ineffective.
The other day I went to Legal Aid to serve as a Spanish interpreter for a case. The client involved is a lady I’ve grown to love dearly. When I got there, there was another rep who could speak both Spanish and English (wouldn’t call him an interpreter…. he broke ALL of the rules of interpreting.) Anyway, I watched what happens when you make it about you. The client was extremely frustrated. She knew he wasn’t telling her everything the lawyer was saying. Many side convos in English. Essentially, she didn’t get what she needed from him because he was there to boast about being an activist and adding one more accolade to his résumé. He did NOTHING.
(Note: Real activists don’t tell you they are activists. If you can see from their work, they know they’ve failed and don’t deserve the title.)
And I just can’t. I can’t look the part and be about nothing. That’s fraudulent. Plus there are days I need others to work on my behalf. I see what happens when it comes from a place of love and when it’s ego. The only time I get what I actually need is when it’s out of love. So, yeah. No egos allowed.