The Audience Is Me

The following insight came from my podcast interview with Mita Mallick, where she shared her journey as a storyteller.

I’m so passionate about writing because I think the audience is me. The audience is people who are like me, who feel like in their careers or their lives, they’ve been bullied or marginalized, or their voices have been muted. That’s the lens I come from. 

Some people will immediately connect with me because they see their story in my story. And then, some individuals want to learn more about experiences that are not their own. They will be drawn to my work in that case. And that’s really in them; diversity, equity, and inclusion, like my life experience as a brown woman leader and then working mothers. 

I’m just so passionate about what’s happening to working parents right now in this pandemic. I’m sharing my story that I know what working parents are going through, and I’m desperate for that community. More than anything else, I want someone to say to that community that “I know what you’re going for me now. I’m there, too. I know what it’s like to have. Both of your children seem to revert, emotionally, and everything they’ve learned, they seem to be unlearning.” If you ask me, that matters a lot because I want community out of that. I want to feel like I’m not alone and that I can help people. 

Last year, I wrote a piece that I was excited about Fast Company’s decision to publish on the microaggressions of your name being mispronounced and also being renamed. In my case, that has happened, which is a pretty painful story to tell, and I thought, “people are going to read this, what are they going to think about me?” Once I got over that fear, I was overwhelmed by the engagement. Many people had stories to share about what they had experienced at work or in their communities when it came to their names. Because the name is a promise of parents and the hopes they have for a child when they name them. So, it’s the most basic respect of human dignity when you can pronounce someone’s name. I felt that people saw themselves in me by sharing my experience, which helped them be brave and share their stories.

I want to be known as a thought leader in the space. What I’m trying to do is share with people the things I learn. For example, I’m on a journey to be an advocate for the black community. Only the black community can tell me if I am succeeding on that journey because you can only be an advocate or an ally for someone – they have to say to you that, “yes, you are, you’re on the right path.” 

But part of being an advocate is learning and doing self-learning, and I write and read a lot. Thus, I will share on LinkedIn what I’ve learned about an issue in the black community and something that shows systemic racism, racial inequities, and I share that, and not everyone will want to read it, and that’s okay. But for some people, they’ll say, “Yes, thank you. Thank you for sharing that.”

So my advice is to think about what you’re passionate about, learn, and share what you’re learning with others. And I think that resonates authentically as well.

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