Compass Pointing

I've got the sweetest hangover...(I don't want to get over)
Elarryo is listening to his record of Diana Ross' Love Hangover. He has a 12 inch of it, the deep house groove. I remember being a little girl, listening to this with my mother. Sometimes my mom would pull out records that she hadn't listened to in years and we'd have a music party in our family room. She has these amazing light jade and cream ceramic boxes of 45's that she started buying, probably when she was in high school. Old 45's, what is nostalgically called, "grown folks music" nowadays. My favorite was the 45 of this song called Monster Mash...

"They did the mash, they did the
monster mash!
They did the mash, it was a
graveyard smash!"

Only in the late 1950's-early 1960's could a song like that have been made. Those were good times in my family. The laughter, the freedom of twirling to a records by groups like the Bar-Kays and Chic, my mom trying to teach me dance steps, my dad trying to be a part of the proceedings even though he represented the 'white men can't dance' stereotype in our home.
Will Olinga and Toussaint have memories of Elarryo listening to one of his mix cds while washing dishes, moaning along to the rhythms of R.Kelly, Maxwell, and Anthony Hamilton? Will my kids love my Depeche Mode when they grow up or will that be mommy's old-folks music to them? Olinga loves to dance now and it's the best thing in the world when he dances and then takes a bow for me, signalling that the performance is over.

Back at the beginning of August I went to a week long training in Houston called Critical Friends. It was essentially about enhancing your observation, listening, and questioning skills and overall, about focusing your consultative process. One of the activities that was part of the training was called Compass Points. Essentially, it categorizes working and personality styles with the four directions. North people are really go-getters who want it done now and prefer to work alone. South people are caring and think about the feelings of others in the process. East people focus on the big picture. West folks focus on the details. I have a hard time figuring out which one of these directions I am.

In general, I have difficult time with the concept of personality tests or typing of that sort because I'm never really sure what type I am. Probably being 1/2 black and 1/2 white makes it hard to categorize yourself into one box. Also, I really believe that at most companies or in most situations, there is one way of conducting yourself that is most highly prized above all others. For example, someone told me that most people that work at McKinsey are probably North people and a South would have a hard time there. Whether that's true or not, I do think that depending on who the manager is in a situation or what the organizational culture is, there is a preferred personality type or Compass Point.

I've started to wonder if it's because I'm afraid to be my true self in situations. Maybe if I can be all things to all people then perhaps they will like me and think I'm smart. They'll think I'm cool and beautiful and sexy and fun, and all those things we all want other people to think of us. (Otherwise, why go to the gym, to the MAC counter for overpriced cosmetics, and why wear uncomfortable, pointy-toed heels?) So most people who know me, know I'm pretty liberal in my political and social beliefs...for heavens sake, I was loving Dennis Kucinich in the primaries. But, most people are shocked to find out that I'm mostly for the death penalty, not a fan of abortion or of gay marriage. Once they find that out, the conversation goes something like this:

"So, are you a Republican or something?"
"No. I don't align myself with any political party."
"Oh, but you are still voting for Bush?"

I am proud of the fact that I have voted in every single election that I could since I turned 18 and could legally vote. But it is fascinating to me that some people think I'm for Bush just because of my feelings on the above issues. For heavens sake, there are people who are gay who don't agree with gay marriage. I guess I should just accept the fact that I'm going to be labeled in some way. Like it or not.


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